How Do You Convert an Electric Furnace to Gas?
There are plenty of reasons to make the switch from electric heating to gas. For most homeowners, the cost differences alone are enough to ensure they never look back. Gas is simply a good deal cheaper than electricity, provided you have access to it. There are other benefits as well. Gas heating is a lot more efficient than electric heating, meaning it’s easier to get your home warmed up to your desired temperature. In extremely cold climates, where the temperature regularly gets to below freezing, gas heating may indeed be your only option because it gets much hotter faster than other options.
What do you do if you want to make the switch but already have an electric furnace in place? Is it possible to convert an electric furnace to gas? Read on to get an idea of how the process works and how to do so if you need to:
Weigh the Costs Involved
It’s true that gas heating is likely to save you money on your energy bill; note, however, that this is in the long run. There’s definitely an upfront cost involved in installing a new furnace, and gas furnaces may be pricier than electric ones; sometimes significantly so. Look for the average monthly cost of the various types of heating in your area. In the United States, you could be looking to save a few hundred dollars a year or more, depending on how cold your climate gets.
Other Benefits of Gas
Besides the obvious monthly costs, there are other reasons to make the switch to gas heating. Gas heaters are smaller, which can save space in your home. Due to the efficiency, you might find that you’re eligible for tax rebates if you opt for gas-powered heating. There are also benefits with regard to the value of your home, especially if you live in a cold climate. Prospective buyers are likely to pay more for a home that’s guaranteed to keep them warm during the icy winter months, and a gas furnace is often the best bet for that.
Many people are concerned about gas heating because it burns natural gas to produce heat, leading them to worry that it’s not an environmentally sound method of heating a home. It’s true that gas furnaces make use of a combustible source of heat, but because gas burns so hot, you won’t need as much of it as you will with other heat sources. In contrast, the electricity used in an electric furnace is often generated by burning coal. It’s important to do a little research to make sure your heating system is as environmentally friendly as possible.
Understand How Your Current Heating System Works
Before you can begin the process of making any changes, you have to understand the details of the system that you have in place currently. Some heating systems are easier to convert than others. For example, if your home makes use of a ductless heater, you’ll have to shell out for the ductwork that a gas heater requires. This can add a great deal to the cost, not to mention the extra effort involved.
Most heaters, however, aren’t ductless: they utilize forced-air systems to transport heat throughout your home. In most cases, this means it will be relatively easy for your heating professional to replace your existing electric furnace with a gas one.
Consider Your Fuel Source
As the name suggests, gas furnaces require natural gas as their fuel source. Most homeowners can easily get access to a gas main, but you should make sure it’s offered where you are by contacting your utility provider before you make any plans to switch heat sources.
Getting a new gas main installed can be very easy or very difficult, depending upon where you’re located. Some homes or even neighborhoods will have natural gas lines already in place, so you won’t have to do much except have your HVAC professional connect them to your new furnace. On the other hand, other homes—for example, more rural homes—may be without a natural gas main. You’ll need to have a contractor come in to install one before you can set up your new gas-powered furnace. Call a reputed heating and cooling company, such as Entek HVAC, for questions about this.
Having Your New Furnace Installed
To have a new furnace installed, you’ll need to have an HVAC professional you trust, such as one from Entek. As you might suspect, there’s a lot involved in the installation of an HVAC system. Everything from your home’s infrastructure to your access to local utilities to a myriad of mechanical issues are in play. That means your HVAC professionals need to be very good at what they do. Take time to read online reviews, talk with neighbors and other customers, and compare and contrast all of your options.
Your HVAC professional will make a lot of recommendations, but you’ll also have to make some decisions on your own. Where do you want the furnace to be? Do you have the perfect spot already, or will you need to make room? Is the gas furnace going to be in the exact spot the electric one was, or will you need to put it somewhere else? Once again, communication with your HVAC professional is key.
Some Logistical Issues
Electric and gas furnaces are inherently different, and you’ll have to consider some of the logistics involved in switching one for the other. For example, electricity doesn’t produce any exhaust, but burning natural gas does. Wherever your new furnace is installed, you’ll need a safe place to vent the exhaust away from your home.
There are other safety factors to consider as well. For example, if you convert an electric furnace to gas, you’ll need a mechanism in place to detect gas leaks. Safety factors are important considerations when installing gas heating, so make sure you contact your HVAC professional to discuss them.