Clothes Dryer -- installing 220 voltage or gas line?
November 14, 2006 7:02 PM   Subscribe

DryerFilter -- In an early 20th century apartment in San Francisco, which is cheaper to achieve a dryer (i.e., the appliance that accompanies a washer): hiring an electrician to install 220 voltage, or hiring a plumber to run a gas line from the stove? Which is ultimately more energy efficient?

And any recommendations for an electrician or plumber in San Francisco area?
posted by ClaudiaCenter to Home & Garden (12 answers total)
Response by poster: There is gas line for heat, stove, hot water heater. I've heard anecdotally that running the gas line is maybe $600, and that running the 220 voltage is several hundred more. I'm hoping for more information before I start making phone calls to tradespeople.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 7:27 PM on November 14, 2006

With the current state of electricity generation in the USA, you'll be emitting less greenhouse gas per load of clothes with the natural gas option.

Of course, the most energy efficient way to dry clothes is to air-dry them. We do ours on indoor racks on really hot days, which helps keep the house cool too.
posted by flabdablet at 7:27 PM on November 14, 2006

Response by poster: (Yup, when it's sunny I take over all the clotheslines in the back courtyard. But with the rainy season upon us, everything is as likely to get soaked as to dry. I have some inside lines, but not enough space to dry clothes for three people.)
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 7:42 PM on November 14, 2006

Goddamn! $600! It was $30 when I got a gas line extension from the hot water heater to the dryer.
It is much cheaper for me to run the dryer on gas than it is for my neighbors to run their electric dryer, but I can't be positive that this isn't simply my having a newer, more efficient dryer.
This is, of course, something that the people at the appliance store should be able to go through with you.
posted by klangklangston at 7:50 PM on November 14, 2006

The costs of either installation will be small compared to the cost of running the dryer over its lifetime. Gas is cheaper to run than electric. If gas is cheaper to install, too, you end up even further ahead.
posted by mendel at 7:52 PM on November 14, 2006

Response by poster: klangklangston, I sure hope you're right! Sounds like gas is the way to go, and I'll definitely ask the appliance store people. (I wouldn't think the appliance store people would do the actual gas line installation, though ...)
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 7:57 PM on November 14, 2006

There is gas line for heat, stove, hot water heater.

Hopefully, there's a line closer to where the dryer will live than the stove? Such as near the hot water heater? Put the dryer there! Then it's just a few hundred at most. And your gas-powered dryer will be much more effective than electric at doing its job.
posted by frogan at 8:12 PM on November 14, 2006

$600 is nuts.. Hmm.. (clicks ClaudiaCenter's profile)

Aha! It's the lawyer price.
posted by Chuckles at 10:41 PM on November 14, 2006

Best answer: $600 seems really high, if you already have gas service elsewhere in your house. (Not that it couldn't be that expensive, if the installation was very complicated for some reason...)

I think other people have made a good point -- making the gas/electric decision based on the up-front cost of the machine, or its installation, is a bit shortsighted. You really need to look at the cost of ownership over however long you're going own the machine (10+ years, probably), and the trends in the cost of fuels.

This guy goes through the calculations that you'd need to do, to compare gas vs. electric dryers (incidentally, he also mentions an approximation of $10 per foot for gas line install charges). You'd want to insert your own numbers for gas and electric costs, and perhaps keep in mind which you think is going to increase in cost more over time.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:12 AM on November 15, 2006

Response by poster: Well, alrighty, I'm not out as much money as I thought, cool! (You see the bad information that lawyers pick up when all's they do is talk to other lawyers.) Thanks, all, and especially Kadin2048, great find.
posted by ClaudiaCenter at 1:36 PM on November 15, 2006

I misread. What I meant was that service technicians and contractors are reputed to charge special prices when they assume customers have more ability to pay; customers who are doctors and lawyers, for example.

Sorry about all that.
posted by Chuckles at 4:14 PM on November 15, 2006

I have some inside lines, but not enough space to dry clothes for three people.

We load up a little collection of foldable floor-standing drying racks, and sit them under the ceiling fan in the lounge room overnight. This uses up less than five cents' worth of electricity and works well.
posted by flabdablet at 5:37 PM on November 15, 2006

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