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Old 07-01-2008, 10:20 AM
 
22 posts, read 116,525 times
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I have noticed that quite a few apartments boast about being all electric. Is all electric really the best way to go? I would like to know how much gas and electric bills are typically in a month. The apartment I would like to rent requires that I pay gas & electricity. Coming from an apt. where all of my utilities are included in the rent, I just don't want to get in over my head.

Thanks,
Sherette
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Old 07-01-2008, 10:32 AM
 
269 posts, read 985,770 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sherette View Post
I have noticed that quite a few apartments boast about being all electric. Is all electric really the best way to go? I would like to know how much gas and electric bills are typically in a month. The apartment I would like to rent requires that I pay gas & electricity. Coming from an apt. where all of my utilities are included in the rent, I just don't want to get in over my head.
I'm not sure if the term "all electric" includes heat. To the best of my knowledge, gas heat is a lot cheaper. Heat pumps are efficient in cool weather but can't hack it if the weather turns cold. (I have a blended system - the heat pump handles heating if the outside temp is over 55 or something; below that, a gas furnace takes over.)

If the "all electric" doesn't include heat, it's fine, IMO. Electricity prices in Georgia are fairly reasonable. I prefer gas for hot water and cooking, but it's not a major economic issue.
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Old 07-01-2008, 10:45 AM
 
193 posts, read 638,115 times
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Cooking with an electric stove sucks.
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Old 07-01-2008, 02:29 PM
 
340 posts, read 1,469,195 times
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All electric is the way to go. For one bed room, electric bill for summer (Cooling and cooking) is about $80/mo. if you turn the cooling off during day time while you are not home and gas (water heater only) is about $40 (without washer and dryer). Using gas to cook is dangerous if there is a leak.
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Old 07-01-2008, 02:56 PM
 
Location: Grant Park
69 posts, read 272,801 times
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I'm probably in the minority - but I love having everything electric. Only 1 bill to deal with and no worries about leaks. I'm in a 3 bed/2.5 bath 3-story townhome and my highest electric bill to date is $100 (with A/C running all summer).

So unless you are a gourmet cook (which I've heard gas is much better for!) - I'd go for all electric.
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Old 07-01-2008, 03:37 PM
 
36 posts, read 207,050 times
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I also like having an all electric apartment, they seem to be very rare. Many of the apts I viewed had electric stoves and gas heating. That's just an extra bill IMO. Even if you don't use the gas that much, you still have to pay an extra bill with service fees or whatever. I'm used to electric stuff though.
Also, I don't really consider it to get cold here, so if gas heat is more efficient, I wouldn't know the difference.
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Old 07-01-2008, 04:16 PM
 
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I have gas and electric but wish I was all electric. I'm only home on the weekends in Atlanta due to a temporary work assignment in TN. Anyway - my gas bill is as follows: $12 gas usage, $15.75 AGL pass through, $6 service charge, $2 in taxes. A total of $36 for my water heater to be idle. The service charges are a killer, IMO. I believe if I was all electric I would pay significantly less since I already pay the service charge for the electric bill, not to mention the pass-through charges. BTW, the other bills - water, sewer, garbage, electricity, all add up to be about $45.
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Old 07-02-2008, 07:38 PM
 
52 posts, read 210,859 times
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The benefits of both imo:

Gas- Better for cooking, hot water and heating "If an ice storm breaks powerlines which is rare."

Electric- Waaay cheaper in the long run especially during winter as long as you don't get powerlines freezing -again rare.

I think the salesman said that since it'll be cheaper for ya in the long run. When I get an apartment I'm totally going electric everything. The winter gas bills can be brutal. At 52 degrees in the house to conserve gas my bill still reached $242 this past winter for 1 month! Just imagine if I had it set to 65 or 70?

Last edited by hurricanes; 07-02-2008 at 07:39 PM.. Reason: forget a detail
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Old 07-02-2008, 07:52 PM
 
Location: East Cobb
2,206 posts, read 6,244,738 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hurricanes View Post
The benefits of both imo:

Gas- Better for cooking, hot water and heating "If an ice storm breaks powerlines which is rare."

Electric- Waaay cheaper in the long run especially during winter as long as you don't get powerlines freezing -again rare.

I think the salesman said that since it'll be cheaper for ya in the long run. When I get an apartment I'm totally going electric everything. The winter gas bills can be brutal. At 52 degrees in the house to conserve gas my bill still reached $242 this past winter for 1 month! Just imagine if I had it set to 65 or 70?
I'm no expert, but I think most gas furnaces don't work when the electricity is out, because some parts of the system are electrically driven.

