What Are the Pros and Cons of a Natural Gas Air Conditioner?
For decades, electric units have been the go-to choice for air conditioning. They’ve been affordable, easy to use, and ubiquitous. But as the technology has developed and the energy market has shifted, natural gas heating and cooling has gained more and more of a seat at the table. Chances are, you may have lived your entire life with electric air conditioners without knowing there was even another option. If you’ve been unsatisfied with your current unit, though, this may be the perfect opportunity to switch.
While they both work toward the same goal, there are plenty of differences between natural gas and electricity when it comes to air conditioning. Before you decide to switch or not, you should get a better idea of the natural gas air conditioner pros and cons. Here are just a few benefits—and downsides—to having a natural gas air conditioner.
Freedom from Blackouts
If you’ve ever lived in a less urban part of the Pacific Northwest, you know how much a blackout can impact your life. Sure, it might be kind of fun for the first few hours, getting to camp out with the rest of your family and play pioneer, but sooner rather than later, the novelty will wear off. Maybe it’s the food spoiling in the refrigerator, maybe it’s the loss of the internet, but more than likely, it’s the loss of climate control.
Truly, we’re spoiled with the ability to shift the temperatures in our homes with the push of a button. With natural gas, though, you can stay cool even when the lights are out. One of the big natural gas air conditioner pros is freedom from the electrical grid. When a summer heatwave rolls in and everyone else is drawing on it to the point of a blackout, you’ll be riding out the storm in cool comfort. It may not save the food in your fridge or stream a movie to help you kill time, but when the temperature starts climbing, you’ll be happy to have it.
Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
Your home HVAC can be a huge energy drain on your household. Depending on the severity of the weather, it may find itself regularly locked in an uphill battle to maintain a comfortable climate in your home. This forces it to work harder and harder, using more energy and leading to more wear and tear on the unit itself. With gas, you can avoid overworking your HVAC at the hottest times of the year.
Another natural gas air conditioner pro is the energy-efficiency it has over electricity. The exact difference will differ from model to model, but gas air conditioners can achieve the same results as electric ones with a fraction of the fuel usage. While electricity is often viewed as the greenest energy source, spikes in use during the summer and winter can lead to higher waste from power plants. As such, natural gas air conditioners can end up being both more efficient and more environmentally friendly.
Save Money in the Long Run
At the end of the day, every homeowner is concerned about saving their hard-earned money. Even if a natural gas air conditioner sounds amazing, you’re probably concerned about how much it will cost you. Here’s the good news: a gas air conditioner can save you massive amounts of money on your cooling bills. One of the huge natural gas air conditioner pros is how inexpensive they are to operate. This is due to the efficiency of the units as well as the lower cost of the fuel.
As previously mentioned, natural gas air conditioners are incredibly efficient climate control tools. By using one, you’ll be consuming less fuel overall, therefore reducing the fuel you have to pay for. On top of that, the cost of natural gas itself can be cheaper than electricity. So not only will you have to pay for less fuel to operate your air conditioner, the fuel you do pay for will be cheaper as well.
You’ll Need a Source of Natural Gas
Unfortunately, not every home comes equipped with a natural gas connection. If you want a natural gas air conditioner but lack a source of natural gas, you’re not just going to have to pay for the unit. You’ll have to pay for the unit as well as the installation of a natural gas pump. It’s one of the major natural gas air conditioner cons, potentially setting you back much more money than initially expected.
If you already have a source of natural gas in your home, then you have nothing to worry about. Your new air conditioner can join the ranks of other gas-burning appliances. If not, you’ll need to factor in the cost of installation before determining whether or not the unit is right for you.
Safety Must Be Accounted For
The most serious natural gas air conditioner con you should be aware of is the dangers a natural gas appliance can pose. You should always be mindful of the safety of your home, and there are risks to installing any major piece of machinery within it, but a natural gas air conditioner comes with unique risks to be mindful of. Primarily, you need to be mindful of natural gas leaks. Should gas escape into your home, you and your family may be at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s a serious danger and should not be taken lightly.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to mitigate the risks of using natural gas within your home. First, be sure you’ve installed carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. They will alert you if the air quality in your home becomes dangerous, giving you time to exit your home and attempt to air it out. Second, make sure your unit is receiving regular preventative maintenance. A skilled HVAC technician can not only fix any leaks should they appear, but with regular inspections can help avoid them altogether.
Is a Natural Gas Air Conditioner Right for Me?
You know your home best, so only you can assess the natural gas air conditioner pros and cons. If you still aren’t sure and feel like you could use some more guidance, feel free to reach out to Entek. We’re ready and available to use our knowledge and years of experience to help you make the right decision for your home.