Now You’re Cooking … With Gas

Gas stoves are preferred over electric models by many serious — and even casual — home cooks. Their reasons vary:

  • Gas stoves heat more quickly.
  • They allow for better temperature control.
  • They cool down quickly.

Unfortunately, the house you’re thinking of purchasing comes with an electric range. The good news: It’s often not all that difficult to convert from electric to gas cooking.

Existing hookup

First of all, you’ll want to pull the old range away from the wall and have a look. If the home has both electric and gas hookups, all you need to do is measure the spot where the current stove sits and buy one that will fit there. A kitchen and bath designer can help you find a cooktop that will fit, or you can browse manufacturer websites on your own. It’s usually fairly easy to enlarge an opening; filling gaps is more difficult.

Running a line

If there’s no gas running to the stove, but the home has natural gas in it — perhaps for the water heater — a gas range is still a possibility. Contact a certified plumber in your area (this is not a great do-it-yourself job!) to check the feasibility of the project and to get a price quote. Running a gas line 20 to 25 feet, for example, could cost as little as $600; the price of the project could more than double that if you don’t have a meter box or if the gas line must travel through multiple floors of your home.

In areas where natural gas service is not available, an alternative is propane supplied from a tank. Again, you’ll want to have a professional handle the installation, and you’ll need to check local building codes for placement and connection requirements.

Oven considerations

And, once you do get a gas connection, you may want to give your final range selection some serious consideration. Jerry Weed, a certified kitchen designer from Chevy Chase, MD, says changing out an electric cooktop is a good idea, but he warns that gas wall ovens are prone to going out of adjustment. He recommends sticking with electric for the oven and notes that many high-end ranges are “dual fuel” appliances with gas burners and electric ovens just for this reason.