Gas vs Electric Furnaces: Which is Right for You?
Wondering which makes a better integration to your home heating system?
If you settled on the idea of furnaces, you are most likely choosing between gas furnaces and electric furnaces. Both heating systems are suitable options. However, gas and electric furnaces are not the most energy-efficient or environmentally friendly choices.
More sustainable solutions may fit your heating needs. Still, if you already have a furnace installation in your home, we can help you figure out which one you have. We can also show you more efficient alternatives that may help you understand the different types of heating systems available.
Read on, and you might find another heating system you like in contrast to your current installation.
Types of Furnace System
Before we discuss the different heaters, let’s talk about the different types of furnaces that provide your home with warmth to fight against cold climates or freezing temperatures outside.
Unlike other home heating devices, all kinds of furnaces generate heat through combustion. A gas or electric furnace does not work by altering the surrounding air’s temperatures by absorbing ambient heat. A furnace instead creates its own heat by burning natural gases or coal, distributing heat as its byproduct.
Currently, there are four types of furnaces:
- Natural Gas Furnace
- Oil Furnace
- Electric Furnace
- Propane Furnace
In America, more than half the infrastructures, be it residential homes or commercial establishments, feature varying furnaces.
However, in states like Utah, temperatures remain mild to moderately hot. A furnace might only come in handy during colder weather like the fall or winter months.
Furnace VS Air Conditioning
An air conditioner might make a more sensible choice for homes in Utah. While air conditioning systems only cool air and don’t produce or facilitate heat independently, they are typically linked to a furnace or come with heat pumps built into their system.
If you can’t live without a heating system, a heat pump might make a good choice for your home.
Furnace VS Heat Pump
A furnace and a heat pump are almost always compared, with heat pumps coming out on top based on efficiency. Heat pumps make excellent choices for versatile thermal management. By using a heat exchanger, a heat pump can absorb natural heat particles or generate heat energy to facilitate higher temperatures in and out of enclosed spaces.
Heat pumps may come at higher initial costs, and there are high-efficiency furnaces you can opt for if you don’t need optional cooling features.
Gas VS Electric Furnace: Which Is Right for You?
Now that we have discussed your options let’s talk about the two most common heating installations in America. A gas furnace is the country’s most common home heating installation, with the electric furnace trailing behind a considerable margin.
You might wonder, does having a gas or electric furnace make that much difference? The answer is yes. Whether on initial or monthly costs, their differences are evident.
What’s the Difference Between a Gas or Electric Furnace?
The short answer:
- A gas furnace costs more initially, but its more basic process increases your energy cost savings later.
- An electric furnace’s more affordable initial costs make it seem more cost-effective, but perpetually increasing electrical prices will cost you more.
Are you surprised? Well, so were most of us. The bottom line lies within your priorities. An electric furnace leaves less carbon footprint but isn’t always the most cost-effective. A gas furnace is arguably the least sustainable of any heating and cooling system but proves more effective and affordable these days.
Additionally, if we look at the bigger picture, doesn’t electricity burn fossil fuels that are more harmful to the environment than natural gases?
A natural gas furnace is a more classical installation of furnaces. Its older counterparts burn through gas faster and produce less heating output, making them much less efficient.
However, newer natural gas furnaces have achieved a 98% conversion rate. To date, gas furnaces are the most popular choice in America, with a vast majority of households nationwide utilizing one.
Gas Furnaces: PROS
- Affordable utility costs
- Space-saving indoor handler installations
- Cleaner burning fuel
- Less harmful byproducts
- Quick heating process
Gas Furnaces: CONS
- Costly installations
- Carbon dioxide emissions
- Ducted systems
- Potential air and energy loss
Electric furnaces cost cheaper to procure and install. However, after a few months of utility bills, users begin to see the price they are paying for more efficient and sustainable cooling. Electric furnaces work without a gas unit to power their heating process. The energy efficiency of an electric furnace is thanks to an electric ignition that triggers its electric systems, lessening environmental impact and carbon monoxide poisoning risks while efficiently fighting against cold winters. It makes more sense to think an electric furnace is a more energy-efficient model than a traditional furnace. Let’s not forget that electricity burns fossil fuel to achieve your home’s desired temperature, which impacts the environment greatly.
