Should I choose electricity or gas?
Australian homes have two main sources of energy: gas and electricity.
Gas connections come in two forms – natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). Natural gas is drawn from a mains line while LPG is consumed in large refillable tanks. Since natural gas is more common in Australian households, we will cover natural gas connections in this article.
Given the choice, should you go gas or electric? Let’s break it down for you.
Electricity vs gas
Natural gas is readily available in NSW, VIC, WA, and SA. It is quite affordable but application may only be limited to heating, cooking, and drying clothes.
Electricity, on the other hand, powers almost your entire home – from lights to television sets to wall outlets. Some homes do not have a natural gas connection, but if both are available in your area, is it practical for you to sign up for both?
Pros and cons of electricity and gas connections
To weigh the benefits and drawbacks of electricity and gas, we have to look at the appliances that can run on both connections.
Space and water heating
Heating and cooling systems are the top two consumers of energy in Australian homes. Hot water systems that are based on continuous heating keep water hot all the time. On the other hand, hot water systems that are based on stored heating will heat water only as required. The way they operate can already give you an idea which one is more expensive.
Compared to electric water heaters, gas water heaters are more energy-efficient and, therefore, cheaper to run. Hot water requires a lot of power, and because gas systems are more economical, homeowners can save thousands of dollars when heating water through a gas burner. Look at the energy efficiency rating at the back of your water heater to find out how much electricity or gas it consumes.
The same argument applies to space heaters. Gas heaters can quickly heat a small to a medium sized room. Even if they run throughout the winter, gas heater charges are lower compared to that of electric heaters.
While gas heaters are cheaper in the long run, they are more expensive to purchase and install. There are also fewer choices for gas-powered heaters compared to a plethora of models that run on electricity. Another disadvantage of gas heaters is the installation of a flue to eliminate toxic fumes. Also, the gas is been compressed through compressors and leakage of it could dangerous.
Gas stoves heat up more quickly than electric stoves, so they are more energy efficient and therefore cheaper to maintain.
Although modern technology has made vast improvements in the energy efficiency of electric stoves in recent years, but they still use more energy than gas stoves.
Electric cooktops have three distinct advantages:
- They are generally more affordable to purchase
- They are more convenient to use
- You have more options to choose from
Similar to stovetops, gas ovens heat up more quickly than their electric counterparts. Additionally, ovens consume a lot of power. Thus, energy efficiency should always be taken into consideration when choosing between gas and electric versions. Although gas ovens are more expensive to purchase, the long-term savings more than cover the price disadvantage.
Electric ovens are more widely available and often include more features than gas powered ovens but the high cost of electricity makes these ovens more expensive to run.
As with the other appliances on this list, gas clothes dryers are expensive to purchase but cheaper to maintain than electric dryers. Gas clothes dryers also require a flue to put out hazardous fumes.
Considering the installation fees
When choosing between gas and electricity, one significant factor is the price of buying and installing the unit. Upfront prices can be high if you opt for a gas water heater. If you do not use your water heater all the time, the initial cost for purchase and installation might not be worth the long-term savings. In this case, it might be more practical to stick with electricity connections.
Should you choose electricity or gas?
If natural gas connections are available in your area, you could save plenty of money by having some of your appliances run on gas instead of electricity.
The decision ultimately comes down to your energy consumption. Switching to gas could mean long-term savings if your family consumes plenty of hot water or cooks a lot.
If you do not plan to remain on the same property for a long time, purchasing a gas-powered heating, cooking or drying system may not be worth it.