General Question

livelaughlove21's avatar

Gas vs. Electric Heating - Which is cheaper?

Asked by livelaughlove21 (15608points) August 29th, 2012

We’re moving into a brand new house next month, and we have electric for air conditioning, stove, etc. but gas for heat. When we talked to our realtor, she says that saves money. However, my parents say that when they lived in Chicago about 10 years ago, their gas bill was about $900/month. We’d have no way to pay this. So, which is true? We live in South Carolina, so the coldest it gets here is around 30 degrees, and we like the house to be around 68–70 degrees.

Any thoughts/experience?

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17 Answers

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’m in NYS. Gas and oil are way cheaper than electric here. Another trick, get an electric fireplace that really heats and put it in the room you spend the most time. They make nice difference, heating the room you’re in and they don’t run up the electric bill.

WestRiverrat's avatar

Another thing to consider, when the electrical power is out your gas oven can still heat the house enough to prevent pipe failures. Which in SC is not really an issue most of the time.

ninja_man's avatar

Gas is the more efficient of the two. I believe that certain types of radiant heating powered by wood can be even more cost effective. Seeing as you will be in SC, you ought to be just fine with whatever option you choose. I don’t think it will break your bank.

filmfann's avatar

Our winter propane bill in Shingletown during winter will roll about $200 a month at least. Electric would be much worse. If you want to try a combination, get an Amish stove, and shut the door to the room you are in.

wilma's avatar

A new home should be energy efficient. Gas is cheaper that electric heat where I live and it’s a lot colder in the winter in Chicago than it is in South Carolina.
Congratulations on your new home.

LuckyGuy's avatar

At today’s prices, natural gas is about half the price of electricity. on an equivalent BTU basis. If by “gas” you mean bottled propane that needs to be delivered, that is more expensive than electricity. The setup you have will give you the flexibility to save money. Nice.

Tachys's avatar

Gas is cheaper in New England. For added savings may I recommend keeping the house at 60 to 62 degrees and wearing a sweater?

CWOTUS's avatar

Your gas heating bill in SC will never be in the same ballpark with someone in Chicago, unless you really are trying to heat the whole neighborhood.

The other thing to look at with your parents’ bill is: what was their usage for? Did they have a hot tub? A heated pool? A large family? A big house? An old house?

If you live in a well-insulated house of relatively recent construction in the South, then I wouldn’t expect much problem or high expense from any mode of heating you choose. Your house will have gas, okay. If you want to use electric space heaters instead, you can use those and carry them from room to room. That’s not the most efficient way to heat an entire house, obviously, but it’s pretty cheap if you only use the heater on a relatively low setting to heat the immediate area around you.

I’ve been experimenting with lower and lower temperatures in my Connecticut (oil heat) house in the winter. I can be moderately comfortable at 58°F – wearing lots of layers!

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Like others are assuming, I wouldn’t worry about the cost at this point. For one thing, it sounds like the house is already purchased. Until you find out from other sources, like new friends and neighbors, just keep the thermostat down and layer up, as others have suggested. Another tip is to buy a digital thermostat that can be set to to various temperatures throughout the day and by day of the week.

Also, your parents are right about the cost in the Chicago area. Twenty years ago, I moved from Minneapolis, which might as well be in the tundra, to Chicago. While in the latter city, I lived in three different apartment complexes. Despite keeping the heating low, the gas bills were outrageous compared to any other state I lived in, including Minnesota.

creative1's avatar

Gas is typically cheaper for heating however you got to take into consideration that you are more than like buying a bigger house than an apartment. I know when I lived in my little apt it cost me under $100 to heat in the winter months however now in my home which is alot bigger it costs me close to abt $200 – $300 or more a month more to heat it in the winter considering it was a rather warm winter it will probably bee more this year.

augustlan's avatar

Natural gas is definitely cheaper than the usual type of electric heating. Propane or oil that must be delivered to your house is more expensive. Lucky me, I am stuck with delivered heating oil. Winter costs me a ton. :/

creative1's avatar

@augustlan do you own your own home? If you do and there is a gas line that goes by your property it’s not too overly expensive to switch over.

augustlan's avatar

@creative1 I do, and we even have a gas line directly into the house. It only powers the water heater, though. Isn’t that weird?!? We will switch when we have enough money all at one time to get a new furnace and central air.

Silence04's avatar

It’s about even for the most part, but maybe only $10–20 more some months.

BTW, your parents must have had a terrible gas or air leak! I live in Chicago, I have never payed over $150 in the winter and the entire front of our place is all glass which means we have to crank up the heat for it to stay warm there.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Thanks for the answers everyone! Definitely put my mind at ease. My parents are very negative people to begin with – I need to learn to stop listening to them at times.

valueoils's avatar

gas is better option than electric but i think heating oli is also good option for this .

LuckyGuy's avatar

By far the cheapest heat is piped in natural gas. The price of heating oil is much higher than natural gas escpecially when you consider the furnce efficiency. Natural gas furnaces are pushing 97% efficient. An oil furnce is lucky to get 90%. Delivered propane is about the same price as heating oil when you compare heating value and furnace efficiency per dollar.

Electricity price falls between natural gas and heating oil. You will have to check your local rates.

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