Gas vs. Electric Furnaces

Regardless if you are building a new house or just replacing your outdated furnace, you have an important decision to make: Should you buy a gas furnace or shift to an electric unit? Or might a heat pump be the right choice? In order to help you choose, Service Experts would like to provide some comparisons between gas and electric furnaces, in addition to our thoughts about the ideal scenarios for using a heat pump.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Installation Costs and Needs

Gas furnaces are typically more expensive to purchase and install than electric furnaces. The equipment alone has additional parts that are not needed in an electric model, which leads to a higher production cost, thus a higher retail price. Also, gas furnaces call for more intricate installation and ventilation systems to safely remove combustion gases from the home. This means you need more room to allow for the installation. Plus, if you did not have a gas line and appliance hookup, you’ll need to include that cost into your decision as well.

In contrast, electric furnaces are quite simple to install, they won’t need as much space as gas, and don’t necessitate a ventilation system because there is no fuel used. However, they will have to have a connection to a 240-volt electrical circuit, which isn’t always present in some older homes. In this case, you may need an electrician to set up a new receptacle and upgrade your electric panel.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Efficiency and Energy Costs

The increased initial cost of a gas furnace typically provides a financial return rather quickly because it’s often 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). It all comes down to the lower per-unit expense of natural gas compared to electricity, which typically overcomes even a significant difference in AFUE ratings.

Keep in mind, energy costs vary by region and change over time, thereby making electricity cheaper in some cases. It also makes sense to choose an electric heating system if you have or want to add solar panels to your home. At the same time, heat pumps typically cost considerably less to operate than electric furnaces, so think about this option if you wish to save with an electric-based heating system.

Heat pumps function on the same principles as an air conditioning unit, working with refrigerant to transfer heat rather than generating it from a fuel source. For that matter, thanks to a reversing valve, heat pumps can serve as efficient air conditioners in the summer, eliminating the need to use a separate cooling system.

While efficiency and cost are two of the positives, heat pumps have some downsides. Due to the fact they draw out heat from cold air, the delivery temperature is much lower than that of gas or electric furnaces. Standard heat pumps must also fall back on a less than efficient electric resistance heater during cold snaps. While this ensures home comfort, it also raises your energy bills. Cold-climate heat pumps produce 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

Both gas and electric furnaces are reliable at warming your home, however gas furnaces are likely to be more powerful and quicker at heating large spaces. Gas furnaces generate heat by burning natural gas, which forms hot air that circulates throughout the home via ductwork. Alternatively, electric furnaces use electrical resistance heating, which usually takes more time to ramp up.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Fuel Availability

The choice of a gas or electric furnace may well come down to what fuels are available in your region. Gas furnaces would need access to a natural gas line, which, believe it or not, is not available in every location. Even if gas is offered in your region, you may be unable to afford the cost of installing the gas line, which is understandable. As such, an electric furnace or heat pump may be the only feasible solution for keeping your family warm at home during the winter.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Maintenance and Safety

Both gas and electric furnaces require consistent maintenance to guarantee 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 scheduled filter changes and inspections of the heating elements and blower motor.

In terms of safety, gas furnaces have a limited risk of carbon monoxide leaks if not serviced or installed appropriately. This is the reason you should prioritize standard inspections and never attempt a DIY furnace installation. 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 assistance determining the ideal home heating system for you, select Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We can analyze your unique circumstances and help you make an educated decision about what kind of furnace to install. We’re so confident you’ll be happy with our services that we offer 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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