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Old 11-15-2010, 02:30 PM
 
18 posts, read 42,416 times
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Question Gas Heat or Electric Heat? Which is more economical?

Hi,
I've been lurking for about 2 weeks have gotten great information from this site. We are relocating from Trinity (Northern Tampa) Florida and this site has helped me feel more comfortable with the many decisions that are involved with a move. Thanks.

Here's my question. We are going to rent and available properties have either electric heat or gas heat (of course - :P). So which is more economical, gas or electric heat? I am leaning towards the Centreville area. In Florida we rarely use heat in the winter, so I am attempting to minimize my winter fuel costs.

thanks for any input you can offer.
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Old 11-15-2010, 07:36 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
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I've had both--our apartment was electric, and our rental house is gas. I wouldn't base my choice of housing on that, personally. I haven't noticed a difference.

What IS a big issue is how the house is set up. If it's an apartment, do you control the heat, or is it a management thing? If it's a house, are there multiple levels you'll be using all the time to heat? Is there a way to control air flow? We have a split level, and order to get our upstairs bedroom warm enough at night, our basement turns into a sauna. If we're hanging out downstairs, then the upstairs is freezing.
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Old 11-15-2010, 08:20 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, NC (formerly Vienna, VA)
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Personally, I hate electric heat. It never feels warm to me. Overall, it is supposed to be more expensive than gas, but of course there are other factors. And like CaliTerp, I wouldn't base my housing choice on it, but I prefer gas to electric.
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Old 11-15-2010, 08:53 PM
 
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Default Gas or Electric

thank you so much for responding!...

I agree. I won't base the decision strictly on gas vs. electric. I was surprised however of the many choices in NoVA (e.g., many homes for rent that offered gas and many that offered electric.)

Another said that the electric heat didn't feel warm, and gas heat was more comfortable. If it is a close expense, then gas is definitely the way to go, particularly since I prefer a gas stove top.

Coming from Florida, we paid about $300 in the summer for about 3000 sq ft single family home, and a family of five. House has two zones (each with separate thermostat). In the winter, we paid about $200. We had gas heat but rarely used it. It is my understanding that utility bills in NoVa are significantly more expensive than what we had in Florida. Cost of living is much lower in Florida than NoVa.

I am trying to budget for my family and don't want to spend more of my disposable income on utility costs if I can avoid it.

BTW, we are likely to rent a townhouse at about 1800 to 2200 sq ft of living space...

again, thank you.
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Old 11-15-2010, 09:34 PM
 
Location: Northern Virginia
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My gas/electric bills average $150-200 during high usage months (summer/winter). In the summer it's all electric for the air, in the winter it's mostly gas from heat, but combined they don't ever go above $200. This is for a 1400 sf home with two adults.

Highest electric in the year we've been in the house was $130 in August. Our gas bill that same month was $20. Last February when we were home for a week straight in the snow storm, our gas bill was $100, electric was $66 (increased lights and tv from being stuck at home!)
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Old 11-16-2010, 05:02 AM
 
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Thanks everyone for taking time to post in response to my question. It looks like for a 2000 sf townhouse will cost me roughly $250 a month for gas and electric for a family of three - in the Dominion Power territory. Gas heat wins out over electric due to comfort! Using electric only won't be significantly more or less expensive and I get the benefit of cooking with gas!

Great bulletin board. Again, thanks for all your help.
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Old 11-16-2010, 09:19 AM
 
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Not to burst your bubble, but don't assume that if you have gas heat you'll necessarily have a gas stove. We have gas heat but an electric stove; that's the way the house was built.

I'm not sure if this is relevant to northern Virginia or not, but years ago when we were looking to buy a house in Vermont the very first thing our real estate agent told us was not to get a house with electric heating, because the bills in winter would be exorbitant.

FYI, for our 2,000-square foot detached house here in NoVa, last winter's monthly gas bills, even with the atrocious weather we had, was $250 to $300 at the height of winter. Besides the furnace we do have a gas-powered clothes dryer.
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Old 11-16-2010, 09:33 AM
 
Location: Reston
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Our townhouse in Reston is approx. 2000 sf. We have electric heat & AC (a heat pump).

We run it a lot in both summer and winter and our bills average out to around $125/month. I've always found power bills in this area to be much lower than I was used to in California.

The heat that comes from a heat pump doesn't give the immediate warm comfort feeling that gas heat from a furnace does. But it does the job okay.
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Old 11-16-2010, 10:08 AM
 
Location: Manassas, VA
1,544 posts, read 1,442,499 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ICS67 View Post
Not to burst your bubble, but don't assume that if you have gas heat you'll necessarily have a gas stove. We have gas heat but an electric stove; that's the way the house was built.

I'm not sure if this is relevant to northern Virginia or not, but years ago when we were looking to buy a house in Vermont the very first thing our real estate agent told us was not to get a house with electric heating, because the bills in winter would be exorbitant.

FYI, for our 2,000-square foot detached house here in NoVa, last winter's monthly gas bills, even with the atrocious weather we had, was $250 to $300 at the height of winter. Besides the furnace we do have a gas-powered clothes dryer.
I'm originally from Vermont and your real estate agent was exactly right. And depending on where you live in Vermont...dictates where your electricity is coming from....okay...back on topic.

Our montly electric for a 3 level end unit townhome....with 33 windows (I think) cost us from $200 - $300 in the summer to cool....it might be just a tad bit lower in the winter if we keep our thermostat around 62. Our windows are 'builder's quality' otherwise our bill wouldn't be so high.

Gas heat does tend to feel 'warmer' though....at least that's what I've noticed after having both...but since I like to be cold it isn't an issue.
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Old 11-16-2010, 10:34 AM
 
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Wow. ICS67 and DJMont. ICS67, your bill is twice that of DJMont, but you both have the same square footage. That is significant for the use of gas heat. DJMont, is it possible you have a different utility company than ICS? What company do you use?

thanks for your input everyone!
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