Author Topic: Using propane or electric mini stove to cancel gas company ?  (Read 3072 times)

Hawkeye

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Using propane or electric mini stove to cancel gas company ?
« on: October 20, 2017, 06:08:26 PM »
Hi fellow mustachians !

So I just received another frustrating energy bill from our gas and electricity company ConEd... Basically we are being charged about $25 just for having access to a gas network - our actual gas use has been minimal.

Since we are not really using any significant amount of gas I am playing with the idea of canceling my gas supply contract.

Wanted to ask for advice and experiences with replacing the gas grid supply with either propane gas or an electric stove ?

Thanks a lot in advance !

SimpleCycle

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Re: Using propane or electric mini stove to cancel gas company ?
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2017, 06:26:45 PM »
My mom has a regular gas stove and I think it uses a propane tank instead of a natural gas hook up.  I don’t know anything else about it other than it’s possible.

ixtap

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Re: Using propane or electric mini stove to cancel gas company ?
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2017, 06:32:13 PM »
My mom has a regular gas stove and I think it uses a propane tank instead of a natural gas hook up.  I donít know anything else about it other than itís possible.

Do not do this; they have different requirements.

Have you cooked consistently with propane? It tends to be a lot hotter than gas.

There are full sized, or nearly full sized, propane appliances that are used in cabins and outlying housing.

Depending on your cooking habits, an induction stove top might be your best option.

GizmoTX

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Re: Using propane or electric mini stove to cancel gas company ?
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2017, 06:35:46 PM »
What are you using gas for? Appliances that currently use natural gas have to be reconfigured to use propane instead; they're not interchangeable. Have you checked on what propane costs in your area? Electric is usually much more expensive but it too depends on your locality.

While it uses electricity, I agree about using induction to cook with to save energy. Also, consider a pressure cooker. We use both.

Hawkeye

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Re: Using propane or electric mini stove to cancel gas company ?
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2017, 06:38:46 PM »
Hi thanks for the super fast replies everyone, we appreciate it !

For clarification, we are thinking of buying either a small propane cooker separately (rather than retrofitting our current natural gas stove) vs. using electric/induction.

Already have a pressure cooker :)  (which I don't think would work with induction ?!?)

Thanks again !

teen persuasion

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Re: Using propane or electric mini stove to cancel gas company ?
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2017, 06:43:49 PM »
We don't have natural gas down our street, so we have propane for our cookstove.  Unfortunately, prices per unit are higher for low volume, so we pay ridiculous prices for the luxury of cooking with gas (oil for our heating and hot water).

I believe standard gas stove can be adapted to LP, it's just a different regulator (or something like that).

Electric would be easier, unless you don't have an electric stove outlet.  Then you'd need to get that installed.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Using propane or electric mini stove to cancel gas company ?
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2017, 06:47:55 PM »
My mom has a regular gas stove and I think it uses a propane tank instead of a natural gas hook up.  I don’t know anything else about it other than it’s possible.

Do not do this; they have different requirements.

Have you cooked consistently with propane? It tends to be a lot hotter than gas.

There are full sized, or nearly full sized, propane appliances that are used in cabins and outlying housing.

Depending on your cooking habits, an induction stove top might be your best option.

Okay, what I mean is she has an LP convertible gas range converted for use with liquid propane.  She uses about 60 gallons a year at $3.50/gallon, for a single person cooking a couple meals at home a day.

Cranky

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Re: Using propane or electric mini stove to cancel gas company ?
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2017, 07:35:54 PM »
Iíve had propane before and thought it was a pain. Itís expensive and there always came a day when the stove didnít work because the tank was empty, and you had to call and have them come out and fill it...

Is the stove the only gas appliance you have? Because Iíve also got a gas water heater and dryer.

I think if you switch to an electric stove youíll have to run in a 220 line.

GizmoTX

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Re: Using propane or electric mini stove to cancel gas company ?
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2017, 08:04:45 PM »
Our stovetop pressure cooker is stainless steel & works on our induction cooktop, but if yours is aluminum that wouldn't work. These days we prefer the electric Instant Pot pressure cooker -- no fiddling with the power/pressure & it has a built-in timer.

Syonyk

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Re: Using propane or electric mini stove to cancel gas company ?
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2017, 08:50:44 PM »
What, all, in your home uses gas?

Is it just cooking, or is it the furnace and dryer and such as well?

Converting to propane is doable, but assume you'll have to replace an appliance or two as you can't get the propane regulator for them anymore.  It's easy with new stuff, a lot harder with old stuff.  And you CANNOT simply use propane as a drop in replacement for natural gas.  Not remotely close enough.

If it's just the stove, a nice induction cooktop would work, but be aware that you'll probably have to run 240V to it - and that's a non-trivial chunk of electrician time.

topshot

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Re: Using propane or electric mini stove to cancel gas company ?
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2017, 07:21:24 AM »
A full induction cooktop is $$$. Back in 2010 the cheapest was like $2K. I personally would just get a normal electric stove (maybe $500), which almost certainly will be 50A 240V breaker so you'd need that capacity in your box. However, I would then get an induction hob (maybe $100), which is MUCH more efficient than using a normal electric cooktop. We cooked with just a microwave and the hob for 16 months while I redid our entire main floor (though I did leave the stove connected for nearly all that time so we could cook in the oven if needed. Still use the hob almost exclusively today unless we have more than 1 thing to do at a time.

