When you consider that most professional kitchens are equipped with gas and not electric stoves, you begin to wonder what benefits they must have and how much your own cooking could be improved if you were to make the switch.
But with electricity being the most common cooking fuel across America, making the switch might not be all that easy. Whilst you may yearn for the speed and control that gas can offer, if you don’t already have the right fittings in your kitchen, you might think you’re doomed before you even start.
Well, that’s not necessarily the case, and we’re here to tell you why!
Gas stoves: The pros and cons
The advantages of a gas stove
If someone tells you you’re ‘cooking with gas’ they probably mean you’re making excellent, quick progress with something! And that’s exactly what it’s like to actually cook on gas – it heats up instantly, you can control the heat very precisely and cook food quickly and efficiently.
Some of the other benefits of cooking with a gas stove include:
- Lower costs than cooking with electricity
- It works very well at high temperatures
- Very even heat distribution on the cooktop
- They waste less heat than electric stoves and help to keep your home cooler
- Gas stoves are unaffected by power outages
- Gas is a cleaner fuel and gas stoves are therefore more environmentally friendly
The disadvantages of gas stoves
- Gas cooktops are generally slower to heat up large pans of food than electric hobs, especially electric induction stoves
- Most gas ovens have ‘hot spots’ which can affect how evenly the food is cooked
- The cost of installing gas into properties that don’t already have it can be prohibitive. However, there are ways around this (keep reading to find out more!)
- Lacking the clean, modern lines of glass or ceramic electric stove tops, gas ovens can be tricky to clean as they usually have lots of removable parts
- Your kitchen may get hotter when cooking with gas than with electric
Can you convert an electric stove to gas?
The short answer is YES! But there are some important points to consider.
Connecting a gas supply
If you already have a capped gas supply in your kitchen in the space you want to situate your stove, then moving from electric to gas for cooking will be pretty easy. A professional gas stove installer will be able to simply hook up the gas stove to the gas line which takes just a matter of minutes and will cost in the region of $125 for the service call.
If you have an existing gas supply but it’s not in the area you want to install your new gas stove, you will need to employ a gas-registered plumber to run a new line from the existing connection point to the new location. It’s relatively straightforward, but definitely NOT something you should attempt to do yourself. Extending an existing gas line by 10 feet will cost between $150-$200
If you want to install a gas stove but there is no gas supply to your property, you should take the following steps:
- Check with the local municipality to see whether gas is in your area
- Find out whether your house has ever had a gas supply in the past
- Ask your neighbors whether they have a natural gas supply
- Find out how close the nearest gas line is
Once you have established that there is a natural gas supply close to your home, you will need to ask the local natural gas company to locate the underground lines that serve your property. They will then figure out the best way for the natural gas lines to be laid, before connecting the gas supply, installing a gas meter, and pressure testing the new system. This will cost around $2,000 in total with more complex installations costing well in excess of this.
Natural gas to propane conversion
Gas appliances are designed to be used with a specific type if gas (in the case of stoves, this is usually natural gas), and it would be extremely dangerous to connect a natural gas stove to another type of gas. However, did you know that most (but not all) gas stoves can be converted from natural gas to use LPG instead? Perfect for those homes without any gas supply available.
Natural gas and LPG appliances operate at completely different pressures, LPG has a much higher energy content than natural gas, so less gas is needed to produce the same amount of heat. LPG also draws more oxygen with it into the burner.
How to convert an appliance from natural gas to LPG
To convert from one type of gas to another a couple of major alterations will need to be made – the sizing of the gas injector and the adjustment of pressure. In addition, some other parts might need to be replaced including dampers, aeration sleeves, and the regulator.
The conversion must be completed by a licensed gas fitter and it’s a good idea to ask whether they have a conversion endorsement in addition to their regular license.
Reasons to convert from an electric stove to gas
If you need any more convincing as to the benefits of converting from electric to gas, here are a few good reasons for making the change:
- Lower energy bills – choosing all gas appliances could save you up to 30% on your utility bills
- Longer life stoves – Gas stoves have fewer parts and are easier to maintain
- Quicker pre-heat time – Gas ovens take between 10-15 minutes to heat, with electric ovens taking between 20-30 minutes
- Faster cooling time – Electric stove tops take longer to heat and cool than gas burners, which means that with gas your air conditioning won’t be fighting as hard to cool your kitchen during the summer months
To summarise, if you have access to an existing gas line the benefits of changing from an electric stove to a gas stove are plentiful. You will most likely recoup the money from your investment within just a few months of making the change, even if that requires you to extend or add a new gas line.
Do gas stoves last longer than electric?
Whilst both gas and electric stoves have very long lifespans, electric stoves will need to have their heating elements replaced after a while, whereas a well-maintained gas stove with a standard pilot light will work perfectly for many decades.
Can a gas stove explode?
Gas stoves are very safe cooking appliances, but as with any open flame safety should be a top priority. It’s essential that the burners are only turned on for the duration of cooking as leaving the flame unattended may lead to a burn hazard.
Undoubtedly though, the most significant cause for concern is the flammable nature of gas and its potential for exploding. Keeping an extinguisher close by and ensuring you know how to use it is critical, as is being aware of potential gas leaks which should be reported immediately.
How do you fit a gas cooktop?
Step 1 – Disconnect the gas and check for wear in the flexible gas hose
Step 2 – Remove the old cooktop, unscrewing and removing brackets if attached to the countertop
Step 3 – Measure countertop opening and cooktop dimensions, they typically need 30 inches and a couple of feet of clearance on each side, refer to your product manual
Step 4 – Remove cooktop from packaging
Step 5 – Install brackets and clips to hold the cooktop in place
Step 6 – Lower the cooktop into position with the back end angled downwards
Step 7 – Connect the cooktop to the gas, if it came with a regulator attach this to the cooktop and apply pipe-joint compound before tightening