If you are thinking about installing a new heating system, there’s a good chance you are considering a furnace. These devices continue to be among the most popular heating equipment options on the market, as they are compatible with almost all HVAC ductwork and are designed to provide comprehensive heat to all types of homes. Furnaces are also generally quite energy-efficient, however, it should be noted that not every furnace’s efficiency level is the same. This is why it’s important to consider what your overall energy costs will be when deciding whether to install an electric or gas furnace. Let's discuss the pros and cons of an electric vs. gas furnace. Keep reading to learn which one of these furnace types is more efficient.
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Energy Efficiency of Electric Furnaces
- They don’t rely on an external fuel source like gas to keep running
- They can be safer
- They can increase your electric bill
- They can be less powerful
The less conventional choice for furnace installations, electricity-powered furnaces have risen in popularity over the years for several reasons. For one, they don’t rely on an external fuel source like gas to keep running, which not only makes them easy to operate, but also safer, considering there is no combustion process, unlike with a traditional furnace. It's worth thinking about electric furnace efficiency ratings. All electric furnaces have an AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating of 100%, because there is no fuel involved at all.
You might think that given the fuel advantages of electric furnaces, they would automatically be more efficient. However, this is not taking into account your electricity bills. Electric furnaces may raise your utility costs, since they run completely on electricity to heat your home. Because these systems create original heat rather than using the heat transfer process, they may also have to work extremely hard to heat your home, which some have found makes them less powerful, especially when paired with an air handler of an AC unit.
Energy Efficiency of Gas Furnaces
Now let's look at gas heating vs. electric.
- They provide a powerful amount of heat
- They are more affordable and can help your energy costs remain low
- Natural gas lines have to be installed if they don't already exist
- Additional equipment might be required for you to purchase
- They can be a fire hazarded and a risk for gas leaks
Unlike electric furnaces, natural gas furnaces require gas lines to be installed in the first place. These can be expensive to put in if you do not already have them running out of your house. You may also have to purchase additional equipment to go with your gas furnace, including an indoor evaporator coil and a carbon monoxide detector. As we’ve already covered, these systems are a bigger fire hazard than electric furnaces, but they can pose a risk for gas leaks, too.
On the other hand, gas furnaces always provide a powerful amount of heat, regardless of what other type of HVAC equipment you are pairing them with. You can easily make them worth with an air conditioner or a heat pump, and some modern furnaces often have an AFUE rating as high as 98%. These systems’ ultimate advantage is that natural gas is an extremely affordable utility, meaning that your energy costs are likely to stay low for years to come when you install a gas-powered furnace.
While natural gas furnaces do usually cost more upfront, they also tend to be more energy-efficient in the long run compared to electric furnaces, which can end up raising your energy bills. That isn’t to say that an electric furnace isn’t the right call for many homes, however. If you live in a smaller home or somewhere in the United States where temperatures do not get as low and you do not have to run your furnace as much, electricity-powered units can still be a great option. You may also want to consider an electric heat pump, as these systems do not use a lot of electricity and require no outside fuel, basically making them the most energy-efficient heating equipment on the market. Fortunately, no matter what your residential heating needs are, you can count on our skilled and experienced HVAC experts at All Pro Plumbing, Heating, Air & Electrical to provide you with exactly what you’re looking for.