When it gets cold, having a good heating system makes a big difference in how cozy your home feels. There are different options for heating your house, but for some people, it comes down to an electric furnace vs a gas furnace. 

The Department of Energy says heating can consume almost 29% of your utility bills. That’s why you need to be mindful and decide what’s best for your house, which is economical and useful. Let’s look at the differences between the two furnace types. 

Electric Furnace Vs. Gas Furnace: What’s Right for Your Home? 

Gas and electric furnaces are the two most common types of home heating systems. Electric furnaces produce electric heat circulated throughout the home via ducting and vents.

These furnaces are typically easy to install and can be used where natural gas is unavailable.

However, gas furnaces generate heat by burning propane or natural gas in a combustion chamber. After that, a blower motor transfers this heat to the air, which is blown via the ducts.

When choosing between an electric and gas furnace, there are a few things to consider. It’s a good idea to talk to an expert to help you make the best choice for your home.

Let’s explore the specific differences between the two:

1- Fuel Type

Electric furnaces require electricity to create heat. When you turn on an electric furnace, electricity flows through heating elements, which heat up and warm the air blown into your home.

However, gas furnaces use propane or natural gas to generate heat. Gas is ignited in the furnace’s burner, heating a metal heat exchanger.

The air passing over this exchanger is heated and distributed throughout your home.

2- Cost

Electric furnaces are generally cheaper because they have simpler designs and don’t require a gas line installation.

However, they tend to cost more to run because electricity prices are often higher than gas prices.

This is not always true as propane can also be expensive in some areas so you have to ask a local contractor to confirm.

But generally speaking, Electric heat is typically very inefficient and almost always more expensive than gas or propane heat.

Because a gas line installation is required and occasionally because the components are more complicated, gas furnaces typically have greater upfront prices. However, they can be cheaper in the long term because natural gas or propane is often more affordable than electricity.

3- Installation

Installing an electric furnace is usually simpler because it doesn’t require a gas line hookup. Electric furnaces only need access to an electrical supply and proper ventilation for safety.

Installing a gas furnace can be more complicated and expensive because it requires a gas line hookup.

It involves connecting the furnace to the main gas supply in your home, which will require professional installation by an HVAC contractor.

4- Efficiency

In general, electric furnaces are less effective in producing heat from energy. They are generally inefficient, meaning they waste a lot of power during operation.

While gas furnaces vary in efficiency, they typically are cheaper to run.

However, the cost of natural gas or propane can sometimes offset this difference in efficiency if gas or propane is very expensive in your area, or if electricity is extremely cheap in your area.

5- Environmental Impact

Since electric furnaces don’t burn fuel, they don’t emit emissions when used. However, how the electricity is produced determines how it will affect the environment.

If the furnace is powered by renewable energy sources, such as solar or wind power, its environmental impact is smaller.

Gas furnaces release several pollutants, including carbon dioxide, when they burn natural gas or propane.

Although natural gas is cleaner burning than say gasoline, it still causes some level of air pollution.

High-efficiency gas furnaces that are well-maintained can lessen their negative environmental effects and usually save you money in the long run compared to an electric furnace.

6- Maintenance

Because electric furnaces have fewer moving parts than other types, they often require less maintenance. Routine maintenance, cleaning, or replacing air filters is usually necessary to keep them functioning properly.

For gas furnaces to operate safely and effectively, frequent maintenance is necessary. It includes examining the ventilation system, cleaning the burner compartment, inspecting the heat exchanger, and looking for gas leaks.

Professional checks once a year can detect possible problems early.

7- Safety

Since electric furnaces don’t release carbon monoxide, a toxic chemical that can be fatal if inhaled in large enough quantities, they are typically considered safer than gas heaters.

Because they have the potential to emit carbon monoxide, gas furnaces provide a safety issue.

It takes careful installation, ventilation, and routine maintenance to ensure a hazardous condition doesn’t develop and create a dangerous situation.

8- Area and Region

Electric furnaces are readily available and appropriate for some households because they can be installed anywhere there is electricity, however they rarely make financial sense and are usually more expensive to run.

The infrastructure in your community determines whether gas furnaces are available because they need access to a propane tank, which is normally installed on each homesite, or a natural gas supply line which may or may not be available in your area.

Propane tanks may be the only fuel option available to homes in remote locations without access to natural gas.

How to Maintain Your Gas and Electric Furnace?

Maintaining electric and gas furnaces is essential for efficient and safe operation. Here’s how to keep each type maintained:

Electric Furnace Maintenance

  • Regular Cleaning: Keep the furnace and its surroundings tidy and clear of dust and debris for optimal airflow. As the manufacturer advises, typically every one to three months, regularly check and replace or clean the air filter.
  • Inspect Electrical Components: Check electrical connections, cables, and other parts regularly for corrosion, wear, or damage. Make sure every electrical connection is firmly and securely made.
  • Check Heating Elements: Examine heating components for wear or damage. Replace any worn-out or malfunctioning heating components right away.
  • Thermostat Calibration: Ensure the thermostat is calibrated correctly for precise temperature control and effective functioning. 

Gas Furnace Maintenance

  • Inspect and Clean the Burner: Check for any buildup of debris, corrosion, or dirt on the burner assembly. Clean the hob and ensure the combustion is correct.
  • Check the ignition system: Test it to ensure it is operating properly. Swap out malfunctioning igniters, pilot lights, or flame sensors as needed.
  • Inspect the Flue and Ventilation System: Look for any blockages in the ventilation system and flue that can prevent airflow or lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide. Make sure the outside is properly vented.
  • Change the Air Filter: It is recommended that the air filter be cleaned or replaced every one to three months to keep the airflow at its best and avoid dust accumulation.
  • Inspect Gas Lines and Connections: Regularly check gas connections and lines for damage, corrosion, and leaks. If you find any problems, immediately turn off the gas supply and contact a specialist to fix them.

Arrange for Annual Professional Inspection

Plan for a skilled HVAC specialist to perform yearly maintenance services on your heating systems. They can check internal parts, test safety mechanisms, and guarantee your furnace runs effectively and safely. 

Looking for comprehensive HVAC services? Contact The Bee Heat & AC for the best Furnace Repair and Installation services

People Also Ask!

How Frequently Should I Clean the Furnace Air Filter?

You can maintain proper airflow and efficiency by cleaning or replacing the air filter every one to three months. 

Can I Plan a DIY Furnace Maintenance?

You can perform simple tasks such as cleaning the air filters yourself. However, it’s best if a professional performs annual inspections for safety and maximum performance. 

What Should I Do If I Detect a Gas Leak from My Furnace?

When you suspect a gas leak, turn off the gas supply, ventilate your space, and contact your utility provider to make them aware of the gas smell.

If the utility confirms you leak, follow up with a licensed HVAC technician to find and repair the gas leak.