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How Do I Decide Between a Gas or Electric Furnace?

Whether you need a new or replacement heating system, choosing a furnace can be quite overwhelming. Especially since there are more options now than ever before. There isn’t necessarily one ideal furnace that will suit every person and every home. Instead, you should consider your individual needs and find the one that suits you and your home the best. With that in mind, one of the biggest questions asked when buying a new furnace is how to decide on gas or electric. Read on below for some expert tips on how to choose the right system for you.

Consider Where You Live

First of all, think carefully about which would be the better option for where you live. This means both the area in which you live and your residence itself.

Electric furnaces might be more ideal for warmer climates. In some areas, electric furnaces may have to strain to reach the heat you need. In general, gas furnaces are the better choice for the areas with colder climates. One of the reasons gas is better in those areas is that it will be able to heat a residence faster, no matter how cold it is outside.

In addition to the climate where you live, you should consider the size of your home. If your house is small, an electric furnace will work effectively, especially a smaller house in an already warm climate. However, a larger house will need to use quite a lot of electricity to heat the whole residence. Those costs could end up being quite expensive, so gas may be the better option.

Check the Availability of Fuel

Take the availability of fuel into consideration as well. If you don’t have access to a natural gas line, electric is probably the best for you. You could use oil or propane instead, but both of these options require fuel storage tanks that are expensive to install and maintain.

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It might go without saying, but your budget will definitely be a very important factor in your decision.

Electric furnaces are more affordable upfront, and easier and cheaper to install in your home. Gas furnaces, on the other hand, can be more expensive and more complicated to install. Overall, installation costs will vary depending on where you live.

Once installed, electric furnaces may be easier to maintain. No matter whether you choose gas or electric, be sure to have a professional do the installation. Professionals will know how to install the furnaces in the safest way possible. Installing yourself, however, would be far too dangerous. You’ll also probably have an inspection to make sure the furnace is installed properly. The best way to guarantee this would be to turn to the experts.

While the installation may be cheaper, however, electric furnaces will have higher fuel costs. Since it costs more to use regularly, electric may cost you more in the long run. Electric furnaces can also have more expensive repairs, and electrical components need to be replaced over time.

Gas prices can vary wildly in different places. For instance, prices are usually higher in rural areas. So in some areas, electric could be a less expensive utility than gas. However, the reverse is true in many areas. And the cost of electricity keeps rising in certain areas as well.

When you make this decision, you must factor in the operating costs and maintenance, instead of just looking at the initial costs. Gas furnaces typically have lower operating costs. However, they have their own set of pros and cons to consider.

Keep the Efficiency in Mind

Electric furnaces are more efficient overall. However, gas furnaces can also be made more efficient by using an alternative for the traditional pilot light, such as direct spark or hot surface ignition.

If you’re concerned about the environmental impact, there are higher efficiency models of gas and electric furnaces available that can reduce your carbon footprint. However, gas may be the more environmentally friendly option overall because natural gas is a clean-burning fuel.

Make a List of the Pros and Cons

With gas furnaces, some cons are that you will have to install a carbon monoxide detector. With an electric furnace, you don’t have to worry about the potential risks of carbon monoxide, so it’s safer. Electric furnaces also don’t have a pilot light, which can make them safer as well. The carbon monoxide risks are one of the reasons gas furnaces will need regular maintenance. You’ll also usually have to purchase an additional indoor coil for a gas furnace. Another potential downside of gas furnaces is that their ductwork can be a bit bulky. However, if you have the space available, this shouldn’t be an issue.

One downside of electric furnaces is that you could lose heat if the power goes out. If you decide to go electric, you might want to have a backup heat source just in case.
Is noise an issue for you? Electric furnaces are typically quieter compared to gas furnaces.

If you have allergies, a gas furnace might be a better choice. Electric furnaces emit a dry heat, and the dry air, especially in the winter, can bother those with allergies.

Are you trying to go as long as possible without replacing a furnace? Look into which option would be more durable. Electric furnaces can last twice as long as gas furnaces. Gas furnaces can last 10 to 20 years, while electric can last 20 to 30. Proper maintenance, of course, will make either furnace option last for the longest time.

As you can see, where you live and your lifestyle will be major factors in your decision. For those in the Pacific Northwest, trust Entek for all your heating and cooling needs. No matter if you choose gas or electric, we’ll provide the best service. We have been serving the Pacific Northwest area for over seven decades and are the area’s longest-serving Carrier provider. You can find more information on our website. Here’s to staying warm!


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