Gas vs Electric Heater: Which Furnace Type is Best For Your Home?

Gas vs Electric HeaterComparing heating systems may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. For example, comparing the advantages and benefits of gas furnaces and electric furnaces is really about looking at just a few key performance metrics.

You’ll want to consider the cost of your heating appliance, energy efficiency, safety factors, operating costs, and durability, or life expectancy. There are, of course, other considerations, such as warranty packages, physical footprint requirements, and brand differences that may make one system more desirable than another for some people.

As you read through the following comparisons, keep in mind these are generalizations. For example, price considerations that apply to our Metro Express Service customers in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex may not apply to homeowners living in Maine or Wisconsin.

Five Key Performance Metrics for Comparing Gas Furnaces & Electric Furnaces

When comparing heating systems within a single brand, you will usually find that:

  • The initial cost of an electric heating appliance is less than a gas furnace.
  • Electric systems on average last 15–30 years, depending on how well they are maintained, while gas appliances have a maximum life expectancy of about 20 years, except in rare cases where you occasionally see a 30- or 40-year-old furnace still going strong.
  • Energy efficiency ratings are typically higher for electric furnaces than gas.
  • The risk of carbon dioxide poisoning due to leaks or system failure comes with all gas appliances. Electric heating systems do not carry this risk and are often considered the safer option.
  • While the clear winner for lowest initial investment is the electric furnace, the utility costs for natural gas are almost always less.

Gas Solutions: Pros and Cons for Homeowners

Depending on where you live, you may be able to choose natural gas or propane to power your gas furnace. Today, many homes are built as totally electric homes, and even if you could get gas lines installed, there may not be a local natural gas or propane supplier. The good news is that gas prices have declined steadily over the past few years, and utility service is expanding as popularity grows. If you’re looking for a heating solution that is the least expensive to operate, you usually find that both electric heat pumps and gas furnaces produce lower heating bills each month than electric furnaces.

Pros:

  • Provides exceptional heat.
  • Complement both air-conditioning units and heat pumps as part of a year-round heating and cooling system for all types of weather.
  • Natural gas, if available, is less expensive than electricity. The average rate per kWh of electricity in Dallas is 0.98¢, compared to about $10 per thousand cubit feet of natural gas.
  • Heats a home up faster than electricity.
  • Gas burns cleaner than coal, which is sometimes used to generate electricity.
  • Generally, a gas furnace works better in cooler, more humid climates than an electric furnace.
  • Gas prices are going down.

Cons:

  • The cost of installing gas lines may offset monthly savings.
  • Requires ongoing monitoring of carbon dioxide levels.
  • May have to purchase other equipment, such as an indoor coil.

Electric Solutions: Pros and Cons for Homeowners

People who live in dry climates or areas where natural gas options are not available may prefer electric furnaces over a propane or oil-powered furnaces. While electric furnaces may be more expensive to operate, the initial savings attract some buyers. Electric furnace options are also popular in southern states like Texas, where the sheer power of a gas appliances isn’t needed as much as it is in northern states like Michigan and Maine.

Pros:

  • Electric power is available in virtually 100 percent of all homes today, no additional infrastructure required.
  • An electric furnace may provide all your heating and cooling needs through the year, depending on your location.
  • You don’t have to use natural gas if you are concerned about the environmental impact or do not have gas lines/connections.
  • Considered quieter than gas furnaces.
  • More durable than gas options.

Cons:

  • May cost more than gas to maintain a comfortable indoor climate.
  • May not be able to produce the heat needed for your climate.
  • Doesn’t transfer heat.
  • Electricity prices are going up in most markets.

Maintenance & Care

Taking care of your heating systems is vital to ensure your appliances work effectively as long as possible. Both electric and gas furnaces need preventative service either before or after a major season change.

A typical tune-up from Metro Express Service includes:

  • A full inspection
  • An ignition system check
  • Filter replacement
  • Hose and gasket replacement as needed

If you are looking for a new furnace, please accept our invitation to get a free quote anywhere in the DFW metropolitan area. Financing is available to those who qualify. Contact us today to learn more about our electric and gas furnace solutions for your home.

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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