Gas vs. Electric Furnaces

Regardless if you are building a new house or just replacing your outdated furnace, you have an key decision to make: Will you install a gas furnace or an electric furnace? Or might a heat pump be the best choice? In order to help you choose, Service Experts would like to provide some 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 itself has additional components that are not required in an electric system, which influences the retail price. Also, gas furnaces call for more complicated installation and ventilation systems to properly remove combustion gases from the home. This means you need more room to handle the installation. Plus, if you don’t already 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 need a ventilation system because there is no fuel used. However, they will need connectivity to a 240-volt electrical circuit, which isn’t always present in some older homes. In this case, you will most likely want an electrician to install a new receptacle and upgrade your electric panel.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Efficiency and Energy Costs

The increased up-front expense of a gas furnace normally provides an ROI rather quickly because it’s considerably 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). At the end of the day, we look at the lower per-unit price of natural gas in contrast to electricity, which typically overcomes even a noteworthy difference in AFUE ratings.

Of course, energy costs may be different by region and change over time, thereby making electricity cheaper in some cases. We’d also recommend choosing an electric heating system if you currently have or want to install solar panels. Bear in mind, heat pumps generally cost much less to operate than electric furnaces, so think about this option if you expect to save with an electric-based heating system.

Heat pumps run on the same principles as an ac unit, using refrigerant to transfer heat rather than creating it from a fuel source. In fact, thanks to a reversing valve, heat pumps can double as efficient air conditioners in the summer, ridding yourself of the need to add an independent cooling system.

Although there are plenty of good things to say about them, heat pumps have some downsides. Due to the fact they extract heat from cold air, the delivery temperature is considerably lower than that of gas or electric furnaces. Conventional heat pumps must also fall back on an inefficient electric resistance heater during bitter-cold periods. While this will assure home comfort, it will also inflate your monthly energy costs. Cold-climate heat pumps produce better performance at low temperatures, so consider this if it regularly drops below freezing where you live.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Heating Effectiveness

There’s no doubt that gas and electric furnaces are effective at keeping your home warm, however gas furnaces have proven to be more powerful and quicker at warming large spaces. Gas furnaces produce heat by burning natural gas, which creates hot air that disperses inside the home via ductwork. In comparison, electric furnaces use electrical resistance heating, and it simply takes longer to get up to speed.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Fuel Supply

The final decision of a gas or electric furnace may boil down to what fuels are accessible in your area. Gas furnaces would need access to a natural gas line, which isn’t available in some places. Even if you can get natural gas, 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 keeping your home comfortable in the winter.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Maintenance and Safety

Both gas and electric furnaces require scheduled maintenance to assure safe and efficient operation. But gas furnaces demand extra maintenance, like regular inspections and cleaning of the gas burners and heat exchanger. Remember, electric furnaces still require scheduled filter changes and inspections of the heating elements and blower motor.

In terms of safety, gas furnaces carry a limited risk of carbon monoxide leaks if not maintained or installed correctly. This is the reason you should prioritize routine inspections and never try to install the furnace on your own. Electric furnaces can’t leak carbon monoxide, but they still require professional installation and maintenance to verify safe operation.

Install a New Gas or Electric Furnace

For help learning the optimum home heating system for you, turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We can assess your distinct circumstances and help you make a smart decision about what type of furnace to put in. We’re so confident you’ll be satisfied with our services that we provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee! To get more information or to schedule a free furnace installation estimate, please contact a Service Experts office near you.

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