By Shawn Conner, Sun November 15, 2013


As one of the cleanest burning, most efficient fossil fuels available today, natural gas provides many benefits over other energy sources.


VANCOUVER — After six years with an electric stovetop in his kitchen, Bob Grewal was ready for a change.


“I’m a hobby chef,” Grewal said. “I need to control the temperatures. It was either too hot or not getting hot enough.”


So Grewal and his wife Susan decided to get a gas stovetop.


They were already renovating, which made it easy for the licensed technician they hired to install a gas line to the kitchen without having to tear the walls apart. And they already had gas running to the house for heating.


Grewal says he is definitely happy he made the switch to a gas stovetop, which took the technician “about five hours” and cost around $500 to install.


That’s not including the cost of the stovetop, however. Grewal decided on a top-of-the-line model with six burners.


“I cook a lot, and I need the burners,” he said.


He subscribes to Bon Appétit and makes menus up every month, and has friends over. “I make quite complex dishes,” he said. “I couldn’t do that if the heat’s too high. With gas I can regulate the temperature right where I want it.


“It’s like driving a Ferrari. It really is.”


Installing a gas range can be costly, especially if there’s not already a gas line running to the house.


“A lot of people buy a home and they’re all wound up and they find out, in their dream kitchen, that it will cost to bring gas into the property,” Trail Appliances’ Carlo Wildeman said. “They walk away from the idea and stick with electric.”


Wildeman is manager of retail and training development at Trail Appliances. “The home cooking enthusiast really wants to have that gas cooking. It’s a totally universal tool. With it, I can cook all day long, I don’t have to worry about overheating.”


If there is access to a gas line, Wildeman says the homeowner has to ensure there is enough available for the range. Some homeowners might be at the maximum of their gas supply, although Wildeman says that, 80 per cent of the time, this isn’t a problem.


The next stage is electrical. Gas ranges only require a 120-volt connection, but electric ranges use 40 amps and come with an oversized plug.


“Your all-gas range doesn’t plug into that, it plugs into a 120-volt outlet,” says Wildeman. Because it’s a major home appliance, that outlet must be dedicated to it alone.


“People go, I’ll run an extension cord to the plug on my counter. But that doesn’t meet code. A lot of people have to face the fact they have to run a 120-volt service from their electrical panel to the back end of the range to plug in their new gas stove. And that’s a major cost.”


His solution: a dual-fuel range.


This appliance gives the homeowner gas cooking on the top with a fully-functioning electrical oven.


“You pay a premium for that,” Wildeman said.


“But if you’re going to pay an electrician to first of all make a lot of holes to get an electrical cable from the main panel of the house to get a 120-volt plug behind the stove, you take that cost and you get a dual-fuel. You get remarkable benefits. You’re getting a far better constructed product. The gas is easy to get in. You’ve already got the 40 amp plug in and the dual-fuel range comes with the same plug. And you’re off to the races.”


Read more: The Vancouver Sun