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Regardless if you are building a new house or just replacing your outdated furnace, you have an important decision to make: Will you install a gas furnace or an electric furnace? Or might a heat pump be the best option for you? In order to help you choose, Service Experts would like to offer several 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 Requirements

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

In contrast, electric furnaces are relatively 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. Having said that, they will require a connection to a 240-volt electrical circuit, which isn’t always present in some older homes. In this case, you will probably need an electrician to install a new receptacle and upgrade your electric panel.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Efficiency and Energy Costs

The increased initial price of a gas furnace normally provides an ROI rather quickly because it’s considerably less expensive to operate than an electric furnace. This might be surprising to read, considering that electric furnaces are likely to achieve higher annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). It all comes down to the lower per-unit price of natural gas compared to electricity, which generally overcomes even a substantial difference in AFUE ratings.

Keep in mind, energy costs may be different by region and change over time, thereby making electricity less costly 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. At the same time, heat pumps normally cost considerably 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, utilizing refrigerant to move heat rather than producing it from a fuel source. As a matter of fact, thanks to a reversing valve, heat pumps can serve as efficient air conditioners throughout the summer, eliminating the need to use an independent cooling system.

Although there are plenty of good things to say about them, 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. Standard heat pumps must also fall back on a less than efficient 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 provide 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 effective at heating homes, however gas furnaces tend to be more powerful and faster at warming large spaces. Gas furnaces generate heat by burning natural gas, which creates hot air that spreads across the home via ductwork. Alternatively, electric furnaces use electrical resistance heating, which takes longer to warm up.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Fuel Availability

The choice of a gas or electric furnace may come down to what fuels are obtainable in your area. Gas furnaces require access to a natural gas line, which may or may not be an option. Even if gas is offered in your region, you may not want to pay to install a line, which is understandable. In these cases, an electric furnace or heat pump may be the only viable choice for ensuring your home is cozy this coming winter.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Maintenance and Safety

Both gas and electric furnaces would need consistent maintenance to ensure safe and efficient performance. But gas furnaces require added maintenance, including regular inspections and cleaning of the gas burners and heat exchanger. Remember, electric furnaces still need regular filter changes and examinations of the heating elements and blower motor.

In terms of safety, gas furnaces bring a moderate risk of carbon monoxide leakage if not serviced or installed properly. This is precisely why you should prioritize scheduled inspections and definitely not 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 performance.

Install a New Gas or Electric Furnace

For guidance in choosing the ideal home heating system for you, rely on Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We can evaluate your special circumstances and help you make a smart 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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