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Gas vs. Electric Furnaces: A Home Heating Throwdown

Are you ready to invest in something new to heat your home? Have you used a traditional heating system, heat pump or even furnace in the past, but it just isn’t working efficiently anymore? If so, two of the most common choices include:

  • The gas furnace
  • The electric furnace

While it can be pretty overwhelming at first to choose between these two options, here you will find a breakdown of what each has to offer to help you choose the one that is best suited for your needs and home.

The Electric Furnace

There are several ways to interpret this category of heating systems. Here, electric furnaces will be referred to as an air handler. You can put this air handler with your heat pump or your air conditioner. It actually contains several components, including the indoor coil, the air distribution system, and in some makes and models, heat stripes that help to enhance the system’s heating power. The heat strips (if inside) receive power from electricity to create original heat.

  • Benefits of Electric Furnaces
    • You don’t have to use natural gas
    • Are typically all you will need to heat or cool your home all year long
  • Disadvantages of Electric Furnaces
    • In some cases, they may strain to reach the heating demand, especially if you have paired the air handler with your air conditioner
    • Can cause an increase in electrical costs
    • Create only original heat – they don’t transfer heat
  • Reasons to Choose an Electric Furnace
    • The electricity rate is lower in your area
    • You don’t have a natural gas line going to your home

That’s a brief overview of the electric furnace. Now, it’s time to move on to gas powered furnaces and provide a similar breakdown so you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you.

The Gas Furnace

When it comes to heating systems, this is what most people associate with them. A gas furnace is a heating system that derives its heating power from natural gas. It will contain your air distribution system and it will create original heat. Natural gas furnaces are easily paired with your heat pump or a split-system AC.

  • Benefits of Gas Furnaces
    • They provide powerful heat
    • Work well with your AC and/or heat pump to provide cooling and heating throughout the year
    • In most cases, natural gas is not as costly as electricity
  • Disadvantages of gas furnaces
    • You will typically have to buy the additional indoor coil
    • You need a quality carbon monoxide detector installed in your home
    • If you don’t currently have natural gas going to your home, you will have to have a line installed – which can be expensive.
  • Reasons to Choose a Gas Furnace
    • If you already have a gas line going to your home
    • If you want the power provided by a gas furnace
    • If natural gas is more affordable in your area

As you can see, there are both pros and cons offered by both electric and gas furnaces. Be sure to keep this information in mind when purchasing yours.

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