But what about the type of fuel the appliances use?
Although market share for many major gas-fired appliances – including furnaces, water heaters, and dryers – declined slightly in 2013, that trend is now starting to change.
The driving force? Energy savings.
With Henry Hub spot prices for natural gas averaging just $2.59 per million British thermal units (Btu) in June, the potential to lower consumption costs by switching from electric-powered to natural gas-powered appliances is growing ever bigger.
Simply using gas furnaces for home heating could save customers anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 in annual energy charges over homes using electric furnaces. Similarly, gas water heaters could save consumers a couple hundred dollars in yearly energy costs, while gas clothes dryers and ranges could each save households about a hundred dollars annually.
While low market prices for natural gas are leading many to switch to gas appliances, some evidence suggests that there are more benefits than just cost savings alone.
That is because natural gas appliances are generally much more efficient than electric appliances. Take your stove as an example. An electric range uses three times as much energy as natural gas burners to produce and deliver the same heat.
Gas water heaters can heat water twice as fast as electric water heaters, and gas dryers not only consume far less energy, they also dry clothes faster.
Of course, when it comes to making the right decision for your household, you will likely consider a lot of other factors, things like the cost of the new appliance as well as the cost of its installation, which could include putting in a gas line. These costs are just as important as natural gas prices and energy efficiency in determining which appliance is right for you.
However, if you decide to purchase a natural gas appliance, you can probably bet on cost savings going forward. And you can rest easy that you are adopting the cleaner, more environmentally friendly, and more economical alternative.