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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Regardless if you are building a new house or just replacing your outdated furnace, you have an important decision to make: Should you buy a gas furnace or shift to an electric unit?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 best option for you? To assist in your decision-making process, Service Experts would like to offer some comparisons between gas and electric furnaces, along with our thoughts about when you should consider heat pumps.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Installation Costs and Requirements

Gas furnaces are generally more expensive in terms of equipment price and the cost of labor for installation than electric furnaces. The equipment by itself has additional components that are not needed in an electric system, which influences the retail price. In addition, gas furnaces demand more advanced installation and ventilation systems to properly remove combustion gases from the home. This would mean 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.

On the other hand, electric furnaces are somewhat simple to install, they require less space, and will not need a ventilation system because there is no fuel used. That said, they will have to have access to a 240-volt electrical circuit, which isn’t common in some older homes. In this scenario, you will probably want an electrician to add 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 typically provides an ROI rather quickly because it’s much less expensive to run than an electric furnace. This may surprise you, 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 expense of natural gas compared to electricity, which often overcomes even a substantial difference in AFUE ratings.

Naturally, energy costs may be different by region and change over time, thereby making electricity cheaper 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. Bear in mind, heat pumps typically cost significantly less to operate than electric furnaces, so think about this option if you wish to save with an electric-based heating system.

Heat pumps run on the same principles as an air conditioner, using refrigerant to shift heat rather than creating it from a fuel source. In fact, thanks to a reversing valve, heat pumps can function as efficient air conditioners during the summer, bypassing the need to use an independent cooling system.

While they are highly efficient in mild temperatures, heat pumps have some drawbacks. Given that they draw out heat from cold air, the delivery temperature is much lower than that of gas or electric furnaces. Traditional heat pumps must also rely on a less than efficient electric resistance heater during especially cold days. While this ensures home comfort, it will also increase your utility bills. Cold-climate heat pumps offer 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

Without question, gas and electric furnaces are reliable at warming your home, however gas furnaces are likely to be more powerful and faster at increasing the temperature of large spaces. Gas furnaces generate heat by burning natural gas, which produces hot air that circulates across the home via ductwork. In contrast, electric furnaces use electrical resistance heating, which takes longer to warm up.

Gas vs. Electric Furnace Fuel Availability

The final decision of a gas or electric furnace may well come down to what fuels are available in your region. 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 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 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 assure safe and efficient operation. But gas furnaces demand additional maintenance, such as regular inspections and cleaning of the gas burners and heat exchanger. Remember, electric furnaces still should have scheduled filter changes and examinations of the heating elements and blower motor.

In relation to the topic of safety, gas furnaces carry a small risk of carbon monoxide leaks if not maintained or installed appropriately. That’s why you should prioritize scheduled inspections and never 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 operation.

Install a New Gas or Electric Furnace

For guidance in figuring out the best home heating system for your family, rely on Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning. We can analyze your unique circumstances and help you make an informed decision about what type of furnace to purchase. We’re so convinced you’ll be delighted with our services that we provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee! For more information or to arrange a free furnace installation estimate, please contact a Service Experts office near you.

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