When you begin to consider replacing your HVAC system or shopping for a new home, the gas versus electric question is sure to come to mind. But before we get into the pros and cons of each, we should provide a little basic information.
How A Furnace Works
Both gas and electric heating systems work with a forced-air system in almost every case. When the temperature drops below the thermostat’s desired setting, a signal is sent to the furnace to turn on and begin heating your home. Then the warmed air is forced through your house ductwork and out the vents by a blower.
When heating with gas, the thermostat signal causes a pilot light to ignite the main burner in your furnace. This burner heats the air that will be circulated through your house. In an electrical furnace, there is no pilot light. Instead, the main burner is heated using an electrical ignition system. And while these two systems might appear to be almost identical, there are many more differences that you should take into consideration when shopping for your new heating system.
Gas Furnace Pros
Gas heat is usually natural gas, which is far less expensive than electricity. The overall trend in cost shows natural gas prices dropping while electricity costs continue to rise. Most look to gas heat for a more economical solution. Another benefit to gas is that it produces more heat than electricity, so it will heat your home more rapidly. And finally, gas is thought to be more efficient. Less gas is used to heat the air needed to warm your home.
Gas Furnace Cons
Gas heating carries a potential for danger because of the carbon monoxide produced when the gas burns. Any home with gas appliances or a gas HVAC system should have carbon monoxide detectors to alert you of a buildup of CO. A gas furnace is also a more complex piece of equipment than an electric version. That means they are more expensive to purchase and maintain. And finally, the life expectancy of a gas furnace is around 20 years, or about a decade less than its electric counterpart.
Electric Furnace Pros
Your initial investment in an electric furnace is going to be less than a similar gas model. And this affordability carries over to the installation, care, and maintenance. Ironically they will last longer than the gas models. But the most significant benefit to many homeowners is that there is no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning with an electric furnace. There is still a slight risk of fire. But that same risk is present with anything that creates heat or uses electricity.
Electric Furnace Cons
The operating cost of an electric furnace is significantly more than the cost associated with the use of a gas furnace. So while you are investing less in the unit’s purchase over the lifetime of use, you will pay more when adding in the cost of electricity than using gas for the same length of time. And even though you are paying more, it will take longer for your home to get warm when using electric heating.
Overall, living in a colder climate, gas is the best choice for fast and affordable heat. However, if you will not use the heat often or in extreme cold, electric heat can be a reasonable choice. To learn more about installing new HVAC equipment in your home, call (850) 831-4599. The experts from Payne’s Heating and Air Conditioning will evaluate your needs and provide you with a free, no-obligation price quote for a new HVAC system.