Electric furnaces might make more sensible options for your home if electricity doesn’t come at as high a cost. The high efficiency can cost users, but it makes for an easier integration than other HVAC equipment. The right furnace also won’t raise your bills as high during harsh winters.
Electric Furnaces: PROS
- Less expensive installations
- Longer lifespan
- More user-friendly
- Easier to clean and maintain
Electric Furnaces: CONS
- More expensive operational costs
- Dryer ambient heat
- Power outages affect your home’s heating and cooling
Electric Furnace VS Gas Furnace: Energy Efficiency
When it comes to energy-efficient gas and electric furnaces, the general rule of thumb is the newer the model, the more efficient it may be. Gas units may not be the most energy-efficient models, but some come with a heat exchanger that uses less fuel and energy to produce warmth. Gas systems with nearly 100% conversion rates are considered as efficient as any form of electric heating.
Electric heaters are always considered energy efficient, with an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating of 100%. This perfect rating is based on the fact no electric furnace directly burns various fuels, but the bigger picture remains. All electric appliances run on gas or fuel, and an electric furnace is no exception.
Additionally, carbon monoxide emissions come from both gas and electric furnaces. While gas furnaces emit more natural gases, carbon monoxide escapes through the exhaust pipe. It is hazardous for a gas furnace to suffer from a gas leak due to more components linked to combustion. Even a small flame is enough to set off a leak in your gas line. Don’t worry. All furnaces (either electric or gas furnaces) with natural gas lines or exhausts typically come with a carbon monoxide detector that not only alerts you of excessive harmful emissions but may also indicate a leak in the system. Gas furnaces give off an artificial smell that manufacturers add to the gas to help users know when there’s a leak. Electric furnaces don’t typically deal with gas but feature gas lines and pipes for emissions, and you will also be able to tell whether there’s a leak or not.
Maintaining your heating and cooling systems is essential for both safety and practicality.
Energy efficiency may be moot when things aren’t well-maintained. Even if you had an Energy Star-rated air handler perfect for a warmer climate, your new furnace might have less efficient systems over time.
Suppose we could put our two cents in and weigh on the great debate ourselves. We want to offer you the thought of upgrading your systems to more innovative and efficient solutions. It would help to look into electric heat pumps before opting for another furnace. They make more efficient purchases by leaps and bounds. While they also feature a gas line for minimal emissions, each comes with its own carbon monoxide detectors to ensure your safety.
Heating System Performance Factor (HSPF)
If you want to know how efficient your furnace is, ask about its Heating System Performance Factor (HSPF) when you buy it. HSPF ratings indicate how efficiently heaters produce hot air against lower temperatures. A new unit with excellent HSPF ratings may be working correctly for now. However, units that aren’t regularly cleaned can deteriorate much faster, and their fall from grace won’t come cheap. Replacing a flickering pilot light is one thing, but servicing major components like internal heat exchanger remediation will cost you. You won’t want to put it off either, as major malfunctioning parts lead to energy loss causing higher energy costs. Malfunctions will cost you more the longer they are left untreated. Call an HVAC professional immediately.
Regular Maintenance and Repairs for Your Furnace System
It would be best if you didn’t hesitate, considering how much regular maintenance and cleaning will cost. Regularly cleaning and tuning up your heaters will cost you less in the long run.
Reliable Heaters and Air Conditioning Service
You don’t have to search high and low when things get heated. There are prominent and reliable professionals you can reach in Utah.
One Stop Heating and Air Conditioning
Call One Stop Heating and Air Conditioning for your furnace repair and furnace maintenance needs. We’ve got the stuff if you want to hire reliable contractors for a newer heating system installation!
Don’t forget to book an appointment online for hassle-free inspections and estimates.
Call our hotline to ensure your systems are working properly or for any immediate concerns.