Are you a homeowner looking to install or replace a heating system? A working furnace or heating system is essential to staying comfortable during the winter months.
About half of U.S. households use natural gas to heat their homes, but electric furnaces and heat pumps are increasingly popular as well. There are advantages and disadvantages to each option.
Both gas and electric furnaces are effective at heating Pacific Northwest homes, so both can be good choices. However, you still need to make a decision about which one is right for your home. Here are some of the most important differences between gas and electric furnaces.
Cost to Buy and Install the Furnace
Gas furnaces are typically more expensive to install than electric furnaces. A new gas furnace installation falls around $4500 while an electric furnace installation is around $3500.
Your current fuel sources also affect the total initial cost of your furnace. If you have to install a new gas line or electrical wiring, that could significantly add to the cost of your furnace.
Cost to Run the Furnace
The utility costs of running a gas furnace are typically lower than the electricity costs for an electric furnace. However, this cost depends on the price of natural gas compared to electricity in your area. Your furnace technician may be able to help you estimate the long-term utility costs of running a gas or electric furnace.
Utility costs can fluctuate depending on your location, resource availability, and how often you run the system. If you expect the price of your electricity or gas to change a lot in the near future, you should take that into account.
Gas furnaces tend to run hotter for shorter lengths of time, while electric furnaces run at a lower temperature for longer amounts of time. In other words, gas furnaces heat spaces faster than electric furnaces.
For some households, quick heat is a high priority. For others, it’s not an important consideration. If you or your family members despise the cold and want your house to warm up faster, then a gas furnace is the best choice for you.
Maintenance and Repairs
Gas furnaces require much more maintenance than electric furnaces. They also tend to have higher repair costs. These systems are more complex and often have more parts that need repairs, which leads to more labor.
Gas furnaces have many components that benefit from yearly inspections to ensure they stay safe and workable. However, no matter what system you use, it is always a good idea to get routine annual maintenance.
If your furnace needs maintenance or repair work, make sure you hire an experienced contractor. Your contractor should be licensed, insured, and experienced with the services you need.
Electric furnaces can last nearly a decade longer than gas furnaces. Some electric units last up to thirty years, while long-lasting gas furnaces typically only last twenty. Electric furnaces are also less prone to corrosion.
Keep in mind that no matter what kind of furnace you choose, regular maintenance will help it last longer and run more efficiently.
Energy Efficiency and Environmental Friendliness
Furnaces built today are more energy-efficient than ever before, and there are many options for homeowners who want to be environmentally conscious. Both gas and electric furnaces have the potential to be environmentally friendly. It just depends on what brand and model you choose and how well you maintain your unit.
Many modern gas furnaces have a high annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). The highest efficiency gas furnaces can have an AFUE above 90%, meaning they lose less than 10% of their heat energy through flue gasses. Older furnaces are often much less efficient with AFUEs as low as 60%.
Electric furnaces don’t lose heat energy through flue gasses, but they may consume more fuel overall to heat the same amount of space. They can also have a harsher environmental impact depending on the source of your electricity.
Washington is one of the most decarbonized states in the U.S., so our electricity is cleaner than most. If you have solar panels, your electricity source is even cleaner. Our state is also working toward 100% clean electricity by 2045.
Other Factors: Safety, Noise, and Home Size
Electric furnaces are generally safer and quieter than gas furnaces. Since these furnaces run at a lower temperature for a longer amount of time, they are better suited for smaller homes that require less heating.
While gas furnaces are technically less safe, you can reduce the risk of a gas leak or other problems with regular upkeep and a carbon monoxide detector. These units are louder than electric systems, but new models are quieter than ever before. Since the units heat up faster and at a higher temperature, they are a better choice for larger homes.
Is a Gas or Electric Furnace Right For You?
Gas and electric furnaces have different advantages and disadvantages. There are many factors you should consider as you look for the right system for your home.
If you are in a larger home and looking for lower utility costs and faster heating, then a gas furnace is likely the best choice for you. If you have a smaller home and want lower maintenance costs and a longer lifespan, then an electric furnace is the way to go.
Are you in the market for a new furnace in the Snohomish county area? Paragon has many best-value systems to choose from. We can offer you a consultation to help you decide which furnace would work best for you. No matter which unit you pick, our experienced technicians can help you install the perfect system for your home.
To learn more about your furnace options, get in touch with us today.