A frequent question we receive at Belco Electric is one concerning replacing a gas stove with an electric range or vice versa. Often people may be buying a new home and are in the habit of cooking on one type of stove only to find that the opposite and unfamiliar type currently exists in their new kitchen. Well don’t worry, all is not lost!
Let’s look first at replacing an electric stove with a gas stove. A gas stove requires both electricity and gas to function properly. Gas stoves no longer rely on a pilot light to ignite the burners. The ignition source comes from an electric ignitor located at each burner. In addition, most gas stoves will have an electric clock and many are what is referred to as “dual fuel” stoves that have gas cook tops and an integrated electric oven for baking. This means that, in addition to a supply of gas, you will still need electricity available for your gas stove.
The conversion is fairly simple but the services of a licensed electrician or electrical contractor should be employed. Only a few steps are required to modify the electrical circuit. In almost all cases, you will be able to use the existing electrical wire from the circuit breaker panel to the stove location since the requirements for the gas stove will be significantly less than that of the old electric stove. The conversion will require replacement of the two pole circuit breaker with a single pole circuit breaker to provide the 120 volts required by the gas stove. In addition, the large 240 volt electrical receptacle will need to be replaced with a standard 120 volt receptacle for the gas stove to plug in to. In most situations, the entire job can be completed in not much more than an hour with minimal materials required. Of course, you will need to hire a licensed plumber to install a gas line unless one already exists at the desired location.
The change to an electric stove is a bit more involved as the existing electrical wiring for the 120 volts required by the gas stove will not support the higher electrical power demand of the electric stove. This type of conversion will require a new, larger electrical wire to be run from the electrical panel to the stove location. A new two-pole circuit breaker will also need to be installed in the breaker panel and a new 240 volt receptacle will need to be installed at the stove location. A licensed electrician is definitely required for this type of electrical installation. Depending on the distance from the electrical panel to the location of the stove, this project could take from as little as an hour to several hours to complete. In addition, a licensed plumber should be retained to ensure proper capping of the gas line to prevent any leaks from occurring.
In any case, you are certainly not stuck with having to settle with one type of stove or the other. Replacing the stove to the desired type is a task that can be accomplished but it does require a little planning before you purchase your new appliance. Beware of electrical service providers that work from national price books or “flat rate pricing” in order to come up with a cost to complete this type of project. Their price will almost always be more costly than a service provider that gives you a custom bid based on your specific situation. The one-size-fits-all approach rarely fits anyone very well.
If you have any questions on how to proceed with replacement of your stove, please visit our “Ask an Expert Electrician” page and for help with this or any other type of electrical installation in Atlanta, call us at (770) 455-4556.