Is an Electric Furnace Better Than Gas?

the inside of an electric furnace

Is it cheaper to heat your house with gas or electric?

It can depend on where you live. If you live in a northern climate, with proper care and maintenance, gas heat is more comfortable. To operate gas heat, the cost is less, however, installation costs more.

Electric furnace installation is less expensive but more expensive to operate. In warm climates where gas isn’t readily available, electric heat is the perfect option for heating a home. An electric heat pump is another consideration where gas isn’t available for its energy efficiency and because it works with air conditioning in the summer is another benefit.

The following are pros and cons to consider when trying to decide between an electric furnace or gas furnace for your home:

Gas Heat Pros

  • Operation is less expensive: Natural gas is considerably less expensive than electric virtually everywhere in the country.
  • Heats faster: Because gas heat starts heating as soon as the burners ignite, it heats up quicker than electric heat.

Gas Heat Cons

  • Installation is more expensive: Installation of a gas furnace is more expensive than Electric furnace installation because of the venting required makes it more complicated.  
  • Lifespan is shorter: A gas furnace life expectancy is ten to twenty years.
  • Requires more maintenance: A gas furnace runs on a combustible fuel, making it yearly inspection and maintenance necessary to assure it is operating efficiently and safely.

Electric Heat Pros

  • Installation less expensive: Electric furnace installation is less expensive, making it the preferred choice for homeowners.
  • Installation causes minimal disruption: Electric furnace installation doesn’t require exterior venting, so installation is faster and causes minimal disruption.
  • Maintenance easy: An electric furnace should have annual inspection and maintenance, but there is less chance of malfunction dangers.

Electric Heat Cons

  • More expensive over a lifetime: Electric furnace can be 100-percent efficiency, but with the cost of electricity, it is more expensive to operate than gas heat.  
  • Heats slower: An electric furnace takes longer to heat up because it spends a lot of time powering up, thus, it takes longer to heat your home.

What size of the electric furnace do I need?

It is important to choose the right size electric furnace for homes. An Electric furnace installation with a unit that is too large or too small won’t be as efficient, thus costing you more money than necessary. The following information can assist you in calculating the right size for your home.

  • 1,200 square foot house choose an electric furnace size between 36,000 and 72,000 BTUs
  • 1,500 square foot house choose an electric furnace size between 45,000 and 90,000 BTUs
  • 1,800 square foot house choose an electric furnace size between 54,000 and 108,000 BTUs
  • 2,100 square foot house choose an electric furnace size between 63,000 and 126,000 BTUs
  • 2,400 square foot house choose an electric furnace size between 72,000 and 144,000 BTUs

Are new electric furnaces more efficient?

As we mentioned above, electric furnace installation is less expensive compared to gas furnace installation, but when it comes to efficiency, an electric furnace is more efficient than its gas counterpart. An electric furnace has a rating of 100% annual fuel-utilization-efficiency, whereas a gas furnace rating ranges between 55 percent to 97 percent.

burners on a furnace

How long will an electric furnace last?

There are many factors that can affect the lifespan of an electric furnace, some of which are:

  • Electric furnace installation — Poor Electric furnace installation can reduce the years of the lifespan.
  • Electric Furnace Size — An electric furnace that is too small will work overtime and wear out faster. A furnace too large will cycle off/on too much.
  • Maintenance — Annual maintenance and tune-ups are important to the lifespan of an electric furnace.
  • Filter Change — Replacing or cleaning the filter is important to giving your furnace a long lifespan.

How do you know when it may be time for a service call? When the current electric furnace buzzing sounds and when your electric furnace is not blowing hot air. An experienced furnace technician can advise you if repairs are feasible and possible or if you need to start shopping for an electric furnace installation.

As you shop for a new furnace, take the information we’ve provided here and done your own research. It is always recommended to go with a professional contractor to install your furnace, as opposed to attempting to do the installation yourself.  Having a professional do the installation for safety reasons and warranty purposes.  A manufacturer may not honor their warranty if the furnace isn’t installed by a professional. Call 678-203-4784 today for your furnace installation in Cumming, GA.