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Is a Gas or Electric Furnace Best for My Home?

If it’s time to choose a new furnace for your Central Indiana home, the first decision you make concerns how you will heat your home. Natural gas and electric heating are the most common choices, and there are many gas or electric furnace models to consider once you choose. Is one better than the other?

In our newest blog post, Star Heating & Cooling explains the differences between a natural gas furnace and an electric furnace so you can make an informed decision for your family.

Choosing Gas or Electric Furnace Equipment

Before you consider the specifics of a gas or electric furnace system, first look at the fuel sources available in your home. While pretty much every home in Central Indiana has access to electricity, what about natural gas? If you don’t have an existing natural gas connection, is it possible to connect and install the gas piping necessary to operate a gas furnace? Is this extra expense within your budget? If you only have electricity, can your current electric service support a large appliance like a furnace or will electrical upgrades be needed?

Answering these questions first before you choose a gas or electric furnace is important, as installing or upgrading existing services can add considerable cost to your heating system installation project. Most homeowners choose to go with a furnace type their home can currently support. If your home is all-electric, an electric furnace is your only option unless you’re willing to cover the cost of connecting to natural gas. In homes where natural gas is available, homeowners typically choose natural gas furnaces, as natural gas utility expenses are generally lower than electricity.

Gas vs. Electric Furnaces

To help you decide between a gas or electric heating system, let’s take a look at how each type compares when it comes to factors most important to Indiana homeowners.

Initial Cost

When it comes to installation costs and the price to purchase the new furnace unit, an electric furnace is typically going to be more affordable to buy versus a natural gas heating model. 

Energy Efficiency

If conserving energy and reducing your household’s emissions is important to you, you probably want to choose the most efficient furnace available. 

  • Electric furnaces are up to 100% efficient as they don’t waste any energy through the heating process. All electricity consumed by the furnace is converted to heat energy for the home. 
  • While some fossil fuels may be used to generate electricity depending on your provider, using an electric furnace does not result in any direct fossil fuel consumption.
  • Gas furnaces start at 80% AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) and go up to about 98.5%. Even when using the most energy-efficient gas furnace model available, some energy is going to be wasted through the heating process. 
  • Natural gas is a non-renewable resource. Using a natural gas furnace will generate carbon emissions and contribute to reducing the available energy supply. 

Operating Cost

While electric furnaces are more energy-efficient than natural gas models, they aren’t always the cheapest to run. Electric utility rates are typically higher than natural gas rates. Natural gas furnaces can heat spaces faster than electric models, using less energy in the process. If keeping costs low over the lifespan of your new gas or electric furnace is a priority, a natural gas furnace is generally recommended.


Natural gas furnaces have more working parts that require maintenance and the combustion process can naturally cause corrosion to components. Electric systems require less maintenance and don’t experience the same level of wear and tear with normal operation. For these reasons, electric furnaces typically last longer than a gas unit will.

  • Gas furnaces last 15 to 20 years on average.
  • Electric furnaces last 20 to 30 years on average.

Furnace Installation in Central Indiana

Overall, both gas and electric furnaces will be effective at providing your home with the safety and comfort provided by heat. Whether you choose a gas or electric furnace, Star Heating & Cooling can outfit your home with the best heating equipment for your needs and preferences. Contact us today to learn more about installing a gas or electric furnace in your home and receive a quote for installation.