Polaria

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Re: Using propane or electric mini stove to cancel gas company ?
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2017, 07:42:38 AM »
Already have a pressure cooker :)  (which I don't think would work with induction ?!?)

If the pressure cooker is made of magnetic material (easy to check with any magnet), it will work with induction.

FWIW Ikea has a portable induction cooktop for US$ 45 :
http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/10343776/
« Last Edit: October 21, 2017, 07:46:44 AM by Polaria »

nereo

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Re: Using propane or electric mini stove to cancel gas company ?
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2017, 08:02:07 AM »
Some good advice here.  Thought I'd add my own comments and summarize some important points.

1) propane stoves are much hotter than natural gas.  Some models can take both (usually with a conversion kit) but not all, so check that first.

2) If your stove is the only device that uses natural gas then I agree paying $25/mo for hookup charges is probably not worth it.  Your ROI on switching to a propane tank will probably be within 2 years (after 2 years you will accrue $600 in hookup charges).   It's possible to just use 20lb user-refillable propane tanks (e.g. what a gas-grill typically uses).  Places like CostCo will refill as a loss-leader for ~$7/tank, and you could have 3-4 to rotate through.  If this is too much of a pain you'll need to buy or rent a larger (e.g. 200lb) tank that will need to be filled periodically. We had a 200lb tank for both stove and hot water nad it lasted us ~6 months before a refill.  If your house uses natural gas for other things (hot water, heating) the equation becomes much different, as you will ahve more devices that need to be converted to propane and your total draw will be much higher than just for a stove. What is your monthly gas usage sans hookup fee?

3) Induction ranges have come down a ton in the last 5 years; probably the result of economies of scale. My local HD had a flush mounted 4 burner induction range for $999.  As long as a pressure cooker is ferric it will work just fine (most are).  "Hot-plate" style induction burners are cheap and readily available and run off regular 110v/15amp plugs.  Great if you just want to add another backup source, but it's going to take up additioanl space on your counter/cupboards.  Generic electric stoves are a dime-a-dozen on craigslist if you're willing and able to pick them up, and will require a 240v line (easy enough to do provided you have two slots open in your breaker box and an electrical access point into your kitchen). 
In short if its just your range that uses gas you could give up the need for either a gas hookup or propane fairly easily and cheaply by replacing your stove.

sol

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Re: Using propane or electric mini stove to cancel gas company ?
« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2017, 08:50:23 AM »
We have solar panels and a mostly electric home, so I also seriously considered shutting off my natural gas service (and I actually prefer cooking on an electric stovetop.)  We also pay a stupid monthly "connection fee" to use almost no gas. 

The reason we didn't is our water heater.  Unless you're on natural gas heating, your water heater uses far and away more gas than anything else in your house.  Shortening your daily shower by 5 minutes saves more energy than converting all of your lightbulbs to LEDs.  Natural gas is just super-duper energy dense, and it takes a ton of energy to heat up water.

And electric water heaters are pretty dumb.  You can get around the inherent inefficiency if you buy a heat exchanger model, or one where the water heater is tied to the home furnace (more popular in Japan), but a standard electric water heater is a power hog.  Like > $500/year in electricity all by itself. 

So in our case, we decided to keep the gas connection for the purpose of our water heater, and having natural gas back-up to our heat pump.

As a separate discussion, people I know who live on propane all hate it.  You have to deal with maintaining the storage tanks and valves, you have to have it delivered regularly, and it's more expensive than natural gas on a per-BTU basis.  I think it's really on a viable option for remote cabins and such, where you don't have access to the power or gas grids.

AccidentialMustache

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Re: Using propane or electric mini stove to cancel gas company ?
« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2017, 10:15:45 AM »
Be aware induction needs pots and pans that respond strongly to magnets. If its aluminum, has a copper bottom, is surgical stainless (non-magnetic or weakly magnetic) it won't work on an induction stove. Factor that in to your costs for it.

That said we have an induction stove and love it.

Hawkeye

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Re: Using propane or electric mini stove to cancel gas company ?
« Reply #15 on: October 21, 2017, 11:13:38 AM »
Wow thanks for all the responses impressed how active this forum is..

Here are some clarifications:

-- Gas stove is the only device that uses gas. we only used $ 0.72 in gas charges, with a $21.47 'delivery charge'
-- Definitely not interested in really retro-fitting the entire kitchen with extra power cords etc.

Kinda liked the speed of cooking with gas so that's where the idea of a propane replacement came from.. But on a second thought having to deal with tank refills etc may not be worth the hassle.. All together probably the induction stove top / hob seems to be the winning option..

