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June 25, 2012

Electric or gas: Which appliances are better?

Moving into a new home is one of the most exciting times life has to offer. Whether your new dwelling will be in a house or an apartment, the feeling of newness and fresh beginnings is hard to beat.

If you're moving into a new house and have the luxury to design your kitchen, should you set it up to run gas or electric appliances? The same question applies to those who are searching for a new apartment. Should you choose a building that uses gas to power its appliances, or electricity?

The main thing to look at when making this choice is, of course, cost, as we all want to minimize our utility bill.

On your bill, you'll see that electric use is measured by Kilowatt Hours (KWHs), while gas use is tallied by British Therman Units (BTUs), and of course the more these sources we use the higher the bill will be. So how does this translate to cost? It depends on the rates in your area.

For example, Connecticut's electricity rate is around 19.3 cents per kilowatt hour, while Colorado's is 11.23 cents per KWH -- enough to make a substantial difference.

According to a recent U.S. Household Electricity Report, consumers used a third of the total household energy in their kitchens and laundry rooms, since these areas have the biggest appliances and use the most power.

What's in the oven?

PhotoWhen choosing between electric and gas, many people think of ovens first before other appliances. ConsumerAffairs contacted A+ Appliance Repair in Washington D.C., and asked which oven type is cheaper.

"Gas is cheaper," a company repair person said without pause. "Natural gas is always cheaper than electricity."

And which type of oven lasts the longest and needs the least amount of repair? "Gas ovens have a longer life," the A+ spokesman said. "They have way less components to them, so they tend to breakdown less."

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