When it comes to keeping your home warm during the winter months, there’s no denying the importance of having a reliable and efficient furnace. But with so many options on the market, choosing the right type of furnace can be daunting. Two common options that homeowners tend to consider are electric and gas furnaces. In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between the two and help you decide whether a gas or electric furnace might be best suited for installation in your home.
Electric Furnaces: How They Work
As the name suggests, electric furnaces rely on electricity to generate heat. This type of forced air heating system works by using electrical resistance and electric heating elements to generate heat, which is then used to warm the air that will be circulated throughout your home. The heating component of an electric furnace is typically made of a material like nickel or tungsten, which is capable of withstanding high levels of heat.
Pros of Electric Furnaces
- Energy efficiency: Electric furnaces have a high efficiency rating, with up to 100% of the electricity used being converted into heat. This means that an electric furnace is more energy efficient than a natural gas furnace, which can lose heat through venting and combustion.
- Longer service life: An electric furnace has a longer service life compared to a gas furnace, with an expected lifespan of around 20 to 30 years.
- Safety: Electric furnaces do not produce carbon monoxide, a deadly gas that can be emitted by gas furnaces. This means that electric furnaces are safer for your home and family.
- Simplicity: Electric furnaces are relatively simple in design, with no need for a flue, chimney, or venting system. This makes them easier to install and less expensive.
- Environmentally friendly: Electric furnaces have zero emissions, making them a cleaner heating option for the environment.
Cons of Electric Furnaces
- Higher electricity bills: While it has increased energy efficiency over a gas furnace, an electric furnace generally has a higher operating cost vs. gas furnace equipment. Natural gas is typically more affordable than electricity, so an electric furnace leads to a higher energy bill.
- Longer heating time: Electric furnaces take longer to heat up than gas furnaces. This means that they may take longer to reach the desired temperature, leading to discomfort and requiring more energy usage.
- Vulnerable to power outages: Electric furnaces are vulnerable to power outages, which can leave you without heat during cold weather. This can be especially dangerous for vulnerable populations such as the elderly or those with medical conditions.
Gas Furnaces: How They Work
Gas furnaces, on the other hand, use a combustion process to generate heat. This involves burning natural gas to produce heat, adding heat to the air via a metal heat exchanger, and then using a blower to circulate warm air throughout your home.
Pros of Gas Furnaces
- Powerful heating: Gas furnaces provide quick and powerful heating. They can warm up large spaces in a matter of minutes, making them ideal for cold winter months. Gas heat tends to heat your home more quickly than electric furnaces, which is especially important on very cold days.
- Cost-effective: Compared to electric furnace options, gas furnaces are cost-effective in the long run. While the initial installation cost may be higher than other heating systems, the overall operating cost is lower due to the lower energy costs of natural gas compared to electricity.
- Reliable: Gas furnaces tend to be very reliable, with most models lasting for around 15-20 years.
- Improved home value: Investing in a gas furnace can significantly increase the desirability of your home when selling. Gas furnaces offer several advantages over electric furnaces that home buyers appreciate. Overall, investing in a gas furnace sets your home apart from others on the market and makes it more enticing to buyers.
Cons of Gas Furnaces
- Environmental impact: Gas furnaces burn natural gas, a non-renewable fossil fuel that releases carbon dioxide and other harmful greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere. This not only contributes to climate change but also impacts the air quality in your home and community.
- Noise pollution: A gas furnace can be quite noisy when they are running, especially an older gas unit. This can be a nuisance for homeowners who value a peaceful home environment.
- Limited lifespan: A gas furnace’s lifespan isn’t as long as that of an electric furnace. With gas systems, service life is roughly half of an electric furnace.
- Higher installation costs: While gas furnaces are cheaper to operate over the long term, they can be quite expensive to install, especially if you need to have a gas line installed.
- Safety risks: Unlike electric furnace equipment, a gas furnace carries the risk of producing carbon monoxide. A carbon monoxide leak from a gas heating system can result in carbon monoxide poisoning, which is why it’s important to have a carbon monoxide detector fitted in your home.
Electric or Gas Furnace – Which Should You Choose?
Ultimately, the type of furnace that’s right for you will depend on a variety of factors, including your budget, the size of your home, and your energy preferences. If you’re looking for a furnace that’s simple to install and operate and doesn’t require access to a gas line, an electric furnace may be the best option for you. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a furnace that’s more cost-effective over the long term, a gas furnace may be a better choice.
At Star Heating & Cooling, we offer a variety of gas and electric furnaces to suit different needs and budgets. We can help you choose the best new electric or gas furnace for your home. Contact us today to learn more about our furnace installation services!