When I lived in "upstate" NY (Poughkeepsie area), the only people with gas
were within the actual city limits. Homes in the towns around and a good
chunk of the city, used oil heat. There was very little gas in VT until
recently and it's not available here in AL, within the city limits. At least
none of the homes we looked at have gas heat. I really doubt that even half
the population has natural gas available.
We don't have NG here in upstate NY, about 20 minutes from Albany, 5 minutes
outside of town. I'm in the boonies, but certainly not WAY out. They sent
out a survey (supposedly 25,000 copies) about 10 years ago and they said
only 5 people (myself included) wanted NG. They didn't say how many bothered
to return the survey, however.
About ten years ago Vermont Gas went around and asked how many on our street
(maybe 20 houses) wanted gas. As it worked out, the only money out of my
pocket was $50 to have a clean-out installed in the chimney (should have been
there) and $12/mo for the burner rental. I hate oil heat, so sure! The gas
company paid for all installation costs, and even came back that spring and
re-seeded the lawn. Only one family on the street refused.
I love oil heat, or at least I did when I was in the northeast. No
reliance on any outside utility during nasty storms, 300 gal of heat and
generator fuel on site and ready at all times. That works out to the
ability to operate for at least two full weeks (more if the tank is near
full at the start) without any issues during one of the northeast's
killer ice storms.
Granted nat gas service doesn't have an outage very often, but it does
have outages, where oil never has outages. Nat gas also blows up at
least one home a month, while oil has never blown up a home.
Best hope your tank is always near-full then. If there is a massive
sustained electric outage for the region, you won't be getting any
refills, once your local supplier empties his tanks, assuming HE has a
As to NG blowups- simple housekeeping reduces the accidental explosion
risk to near-zero. Compare that to the massive cleanup costs from even a
minor tank leak (assuming the local authorities find out.) I think the
odds favor NG by a wide margin.
I never ran into such an issue, the region just wasn't likely to
experience anything that would take more than a week to recover from. If
I were in a higher risk area I would have simply added a second 300gal
tank (max 600gal per fire rated space). I also had a 55gal primary tank
for the generator and only switched to drawing from the big tank if that
55 was getting low.
Ask the folks killed in those nat gas explosions. As for leaks,
secondary containment for indoor tanks is pretty trivial, and the
containment only need to match the largest individual tank, so for two
300gal tanks, you only need 300gal worth of containment which equates to
only a foot or so dam around the tanks.
You still need electricity to run the furnace. Gas isn't any more of a
I absolutely *hated* it. I had all sorts of reliability issues in one house
(out of heat for three days, once, with all the niceties like frozen pipes).
The other wasn't perfect, but better. It stinks, too.
You've been reading the funny papers again. Try spilling a tank of oil and
get back to me.
You missed the "heat and generator fuel". I also have a diesel
generator. #2 heating oil and #2 diesel are the same thing, the only
difference being the red dye and lack of transportation fuel taxes. It
is 100% legal to run a generator off the untaxed fuel. Yes, the current
heating oil is not ULSD, but that doesn't matter for an older diesel
If you were without heat, you should have been draining the pipes. Not
draining the pipes when you know they are likely to freeze is just lazy
since draining them is not much work.
I've been reading the reports of residential gas explosions that show up
pretty much monthly. Do a search on any news site or even google and
you'll find a ton of them. As for oil leaks, it's called secondary
containment, it is not a big deal, and again it wont blow up your house
and kill you.
Yes, I do drive / ride in vehicles, as there is not a viable alternative
as there is with residential nat. gas. I also always wear a seat belt.
At home, for the LP cooktop of my range, I have a gas detector nearby. I
find it rather sad that gas detectors are standard equipment in all RVs,
yet few people have them at home.
It is very realistic, just search the news reports of all the
residential gas explosions. If you have gas service at home you should
at the very least have a gas detector in your home. Ideally the gas
detector should be linked to a shutoff valve so it can stop a leak even
if you are not home. RV gas detectors are available with shutoff valves
We just made decision to repair our 15 year old electric range rather
than buy new. As with your gas stove, it was the electrical control
panel that malfunctioned. New stoves are expensive. Wife is happy with
My wife likes electric but I prefer gas but we had no choice years ago
as gas company was not taking new customers. If you convert, as others
say, you will need to rewire and probably upgrade your electrical panel
too. Since you most likely use gas for heat and hot water you might as
well continue to use it for the stove.
Many factors come with that decision. If you are a serious cook, stoves are
expensive and worth the cost for better features and better cooking oven.
The controls panel can be expensive by itself, plus a service call of $100
or more. A low end range can be had as low as $400 or so for the base
models. If all you do if fry an egg for breakfast and make mac'n'cheese for
dinner, it is a great value. If you want superior results from the oven and
high powered burners, expect to pay $2000+.
I was under the impression that an oven was merely a hot box to cook in. I
was pleasantly surprised when we started roasting in out Bertazzoni range
and everything came out so much better than our old range.
Hate to say that our repair was close to cost of a new low end range but
new would have been about 3X. Wife also got a new cal rod to replace
sagging old one.
A few months ago we went through same choice with broken dishwasher but
in this case, decided to replace it as there were a lot of other parts
that were aging unlike the range where all important parts were replaced.
Why would you want to convert from gas to electric? As far as I can tell,
there is NO advantage in so doing and you have to give up several plusses.
* Electric is more expensive heat
* You do not have the range of temperatures (gas can get MUCH hotter)
* With electric, you do not have the gradations of temperature you do with
gas (although, Low, Medium, High may be enough for you)
* Gas heats up quicker and cools down faster than electric
* You can't burn the pin-feathers off a freshly-plucked chicken with
Probably the same reason we did not repair ours. The cost of repair get
high depending on what is needed. Cost of repair can equal the cost of a
new low end range. New stoves have better features and can cook better in
many cases. The convection oven on the new range is far superior to the old
oven. Roasts come out much better, chickens are juicier, etc. It really
does make a difference.
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