ADU Build out in SoCal: Should I go Gas or Just Electric ??

10 Replies

I'm building out an ADU (1bed/1bath w/loft) from a single family house with an attached large 2 car garage in a B+ class neighborhood in San Diego. The existing house has both gas & electric utilities. I'm torn whether to install both gas & electric utilities or just install electrical only. This would require the utility company to install a separate meter for each utility (electric & gas). I'm trying to weigh the cost for the construction vs the rental desirability of the ADU once completed. My choice would affect the selection of the following items: kitchen range, tankless water heater, clothes dryer as well as construction materials. Here are the pros and cons:

PROs:

- The cost to buy gas appliances are more inexpensive than electric appliances; 

-the cost to run gas is substantially cheaper than electric as well. For example, using an electric dryer will cost on average $40/month more than using a gas dryer.

-A & B Class Tenants tend to prefer gas for cooking and heating (although SoCal has very mild winters). Could be a deal breaker for some prospective tenants.

CONs:

- installation of gas pipes and gas lines can increase the construction budget quite a bit. 

-requires a separate meter for gas installed (if units are billed separately).

-Another inspection required other than electric inspection.

-the idea of having one more utility to worry about breaking in my investment rental i.e. gas leak .

Let me know your thoughts. Thanks.


@Victor G.

Even in a B+ neighborhood here in San Diego, I can't see gas vs electric being the deal breaker for a tenant who's going to be moving into an ADU. Even a nice one. I'd choose the easier option.

If you can separate the electric meters and have tenants pay their own electric that may be the way to go.

Also consider going solar for the entire property, upping the rents & marketing "free electricity" 

Originally posted by @Victor G. :

I'm building out an ADU (1bed/1bath w/loft) from a single family house with an attached large 2 car garage in a B+ class neighborhood in San Diego. The existing house has both gas & electric utilities. I'm torn whether to install both gas & electric utilities or just install electrical only. This would require the utility company to install a separate meter for each utility (electric & gas). I'm trying to weigh the cost for the construction vs the rental desirability of the ADU once completed. My choice would affect the selection of the following items: kitchen range, tankless water heater, clothes dryer as well as construction materials. Here are the pros and cons:

PROs:

- The cost to buy gas appliances are more inexpensive than electric appliances; 

-the cost to run gas is substantially cheaper than electric as well. For example, using an electric dryer will cost on average $40/month more than using a gas dryer.

-A & B Class Tenants tend to prefer gas for cooking and heating (although SoCal has very mild winters). Could be a deal breaker for some prospective tenants.

CONs:

- installation of gas pipes and gas lines can increase the construction budget quite a bit. 

-requires a separate meter for gas installed (if units are billed separately).

-Another inspection required other than electric inspection.

-the idea of having one more utility to worry about breaking in my investment rental i.e. gas leak .

Let me know your thoughts. Thanks.



 Your cost for the dryer is way too high. It depends on number of loads, but at 3 loads a week, which would seem high for a small ADU, the cost is around $6 (depending on electricity tier). Gas is cheaper if not supplemented by solar, but with a total cost of $6/month for the electric dryer it is not very significant.

There are some very fine electric stoves.   Some can boil water way quicker the high end gas stoves.  I would take a good induction stove over a good gas stove.  Boils faster, easier to clean, incredibly consistent temperature.  

I would go all electric and place a solar roof.  green, smart, economically over the long term (does have a higher initial cost). 

good luck

@Dan Heuschele

Thank you for your input. Awesome response.

Good point on the dryer usage. There wouldn’t be a whole lot of loads for one or two people.

I, too want to get a induction stove. I think they’re incredible...Pricey, but incredible.

@Victor G.

Rather than purchasing your solar system outright, you can also go solar for nothing out of pocket and you'll still have a significantly lower monthly payment than if you were solely relying on SDGE.

By going the PPA or lease route, most distributors will also provide a kwh production guarantee & maintenance of the system for the length of the term (typically between 20-30 years)

If you purchase, you're usually relying solely on the manufacturers warranties for the panels & inverter. 

@Victor G. Some really good considerations here. All of which I would consider. If you do decide to go gas I believe you can forgo adding a separate meter. Of course this would mean you would be paying for the gas. But this is of least priority to me compared to having the tenant pay electric and water. Just build it into your rent. 

My vote would be all electric though. 

I would add my vote for all electric + solar, however I've had issues getting an electric water heater to comply w/ title 24 energy calculations. I could only get a heat pump electric water heater to work which are a more expensive (but really really efficient). You should talk to whoever is doing your title 24 report and have them plug in some electric water heaters and see what they say.

@Victor G.  A little late to the post, but I also vote for all electric. All electric is the future and I would think that the largest decision point of which to go with (I think operating cost is pretty comparable) is the tenant/owner aversion to electric stoves. I agree with you on the induction stove. They're a little pricier, but they converted me from thinking that a gas stove is anywhere close to as good as electric. 

I prefer gas when available. The exception to that is the stove for renters, since I just use a traditional electric coil, and the dryer, since most renters that own appliances have electric dryers. In Southern California it probably doesn't matter, but gas heat is far more comfortable (and faster) than electric, despite not being quite as efficient. Gas also reduces the necessary load on your electric panel; I've been able to avoid having to upgrade a few panels on houses by incorporating gas water heaters and gas furnaces.

As for cooking, no real chefs use anything but gas given a choice. You're not going to see Giada or Wolfgang cooking on induction. 

California , go electric and perhaps you can get solar. I would not do induction in this type of rental. I love them but for a renter they have to change out their pots and that will eliminate some people.  Also they cost alot more then other types of electric stoves.