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Gas or electric?
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UndercoverElephant



Joined: 10 Mar 2008
Posts: 8952
Location: south east England

PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:10 pm    Post subject: Gas or electric? Reply with quote

Perhaps the most obvious question anyone could ask on this forum, but I've never had to think about it before. If one is starting from scratch on a new cooking facility as part of doing up an old house should one go for gas or electric?

I'm guessing the answer is electric.
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JavaScriptDonkey



Joined: 02 Jun 2011
Posts: 1683
Location: SE England

PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gas.

There may be power cuts but I have yet to see a gas cut.
I've always preferred cooking on gas as well although modern electric hobs may be much better than they were.

The long term problems of gas shortages are probably best overcome with a dual fuel range.
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JohnB



Joined: 22 May 2006
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gas, but try to get appliances that don't need mains electricity to work.

But the best way to energy security is not to need it. Become a raw foodie!
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clv101
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2013 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Both, gas hob and electric oven. Also, have a wood stove with a hot plate in another room.
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UndercoverElephant



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JohnB wrote:

But the best way to energy security is not to need it. Become a raw foodie!


Not sure I'm ready to go there yet! Smile
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Little John



Joined: 08 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gas if you wish to rely primarily on the grid. Electricity will go down before gas, I would have thought.

Electric/biomass if you wish to rely on your own sources of energy generation.

In terms of cooking and heat, a belt and braces approach would be gas with a biomass backup plus a portable 2 ring stove for running off a generator in an emergency I guess.
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Little John



Joined: 08 Mar 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JohnB wrote:
Gas, but try to get appliances that don't need mains electricity to work.

But the best way to energy security is not to need it. Become a raw foodie!
Raw food is extremely energy inefficient for the human body compared to cooked food. You have to consume far more raw food to compensate for the calories it takes to break the food down. The control of fire, which allowed us to cook our food (and so chemically partially break it down before we stuck it in our stomachs to finish the job), probably provided the engine for our very first population spurt as a species since it allowed us to consume far less food per person. In other words, by burning otherwise indigestible biomass (such as wood) to partially chemically break our food down, we were able to indirectly consume the energy contained in the indigestible biomass because of the energy we saved by no longer having to fully chemically break the food down in our own stomachs.

It's all about thermodynamics. There is no such thing as a free lunch...literally.


Last edited by Little John on Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:34 am; edited 3 times in total
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UndercoverElephant



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So where is all the gas going to come from? Not much left in the North Sea.
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the_lyniezian



Joined: 17 Oct 2009
Posts: 1125
Location: South Bernicia

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JohnB wrote:
Gas, but try to get appliances that don't need mains electricity to work.


The Amish (for whom off-grid living is part of their religion) seem to make a habit of deliberately retrofitting appliances not to need it where they can, so I have read...
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Little John



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

UndercoverElephant wrote:
So where is all the gas going to come from? Not much left in the North Sea.
I agree, in the end. It just comes down to how long before it gets that bad. The other problem is that as the gas and other hydrocarbons diminish in supply, the cost of firewood and other non hydrocarbon fuel alternatives will rocket and so, unless you own your own woodland, you me and everyone else is inevitably going to be tied to the market dynamics of hydrocarbons either directly or indirectly.
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Tarrel



Joined: 29 Nov 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Depends on your objective; minimising running costs, proofing against collapse or gourmet cooking! Also depends how many in the household.

Envisaging a slow collapse with erratic power-outages, I'd go for a gas hob with perhaps a combination microwave oven. These can use conventional heating elements in concert with microwaves to cook food "conventionally" but quicker. You could also run it on microwave-only, at sufficiently low power to be used with a generator. Either way, have a camping stove as a back-up. You can also get things like Kelly Kettles for heating water and cooking a one-pot meal using only small twigs and brush.
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clv101
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 12:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A 47kg propane will run a gas hob in a regular household for several years. Easy to store a couple on site.

I think you can run a mains gas hob from Calor gas with a adapter, so you could hook up to mains, but keep the adapter and a bottle of gas handy for emergency.
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kenneal - lagger
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The jets are different for mains gas and propane so the two are not interchangeable. Our cooker goes for over six months on a 47kg propane but my wife does a lot of cooking.

Be careful that the gas oven you buy can be used without an electricity supply; many have a safety interlock which is a bit stupid really. We complained to the customer services about ours and you could almost hear them thinking "Power cuts! What are the daft so and so's talking about?" The hobs are OK though without lecky.

If you avoid making a lot of cups of tea you can save a huge amount of gas or if you do make it during the winter use the woodburning stove when it's running.
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biffvernon



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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Remember to look at electric induction hob as one of the options. Energy-wise it is an efficient way of heating a pan.
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adam2
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2013 11:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whilst times are more or less normal I would go for a gas hob and an electric oven.

Gas is more reliable than electricity (though not totally immune to breakdowns) and it would be useful to cook during a power cut.

There is nothing to be gained by a gas oven since almost all new models also need electricity and wont work in a power cut.
An electric oven is normally cheaper to buy and certainly cheaper to instal, and can of course be used in the rare event of a gas cut.

If planning for TEOTWAWKI, then neither the gas nor the electricity supply are likely to be available, and off grid means of cooking are needed.

A woodstove with cooking facility is probably the best option for most people, but a dedicated wood burning range or cooker would be better still.
A solar cooker will save unwanted summer heat, and conserve fuel for the winter.
LIMITED electric cooking is possible from a PV system in the summer, which again would conserve possibly scarce firewood for winter use.

A 500 Wp PV system might in summer produce a surplus of 1KWH a day or a bit more. That will run a 1KW kettle for half an hour, and a medium size microwave oven or induction cooking ring for half an hour.
Not a lot, but it might save lighting a fire for boiling eggs or potatoes, to serve with salad or other cold food.
An LPG or oil cookstove and a good supply of fuel is also worth considering, any reasonable supply of fuel will eventually be consumed, but several large LPG bottles could last 10 years if used sparingly.
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Last edited by adam2 on Mon Sep 23, 2013 8:51 pm; edited 2 times in total
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