Gas vs. Electric Furnaces

If you’re dealing with new construction or simply replacing your old heating system, you have an important decision to make: Which type of furnace should you buy—gas or electric? Or could a heat pump be the best option for you? To assist in your decision-making process, Service Experts would like to share a few comparisons between gas and electric furnaces, along with our thoughts about the ideal scenarios for using a heat pump.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Installation Costs and Specifications

Gas furnaces are generally higher in price and labor cost for installation than electric furnaces. The equipment alone has more hardware that are not needed in an electric furnace, which leads to a higher production cost, thus a higher retail price. In addition, gas furnaces call for more complex installation and ventilation systems to safely remove combustion gases from the home. This means you need more space to allow for the installation. Plus, if you don’t already have a gas line and appliance hookup, you’ll need to include that cost into your decision as well.

On the flip side, electric furnaces are quite simple to install, they won’t need as much space as gas, and do not need a ventilation system because there is no fuel used. However, they will require connectivity to a 240-volt electrical circuit, which isn’t always present in some older homes. As such, you will most likely need an electrician to add a new receptacle and upgrade your electric panel.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Efficiency and Energy Costs

The significant up-front price of a gas furnace normally pays for itself rather quickly because it’s often less expensive to run than an electric furnace. This may surprise you, given that electric furnaces will often achieve higher annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). At the end of the day, we look at the lower per-unit expense of natural gas compared to electricity, which generally overcomes even a noteworthy difference in AFUE ratings.

Of course, energy costs may be different by region and change over time, making electricity less pricey in some instances. It also makes sense to choose an electric heating system if you are planning to use eco-friendly solar panels on your home. However, heat pumps typically cost much less to operate than electric furnaces, so look at this option if you expect to save with an electric-based heating system.

Heat pumps function on the same principles as an air conditioning unit, using refrigerant to move heat rather than creating it from a fuel source. For that matter, thanks to a reversing valve, heat pumps can act as efficient air conditioners in the summer, ridding yourself of the need to install a separate cooling system.

While they are highly efficient in mild temperatures, heat pumps have some negative aspects. Given that they generate heat from cold air, the delivery temperature is considerably lower than that of gas or electric furnaces. Standard heat pumps must also rely on an inefficient electric resistance heater during especially cold days. While this guarantees home comfort, it will also increase your utility bills. Cold-climate heat pumps offer improved 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 heating homes, however gas furnaces are likely to be more powerful and quicker at increasing the temperature of large spaces. Gas furnaces create heat by burning natural gas, which creates hot air that spreads across 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 choice of a gas or electric furnace may boil down to what fuels are accessible in your community. Gas furnaces require access to a natural gas line, which may or may not be an option. 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 family warm at home during the winter.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Maintenance and Safety

Both gas and electric furnaces need consistent maintenance to assure safe and efficient functionality. But gas furnaces will need added maintenance, including regular inspections and cleaning of the gas burners and heat exchanger. Of course, electric furnaces still require routine filter changes and examinations of the heating elements and blower motor.

From a safety standpoint, gas furnaces bring a moderate risk of carbon monoxide leakage if not taken care of or installed well. That’s why you should prioritize standard inspections and in no way install a furnace without a professional contractor. Electric furnaces can’t leak carbon monoxide, but they still should have professional installation and maintenance to guarantee safe performance.

Install a New Gas or Electric Furnace

For help learning the ideal home heating system for your family, rely on Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We can evaluate your unique circumstances and help you make an educated decision about what kind of furnace to install. We’re so convinced you’ll be satisfied with our services that we provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee! To get more information or to arrange a free furnace installation estimate, please contact a Service Experts office near you.

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