The Pros and Cons To Both Gas and Electric Furnaces

There’s really no shortcut to determining the best furnace to buy; you need to do your homework. What you need to decide for yourself, though, is how important is energy conservation vs. cost? Choosing between natural gas and electric makes a difference to the environment and where your money goes. Whether you’re building a home or replacing your existing heating equipment, you might be curious about which type of fuel works best and costs less. We will be exploring natural gas and electricity. Compare the pros and cons of gas heaters and electric heaters to help you decide which one is the better option for your home.

Pros and Cons of a Gas Heater Installation

While natural gas remains the most widely-used home heating fuel in the U.S., this type of fuel may not be available in all areas. Gas furnaces are quite large and complex, necessitating professional installation. You must add a chimney to vent emission from the combustion process with a gas furnace. If your home doesn’t already have one, you must have one added during installation. In areas where natural gas isn’t available, electric heating is a cost effective solution to heat a home. Electric heating is safe and doesn’t produce any byproducts during the heating process. These systems operate more quietly than gas heating systems. Also, when outdoor temperatures are frigid, an electric heating system may sometimes struggle to maintain a high indoor temperature.


Gas heating system is less expensive to operate than an electric unit. Natural gas is a cheaper form of energy than electricity and over the past few years, the cost of natural gas has actually decreased. However, a gas-powered unit will require a larger initial investment than an electric unit Since natural gas is a much less expensive fuel than electricity, a gas furnace is more affordable to operate.


When you hear HVAC companies encourage customers to have their furnaces maintained once a year, they’re referring to gas furnaces. Annual maintenance performed by a professional is important to keep gas-fired heaters in good condition for many seasons to come. Some experts say up to 75 percent of no-heat calls in the winter are related to a lack of maintenance. Left unserviced, a furnace can stop working suddenly, leaving your family in the cold.


The lifespan of a gas unit is about half of that of an electric unit. The lifespan of a gas heating system is generally between 10 and 20 years.


A carbon monoxide leak is the biggest issue with gas heaters , the leak can be poisonous or even fatal at high enough doses. A carbon monoxide detector installed near the furnace helps alert you to any danger. Routine maintenance can keep gas leaks ,fire and carbon monoxide under control.

Environmental Costs

While the cost of buying and operating a new furnace often tops the list of concerns for shoppers, it’s also important to consider the environmental costs of each of these heating fuel options. Despite the relatively high efficiency of most electric heaters, electric heating is inherently inefficient. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, most electricity is produced using techniques that are only 30 percent efficient. In addition, coal represents one of the primary fuels used to produce electricity. While natural gas production does release greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants, this fuel burns much cleaner than coal and poses much less damage to the environment, according to the EPA.


Electric heat could be a superior option for smaller homes, those located in warmer climates or anywhere natural gas isn’t available. The lower purchase and installation cost along with lower maintenance requirements are highly desirable in these situations.

Gas heat is probably your go-to option if you have a large home and/or live in a cold climate. Higher heating requirements in these situations allow a gas furnace to recoup the more expensive upfront cost and greater maintenance requirements by providing lower operating costs. Electric heaters are cheaper, easier to install and do not need a chimney like gas heaters do. However, gas heating has lower operational costs because gas is usually cheaper than electricity and gas heaters are better at warming up larger spaces. As we said in our opening paragraph: What you need to decide for yourself, is how important is energy conservation vs. cost and your comfort level for the area in which you live.

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Phoenix Comfort Systems Staff 2

About Phoenix Comfort Systems

Phoenix Comfort provides a full range of air conditioning and heating repair, installation, and maintenance services for residential and commercial customers. We keep your air conditioning and heating systems in their best condition and ready to go when you need them most, following the industry’s “best practice” methods and standards. Phoenix Comfort carries a full line of quiet, energy-efficient air conditioning and heating equipment.
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