Thanks again for sharing your experiences !

nereo

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Re: Using propane or electric mini stove to cancel gas company ?
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2017, 11:29:06 AM »
...
-- Gas stove is the only device that uses gas. we only used $ 0.72 in gas charges, with a $21.47 'delivery charge'
-- Definitely not interested in really retro-fitting the entire kitchen with extra power cords etc.

Ok, consider these calculation then.

Over the next year, you will spend: $8.62 on gas / $257 on 'delivery charges'
Over the next 3 years: $25.92 on gas / $773 on 'delivery charges'
Over the next 5 years: $43.20 on gas / $1,288 on 'delivery charges'

To me, that frames what you should do.  I would get rid of your gas stove entirely. 

Most economical/sensible solution would be to get a used electric stove off craigslist and hire an electrician to put in a 220v line (typical cost is ~$150-200 for the electrician, stove might be $100). Return on Investment (ROI): 15-18 months

Even buying a new range (poss. induction) could give you a payoff in 3-5 years, and it would be a nice feature for when it comes time to sell.



sol

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Re: Using propane or electric mini stove to cancel gas company ?
« Reply #17 on: October 21, 2017, 02:28:25 PM »
...
-- Gas stove is the only device that uses gas. we only used $ 0.72 in gas charges, with a $21.47 'delivery charge'
-- Definitely not interested in really retro-fitting the entire kitchen with extra power cords etc.

Ok, consider these calculation then.

Over the next year, you will spend: $8.62 on gas / $257 on 'delivery charges'
Over the next 3 years: $25.92 on gas / $773 on 'delivery charges'
Over the next 5 years: $43.20 on gas / $1,288 on 'delivery charges'

To me, that frames what you should do.  I would get rid of your gas stove entirely. 

Most economical/sensible solution would be to get a used electric stove off craigslist and hire an electrician to put in a 220v line (typical cost is ~$150-200 for the electrician, stove might be $100). Return on Investment (ROI): 15-18 months

Even buying a new range (poss. induction) could give you a payoff in 3-5 years, and it would be a nice feature for when it comes time to sell.

I agree with Nereo.  If the stove is really the ONLY natural gas use on your property, then it seems pretty dumb to pay $21/mo to cook with it.  Electric will be about the same on the per-use cost, but without the extra connection fee. 

One word of caution: some jurisdictions literally don't allow you to cancel your gas hookup.  They justify it by saying that they still need to maintain the integrity of your gas line and meter, whether you're using gas or not, and since they're on your property you need to pay for it.  Essentially, their argument is that you need to pay to maintain the infrastructure of gas delivery.

Syonyk

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Re: Using propane or electric mini stove to cancel gas company ?
« Reply #18 on: October 21, 2017, 02:52:58 PM »
One word of caution: some jurisdictions literally don't allow you to cancel your gas hookup.  They justify it by saying that they still need to maintain the integrity of your gas line and meter, whether you're using gas or not, and since they're on your property you need to pay for it.  Essentially, their argument is that you need to pay to maintain the infrastructure of gas delivery.

And the delivery fee is a lot more honest in terms of cost than it is on the electrical side.

Call & ask - but don't be surprised if you can't cancel it.

If you can't cancel it, consider replacing other heat generating devices with gas - it's going to be a lot cheaper than heating with electrical resistive heat, assuming you've got stubs there for the gas (you should, at least, for the heater and water heater).

Hawkeye

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Re: Using propane or electric mini stove to cancel gas company ?
« Reply #19 on: November 18, 2017, 04:27:20 PM »
Hey Everyone, thanks a lot for the plenty of suggestions ! Just wanted to follow-up with what we ended up doing.. Although my fiance was initially a bit hesitant to let go of the gas stove, we ultimately decided to go the simple and low-cost route of getting a cheap induction hob for $50 on Amazon.

This ended up being a great decision for out purposes, this thing is super fast and on max intensity heats our pots and pans + pressure cooker at least as quickly as the gas stove did which is very impressive :o

SO we cancelled gas delivery last month and just received our utility bill from $58 --> $28, primarily due to savings in the "gas delivery fee".

Super thrilled about it. I had used an older induction stove years ago and was not expecting this degree of performance. Another benefit is how super portable and I'd say elegant is I feel like having one of these babies and pairing it up with a cheap pressure cooker and maybe a rice cooker replaces most need for an actual kitchen for all minimalist/mustachian types.

And with the decrease of the "delivery fee" is almost paid for itself already :D

In case anyone is interested, you can check out Amazon (referral link):

$50 Induction Stove that will help you save money


Thanks for the advice everyone and have a great weekend !

Hawkeye
« Last Edit: November 18, 2017, 04:32:51 PM by Hawkeye »

nereo

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Re: Using propane or electric mini stove to cancel gas company ?
« Reply #20 on: November 18, 2017, 04:50:00 PM »
glad to hear it.

If you're considering a rice cooker and a pressure cooker I'd consider just getting an instantpot.  Does both (and more) in one device.

Syonyk

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Re: Using propane or electric mini stove to cancel gas company ?
« Reply #21 on: November 18, 2017, 06:15:51 PM »
Nice!  I'm surprised they let you do it, but that's a nice chunk of cost savings!