Gas vs. Electric Furnaces

If you’re dealing with new construction or simply replacing your old heating system, you have an key decision to make: Should you buy a gas furnace or shift to an electric unit? Or would a heat pump be the best choice? To assist in your decision-making process, Service Experts would like to provide a few comparisons between gas and electric furnaces, in addition to our thoughts about where heat pumps come into play.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Installation Costs and Needs

Gas furnaces are usually more expensive to purchase and install than electric furnaces. The equipment by itself has additional hardware that are not used in an electric furnace, which influences the retail price. In addition, gas furnaces require more complicated installation and ventilation systems to safely remove combustion gases from the home. This means you need more room to handle the installation. Plus, if you did not have a gas line and appliance hookup, you’ll need to install those as well.

In contrast, electric furnaces are somewhat simple to install, they won’t need as much space as gas, and don’t require a ventilation system because no combustion fuels are involved. Having said that, they will require a connection to a 240-volt electrical circuit, which isn’t common in some older homes. In this scenario, you will probably need an electrician to add a new receptacle and upgrade your electric panel.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Efficiency and Energy Costs

The higher initial price of a gas furnace usually provides a financial return rather quickly because it’s much less expensive to run than an electric furnace. This might be surprising to read, considering that electric furnaces will often achieve higher annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). It all comes down to the lower per-unit cost of natural gas in contrast to electricity, which typically overcomes even a substantial difference in AFUE ratings.

Keep in mind, energy costs vary by region and change over time, which can make electricity cheaper in some areas. We’d also recommend choosing an electric heating system if you are planning to use eco-friendly solar panels on your home. Bear in mind, heat pumps normally cost significantly less to operate than electric furnaces, so think about this option if you wish to save with an electric-based heating system.

Heat pumps operate on the same principles as an ac unit, using refrigerant to transfer heat rather than generating it from a fuel source. Believe it or not, thanks to a reversing valve, heat pumps can double as efficient air conditioners during the summer, bypassing the need to use an independent cooling system.

While they are highly efficient in mild temperatures, heat pumps have some drawbacks. Because they generate heat from cold air, the delivery temperature is considerably lower than the gas or electric furnaces. Traditional heat pumps must also rely on an inefficient electric resistance heater during bitter-cold periods. While this guarantees home comfort, it will also inflate your monthly energy costs. Cold-climate heat pumps offer more effective performance at low temperatures, so think about this potential option if you live in an area that can experience bitter cold winter days.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Heating Effectiveness

Without question, gas and electric furnaces are reliable at warming your home, however gas furnaces are usually more powerful and quicker at increasing the temperature of large spaces. Gas furnaces produce heat by burning natural gas, which produces hot air that circulates across the home via ductwork. In contrast, electric furnaces use electrical resistance heating, which takes longer to warm up.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Fuel Availability

The selection of a gas or electric furnace could boil down to what fuels are accessible in your region. Gas furnaces require access to a natural gas line, which isn’t available in some places. Even if gas is accessible, you may be unable to afford the cost of installing the gas line, which is understandable. In these cases, an electric furnace or heat pump may be the only feasible option for ensuring your home is cozy this coming winter.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Maintenance and Safety

Both gas and electric furnaces should have consistent maintenance to ensure safe and efficient operation. But gas furnaces require extra maintenance, including regular inspections and cleaning of the gas burners and heat exchanger. Remember, electric furnaces still require routine filter changes and examinations of the heating elements and blower motor.

In relation to the topic of safety, gas furnaces have a moderate risk of carbon monoxide leakage if not maintained or installed appropriately. This is the reason you should prioritize routine inspections and definitely not try to install the furnace on your own. Electric furnaces can’t leak carbon monoxide, but they still should have professional installation and maintenance to ensure safe performance.

Install a New Gas or Electric Furnace

For help figuring out the best home heating system for your family, turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We can assess your special circumstances and help you make a smart decision about what type of furnace to install. We’re so confident you’ll be happy with our services that we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee! For more information or to schedule a free furnace installation estimate, please contact a Service Experts office near you.

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