How To Switch From Electric to Gas Appliances
Cost to Install a New Gas Line
In a December 2012 survey, more than a third of U.S. consumers expressed an interest in switching from gas to electric appliances.
Why? People who love to cook appreciate the precision a gas range offers - electric stoves just don’t match up. And budget- or eco-conscious consumers appreciate that gas appliances are more energy efficient.
If natural gas is available in your area but there is no gas line running to your home, you will need to have a service line installed. This line runs from the street to your home. The job can be done by the local gas company or a licensed plumber. The gas company often charges less, but there might be a long waiting period.
Once the main line has been installed, you’ll need to run gas lines from the meter to your appliances. (If your home already has a main gas line, this is your only step, unless the existing line is too small to accommodate all of your appliances.) You’ll have to hire a plumber for this job - most gas companies won’t do it.
Cost to Install a Gas Line
Check with the local gas company first to find out what they charge to run a main line before hiring a plumber. In some cases, the gas company will run a service line to your home free of charge. Other times the fee is fairly minimal - $500 or less - up to a maximum or 100 or 200 feet (if your home is farther than that from the main line, budget an additional $2 to $5 per foot in most areas). However, some gas companies charge just as much as a plumber would.
Having a plumber run a gas line to your home usually costs $1,500 to $3,000. Most plumbers charge by the foot, with prices ranging from $20 to $50 per foot, depending on geographic location. In most cases, plumbers have a minimum project cost of $500 or so, but most projects exceed that anyway.
If you already have a gas line running to the home but you need it extended to reach a new appliance such as a stove or clothes dryer, budget about $500 to $1,000. The price depends on local labor rates, the distance from the appliance to the gas meter and the size of the line.
In addition to all the above costs, you’ll have to pay inspection and permitting fees. Fees vary from one location to another, but budget at least $100 to $300. For specific information on fees, contact the planning or building department in your city or town.
Keep in mind, too, that gas appliances are typically more expensive than electric appliances. You might pay an extra $100 or $200 for a gas dryer, for example, or an extra $500 to $800 for a gas range.
Energy Savings and Rebates
Natural gas tends to be cheaper and more energy efficient than other forms of energy. Rates vary widely from one region of the country to the next, so it’s impossible to estimate the energy savings you’ll gain by switching to natural gas. But it’s a good idea to do some research comparing local gas vs. electric, oil or propane rates before you switch.
Many gas companies offer discounts and rebates to incentivize homeowners to switch to natural gas. It’s not uncommon to find rebates of $500 to $3,500 toward the cost of conversion in addition to discounts on the cost of installing a gas line. Federal tax credits of up to $500 are also available for converting to qualifying energy-efficient appliances such as furnaces or hot water heaters.
Finding a Plumber
If you hire a plumber to do the job, make sure you find someone who is qualified and reputable. Here are some tips:
- Only hire a licensed plumber. Ask for proof that the person is licensed to work with natural gas lines, and check with your state’s licensing or plumbing board to make sure the license is active.
- Do some background research. Check the plumbers’s rating with the Better Business Bureau. Ask for references - and be sure to check them. Make sure the company has a physical address and a website.
- Always seek multiple quotes to compare prices before hiring anyone. Throw out any bids that come in suspiciously high or low. Often, companies with unusually low bids are cutting corners.
- Consider hiring a plumber who specializes in gas line repair. These professionals work with gas lines every day, so they know exactly what to do to get the job done quickly, accurately and safely.