Gas vs. Electric Furnaces

Regardless if you are building a new house or just replacing your outdated furnace, you have an significant decision to make: Will you install a gas furnace or an electric furnace?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? To assist in your decision-making process, Service Experts would like to provide some comparisons between gas and electric furnaces, as well as offer our thoughts about where heat pumps come into play.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Installation Costs and Specifications

Gas furnaces are generally more expensive in terms of equipment price and the cost of labor for installation than electric furnaces. The equipment alone has additional hardware that are not necessary in an electric furnace, which leads to a higher production cost, thus a higher retail price. Also, gas furnaces require more intricate installation and ventilation systems to properly remove combustion gases from the home. Therefore, you need more space to handle the installation. Plus, if you did not have a gas line and appliance hookup, you’ll need to factor in that expense too.

In contrast, electric furnaces are somewhat simple to install, they won’t need as much space as gas, and do not necessitate a ventilation system because there is no fuel used. However, they will need connectivity to a 240-volt electrical circuit, which isn’t common in some older homes. As such, you may need an electrician to add a new receptacle and upgrade your electric panel.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Efficiency and Energy Costs

The increased initial expense of a gas furnace normally pays for itself rather quickly because it’s often less expensive to operate than an electric furnace. This might be surprising to read, given that electric furnaces can achieve higher annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). In the end, it boils down to the lower per-unit cost of natural gas when compared to electricity, which often overcomes even a substantial difference in AFUE ratings.

Of course, energy costs may be different by region and change over time, thereby making electricity less costly in some areas. We’d also recommend choosing an electric heating system if you are planning to use eco-friendly solar panels on your home. However, heat pumps typically cost considerably less to operate than electric furnaces, so look at this option if you hope to save with an electric-based heating system.

Heat pumps run on the same principles as an ac unit, using refrigerant to move heat rather than creating it from a fuel source. Believe it or not, thanks to a reversing valve, heat pumps can serve as efficient air conditioners throughout the summer, cutting out the need to add an independent 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 considerably lower than that of gas or electric furnaces. Standard heat pumps must also fall back on an inefficient electric resistance heater during bitter-cold periods. While this guarantees home comfort, it will also inflate your monthly energy costs. 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

There’s no doubt that gas and electric furnaces are reliable at warming your home, but gas furnaces are usually more powerful and faster at warming large spaces. Gas furnaces create heat by burning natural gas, which forms hot air that spreads across the home via ductwork. In comparison, electric furnaces use electrical resistance heating, which usually takes more time to ramp up.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Fuel Availability

The selection of a gas or electric furnace could come down to what fuels are accessible in your area. Gas furnaces would need access to a natural gas line, which may or may not be an option. Even if gas is offered in your region, you may find it difficult to afford the cost of installing the line, which is understandable. If that is true, an electric furnace or heat pump may be the only reasonable alternative for keeping your family warm at home during the winter.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Maintenance and Safety

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

In relation to the topic of safety, gas furnaces bring a limited risk of carbon monoxide leaks if not maintained or installed correctly. This is precisely why you should prioritize scheduled inspections and in no way install a furnace without a professional contractor. Electric furnaces can’t leak carbon monoxide, but they still require professional installation and maintenance to ensure safe operation.

Install a New Gas or Electric Furnace

For guidance in determining the best home heating system for your home, turn to Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We can analyze your special circumstances and help you make an informed decision about which type 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 set up a free furnace installation estimate, please contact a Service Experts office near you.

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