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Is a Natural Gas HVAC Good for the Environment?

When searching for a new HVAC system these days, many homeowners are interested in becoming more environmentally conscious. In addition to the benefits for the planet, going green can also help people save money on their bills. But if you’re not an expert, you may have a hard time determining which heating solution is best for your home, your budget, and the earth. Natural gas may sound good on paper, but what does it really mean? Read on below to find out more on whether natural gas is good for the environment.

Natural Gas HVAC vs. Electric HVAC

Typically, HVAC systems are either gas, oil, or electric. Many people assume that the best choice for the environment would be an electric heater. But electric HVAC systems also have their downsides.

Something many may not realize is that the way things currently work, a lot of the electricity is generated from coal. And coal is actually the fossil fuel that is most polluting, most harmful for the environment. In addition to coal, electricity can also be generated from petroleum and gases, which also aren’t great for the planet.

So, Is Natural Gas Good for the Environment?

Natural gas pipeline station with blue sky and snow on the ground.

When it comes to heating solutions, yes. Natural gas has been shown to be better for the environment than oil or wood heating as well as electric. Natural gas is considered one of the cleanest burning fossil fuels available. By burning cleaner, natural gas also helps reduce the ecological damage that comes from fuels like electricity, oil, and wood.

Natural gas is also good for the environment because it emits less carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides, and there are no mercury emissions. Some of the ways this benefits the environment are that it leads to cleaner air and less acid rain.

For example, natural gas power plants typically emit 50 to 60 percent less carbon dioxide than coal and oil power plants. In addition to generating fewer greenhouse gases, the greenhouse gases that natural gas does emit have a lower life cycle in the atmosphere than others.

Also, if you use natural gas for your heating, it reduces the demand for electricity in your area.

One more thing to keep in mind is that you can use natural gas for other appliances. It can be used for kitchens, grills, fireplaces, dryers, water heaters, and more. By using natural gas for other heating purposes, you’ll continue to benefit the environment.

Other Pros of Choosing a Natural Gas HVAC

  • In addition to being better for the environment, natural gas HVAC will also be a reliable heat source. Especially if you’re getting a new natural gas heater, which will give you up to 98 percent efficiency. Its efficiency is part of the reason why it generates less carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases than electric resistance heating.
  • Natural gas HVAC will still be reliable in circumstances like power outages.
    Natural gas heats up quickly. Meanwhile, with electric heat, the resistance coils can take a while to warm up.
  • Another advantage of natural gas HVAC is that it will cost less to operate than other heating options, particularly electric heaters. This is because the energy price of gas is typically cheaper. Electric can have a lower cost of installation, so some choose it just for that. However, it would cost more than natural gas in the long run.
  • Even the least efficient natural gas HVAC system you can find will still cost less to operate than an electric HVAC.
    Lower energy bills are one of the ways natural gas will pay off financially. It’s also true that, if you are planning to sell your home, having natural gas HVAC involved can increase its value.

How Your Location Influences Your Choice

Another factor that determines whether electricity or natural gas is the best choice for the environment? That would be where the electricity in your area actually comes from. If your area has renewable energy, that’s one thing. But if not? That means the electric heating would likely come from dirty-burning fossil fuels like coal.

You should also check if your area has the piping infrastructure for natural gas. If not, you may have to install a storage tank to get the fuel.

The temperatures in your area are also important to consider. If the winter typically brings very cold temperatures, heat pumps may not be able to efficiently heat on their own. Instead, you might need to add an additional heat source such as natural gas or a hybrid system.

Looking at the Future and the Bigger Picture

Whether natural gas is good for the environment can depend on how the United States generates energy. At this moment, natural gas is among the best non-renewable energy sources. If the US moves more to renewable energy, then electricity will become the better choice for the environment, more so than natural gas.

Hopefully, the US can get to 100 percent renewable energy in the future. But in the meantime, it’s best to do whatever you can to make good choices for the environment, like natural gas HVAC.

Another good thing about natural gas is that there is plenty of supply, enough to last for decades. This means that people can continue using natural gas for heating, making a good choice for the environment until we reach the best choice for the environment.

Keep Natural Gas HVAC Running Safely

Natural gas is a safe choice for heating, but make sure it stays that way. If a natural gas HVAC system does generate more harmful emissions like carbon monoxide, that means it’s not functioning correctly. It’s very important to have your HVAC system checked at least once a year. This ensures it stays functioning properly, which keeps you safe and allows your natural gas HVAC to continue being good for the environment.

Whichever heating system you choose, trust Entek to provide the best installation and service. We’ve been serving the Pacific Northwest area for over seven decades, so you can be sure that we know our stuff. You can find out more information about Entek on our website.


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