Gas vs. Electric Furnaces

Whether you’re building a new home or upgrading your current heating system, you have an significant decision to make: Will you install a gas furnace or an electric furnace? Or could a heat pump be the right choice? In order to help you choose, Service Experts would like to provide a few comparisons between gas and electric furnaces, in addition to our thoughts about when you should consider heat pumps. 

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Installation Costs and Requirements 

Gas furnaces are usually higher in price and labor cost for installation than electric furnaces. The equipment itself has additional components that are not needed in an electric unit, which leads to a higher production cost, thus a higher retail price. Also, gas furnaces demand more advanced installation and ventilation systems to properly get rid of combustion gases from the home. This would mean you need more room to accommodate the installation. Plus, if you didn’t have a gas line and appliance hookup, you’ll need to install those as well.  

On the flip side, electric furnaces are quite simple to install, they can fit into a smaller space, and will not necessitate a ventilation system due to the fact that there are no fumes from combustion fuels. That said, they will have to have access to a 240-volt electrical circuit, which isn’t available in some older homes. In this scenario, you will probably want an electrician to install a new receptacle and upgrade your electric panel. 

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Efficiency and Energy Costs 

The significant initial expense of a gas furnace normally provides a financial return rather quickly because it’s much less expensive to operate than an electric furnace. This may surprise you, considering that electric furnaces are likely to achieve higher annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). In the end, it boils down to the lower per-unit expense of natural gas in contrast to electricity, which typically overcomes even a substantial difference in AFUE ratings. 

Naturally, energy costs may be different by region and change over time, thereby making electricity less costly in some areas. It would also makes sense to buy an electric heating system if you currently have or want to install solar panels. Bear in mind, heat pumps typically cost significantly less to operate than electric furnaces, so consider this option if you wish to save with an electric-based heating system. 

Heat pumps run on the same principles as an air conditioning unit, working with refrigerant to transfer heat rather than creating it from a fuel source. As a matter of fact, thanks to a reversing valve, heat pumps can function as efficient air conditioners during the summer, cutting out the need to use an independent cooling system. 

While they are highly efficient in mild temperatures, heat pumps have some negative aspects. Given that they extract heat from cold air, the delivery temperature is far 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 ensures home comfort, it will also increase your utility bills. Cold-climate heat pumps offer more effective performance at low temperatures, and you’ll want to look into this option if you live in a subzero winter climate. 

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Heating Effectiveness 

Without question, gas and electric furnaces are successful at warming your home, however gas furnaces have proven to be more powerful and faster at increasing the temperature of large spaces. Gas furnaces produce heat by burning natural gas, which forms hot air that disperses throughout the home via ductwork. In contrast, electric furnaces use electrical resistance heating, which takes longer to warm up. 

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Fuel Accessibility 

The selection of a gas or electric furnace may come down to what fuels are accessible in your area. Gas furnaces must have access to a natural gas line, which, believe it or not, is not available in every location. Even if gas is accessible, you may not want to pay to install a line, which is understandable. If that is true, an electric furnace or heat pump may be the only feasible option for keeping your home comfortable in the winter. 

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Maintenance and Safety 

Both gas and electric furnaces would need consistent maintenance to assure safe and efficient performance. But gas furnaces demand extra maintenance, like regular inspections and cleaning of the gas burners and heat exchanger. Remember, electric furnaces still need routine filter changes and examinations of the heating elements and blower motor. 

From a safety standpoint, gas furnaces have a moderate risk of carbon monoxide leakage if not maintained or installed well. That’s why you should prioritize standard inspections and in no way attempt a DIY furnace installation. Electric furnaces can’t leak carbon monoxide, but they still need to have professional installation and maintenance to verify safe operation. 

Install a New Gas or Electric Furnace 

For assistance learning the optimum home heating system for you, select Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We can analyze your distinct circumstances and help you make an informed decision about which type of furnace to put in. We’re so sure you’ll be delighted with our services that we provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee! To learn more or to set up a free furnace installation estimate, please contact a Service Experts office near you

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