Different Types of Furnaces – Part II

Heat and Energy Efficiency

Arlington, TX – When it comes to which of the two is more efficient, electric furnaces win hands down. Furnaces are rated by the Annual fuel utilization efficiency rating, also known as AFUE. An electric furnace can be as high as 100 percent. Whereas gas furnaces will have ratings that range between 55 to 97 percent.

Keep in mind that energy efficiency refers to the amount of energy that a furnace can turn into heat. Energy efficiency does not have a rating for which it heats the home.  Most electric furnaces will convert most of the energy produced into heat. With gas furnaces this will greatly vary.  However, even with a lower efficiency, gas furnaces can heat homes quicker than their electric counterparts.

You can also increase the efficiency of a gas furnace with an alternative to the pilot light. An intermittent direct spark or hot surface ignition is an upgrade that will cost you to have a more efficient gas furnace. However, these extra costs will most likely be mitigated by lower fuel costs in areas that have heavy winters.

Additionally, gas furnaces will heat the home at a much faster rate since the heat that is being produced is much hotter than the heat produced by electric furnaces.  This and the lower cost of natural gas can make a gas furnace a better option for homeowners that live in colder climates. However, in warmer climates that have less demand for heating, an electric furnace with its cheaper initial costs and reduced need for maintenance may be better off for homeowners.

The Costs of Furnaces?

As a rule of thumb electric furnaces will typically be less expensive to purchase than their gas counterparts. They are also cheaper to install. New electric furnaces can vary between a thousand to twenty-five hundred dollars. Of course, this too can vary depending on manufacturer and all the bells and whistles. Gas furnaces on the other hand could run around three thousand to four thousand dollars and that is before installation.  Installation prices will also vary from company to company.

Furnace Maintenance

Electric furnaces are much easier to maintain and will require less professional service than gas furnaces. There is no burner to clean and the system does not typically require cleaning or care. This alone makes an electric furnace a very attractive option.

Gas furnaces, on the other hand, will need regular professional maintenance by an HVAC service company. At the very least, a gas furnace should be cleaned and inspected once a year. It is critical that a gas furnace is maintained since it utilizes natural gas a highly combustible material and also can leak carbon monoxide, a highly deadly odorless gas.  Improper maintenance and ventilation could result in carbon monoxide poisoning and at worse death.

Does an Electric Furnace Last longer than a Gas Furnace?

Yes, electric furnaces typically last twice if a gas furnace.  You can get anywhere between 10 – 20 years from a gas furnace but with an electric furnace you can expect between 20 to 30 years. The reasoning behind this is the same reasoning that a gas furnace requires much more maintenance.

Is an electric furnace louder than a gas Furnace?

Actually, no an electric furnace is not. An electric furnace is typically quieter than their gas counterparts. This is due to the design between the two. Electric furnaces have fewer moving parts, no vents and no burner. This makes for a much quieter furnace.  Keep in mind, gas furnaces are not necessarily loud, but they do make an audible rushing sound when they start up and when the burner ignites.



Randy Murphy

Randy Murphy has been building his knowledge of the air conditioning and heating business for several years now. He first started applying his knowledge while working for his father’s HVAC company. Later, in 1987, Randy started his own business: Metro Express Service. He has been a top 10 Trane & Amana dealer for over eight years. When it comes to heating and cooling, Randy knows the business better than anyone.
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