If you are in the process of planning a renovation or new build, one of the important issues you need to consider is energy efficiency. Part of that consideration includes making a choice between gas or electricity for space heating, hot water and cooking.
Almost every Australian household relies on an electrical connection for powering up their lights, small appliances and audio-visual equipment. In most cases, if you opt for gas for certain things, you’re going to have an electricity bill as well. However, the cost of electricity tends to be higher than gas. But then the cost to purchase gas appliances may be more expensive than the cost to purchase gas appliances, so that also needs to be factored into the equation.
First and foremost, it pays to understand that heating and cooling your home uses more energy than anything else. In fact, space heating/cooling and hot water systems make up the top two uses for household energy in Australian homes.
Hot water and home heating
Most hot water systems are either continuous (heating water as required) or storage (keeping the water hot all the time). I’m sure you can tell which one would cost more to run! Gas hot water heaters are normally far less expensive to run than electric hot water heaters because they are more energy efficient. This is also true for gas heaters. So, while the initial cost to purchase the unit is normally higher, you end up saving money in the long term.
Other benefits of opting for gas over electricity when heating include the fact that the heat is instant and flexible (central heating allows you to select zones to heat rather than heating the entire house, much like ducted air conditioning). Gas is also a cleaner energy source, so it’s kinder to the planet, and more reliable because the gas supply is not damaged by the weather like the electricity supply can be. This means that when there’s a storm, the lights may go out, but your home will still be toasty warm inside and you can still cook or boil a kettle on the stove for a cuppa!
There is as much debate over whether to choose gas or electric cooking appliances as there is about heating and hot water.
While gas stoves and ovens tend to cost more to purchase and install if you’re not already connected to the gas network, the ongoing costs for gas are lower. This is due to the fact that while gas and electric ovens and stoves use around the same amount of energy per year, the higher cost of electricity and the instant heat of gas makes gas cooking the more affordable option in the long run. In fact, an electric oven can cost up to five times more to run than a gas oven, based on average usage.
The bottom line
The bottom line is your energy usage. If your household loves to cook and goes through a lot of hot water – anyone with teenagers would probably fall into this category – you should consider opting for gas. And remember to shop around for the best plan before you buy.