There are some significant differences when it comes to cooking with gas and electricity. If you’ve only ever used one or the other you may be surprised at how different they are to cook on or the kinds of savings you could make by switching. Bear in mind that prices and tariffs vary between gas and electricity suppliers, so always shop around if you’re thinking about switching providers at the same time.
When it comes to cost, gas almost always comes out on top. Both gas and electric ovens use a similar amount of energy units, calculated in kilowatts per hour (kWh), but because electricity is more expensive than gas this makes electric ovens costlier to run. It’s not by an insignificant amount either – the Energy Saving Trust estimates the average cost of a gas oven at just £9 per year, compared to that of an electric oven at £44 per year. Cooking accounts for almost 5 percent of the average energy bill, so it’s an area worth considering if you’re looking to make savings.
Gas ovens offer more advantages over electric ovens than cost. Gas hobs provide instant heat to all areas of the base of the pan, so food can heat up more quickly. However, gas ovens can be more uneven when it comes to heat distribution as they don’t usually have fans. Bear this in mind when cooking food – they tend to be hotter at the top. Gas ovens also need to be installed by a registered GasSafe engineer. Electric ovens, in contrast, typically more control over oven temperature and more even heat distribution. Ceramic electric hobs also offer the advantage of being easy to clean.
What about when it comes to green credentials? Electric ovens typically take their energy from burning fossil fuels in power plants, while gas ovens are connected to gas pipelines. Gas is usually viewed as a more environmentally friendly form of energy, though electricity powered from renewable sources such as hydropower and wind power could soon change that perception. Depending on where you live, this could become a significant factor.
There are also energy ratings to consider. As cookers become more efficient, we can save on our energy consumption and reduce our bills at the same time. If you’re thinking about buying a new oven, check out the EU energy labels which are now mandatory on many new appliances. Ratings range from A+++ to D, with A+++ the most efficient. To give you some idea of the differences in efficiency, an A+ electric oven uses 40 percent less energy than one with a B rating. Energy labels should also display the annual energy consumption in kWh per year as well as other product specific information.
What do our bills hold for the future? It is thought that the cost of electricity is set to rise at a faster rate than that of gas, largely due to green taxes on electricity to fund investment in renewable power sources. This includes initiatives such as the Electricity Market Reform and Renewables Obligation. So the cost of running an electric oven compared to a gas oven could increase even more. A report by Consumer Futures estimated that energy bills will rise by £282 by 2020 in households where electricity is the primary source of heating.