Historically, natural gas has been much cheaper than electricity for home heating, hot water and clothes drying. Maybe that's changed lately, but I'm really surprised at the claim that electricity is apt to be waaay cheaper in the long run. Really?
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Old 07-03-2008, 10:31 AM
 
269 posts, read 985,770 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RainyRainyDay View Post
I'm no expert, but I think most gas furnaces don't work when the electricity is out, because some parts of the system are electrically driven.

Historically, natural gas has been much cheaper than electricity for home heating, hot water and clothes drying. Maybe that's changed lately, but I'm really surprised at the claim that electricity is apt to be waaay cheaper in the long run. Really?
In a word, no. With a major caveat.

First off, a gas furnace is cheaper to run than an electric furnace. In fact, I would personally install a bottled propane system before an electric burner system.

The simplified theoretical underpinning is easy to see. Say the electric plant burns gas. (It might burn coal or even fuel oil, but in practice this doesn't matter.) If you burn gas in your furnace, you get 100% of the heat. If you change the heat into electricity, transmit it 30 miles, then reconvert it to heat, you lose a lot of the energy in the process.

Here's the big caveat: Since we (Atlantans) are in an area of high air-conditioning use, a more expensive "heat pump" becomes a consideration. The technology is extremely different for heating with a heat pump and using a furnace. A heat pump basically air conditions the air outside and heats the house with what would be considered the "exhaust" (but don't worry, it is perfectly clean -- there is no relationship to, say, car exhaust).

A heat pump is extremely efficient when the difference between the air outside and the desired temperature inside (called the "lift") is comparatively small. This can get very complicated. If you are using a heat pump, electricity is cheaper is when the outside temperature is above what is called the "balance point", about 45-55 degrees, or even less with a great (i.e. expensive) heat pump. The number depends on several factors, such as how warm you want your house to be and how good the heat pump is.

IMHO, the "best" system considering fuel cost and performance (with a nod to the environment) is a dual system including a good heat pump and a multi-speed gas furnace The heat pump provides air conditioning and also provides heat when the outside temperature is above something like 45 degrees F, at which point the gas furnace cuts on.

The amount of furnace and heat pump usage is extremely complex and is run by a computer chip. (The gas furnace should have more than one "stage"; like a two-stage furnace might turn on the main burner at 45 and have an auxiliary burner setting when the house is very cold, to speed up the warming process, or when the outside temperature is very cold.)

That said, you could use a heat pump without any furnace at all to heat your home in Atlanta, but I wouldn't advise it. I don't know if fuel would be more or less expensive in an average year using only a heat pump for heat, but I do know that the house would not be acceptably heated on cold days. Not to mention, it would have to run all the time but at low outside temperatures it would be prone to icing up and have to be turned off for a while; it would then take a very long time to reheat the house.

(A heat pump will warm a house, with steadily decreasing fuel efficiency, to the point where the outside temperature is about 20 degrees. You could theoretically go even colder depending on insulation and the heat pump quality.)

As long as I am getting long-winded, I'll add that it is possible to have a geothermal heat pump. Cost-wise, you'd have to be a big environmental supporter to get one, but they are commercially available. (I don't think it would pay for itself unless you lived in an interior desert with major daily heat fluctuation.) Anyway, instead of exchanging heat into the air, these rely on buried pipes to exchange heat with the deep earth. Because the ground stays much warmer in winter and much cooler in the summer compared to the air, a geothermal heat pump is incredibly efficient all year, if you live in an area of seasonal (and/or daily) temperature fluctuation. I'd ballpark energy savings of 75% over a furnace/air-conditioner combo.

Note also that gas burns cleaner than oil and has a better environmental footprint than electricity (unless you get clean electricity, e.g. 100% hydro or nuclear, which you don't in Atlanta).

All the other gas appliances, at least those I can think of, run fine during a power outage. Including, notably, hot water, gas fireplace, and stove, all of which will provide some comfort during a power outage.

A gas furnace will not operate without electricity, which is needed for several fans, the gas valve, and the thermostat. However, the amount of electricity involved is fairly small. So you have two possible backups if it's important to you.

First, an electric generator. This involves some one-time expense for hookup, but you don't need a very large generator to power a furnace. I wouldn't bother in Atlanta, and if you are renting an apartment, this isn't an option anyway.

The other option is to put a gas space heater in one room.
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