As fall weather fades and thermostat settings rise, winter is coming. Are you prepared? If your furnace is in need of replacement, now is the time to do it, before the deepest cold sets in. Certainly, a big financial decision, there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to replacing your heating system. The first step in your replacement process should be deciding between gas and electric heat. Both heating options have pros and cons, which property owners should consider before making their decision on which they will choose. Taking into consideration your location, climate, and financial factors, let’s look at some of the common topics that come up during comparison research.

Cost: Upfront and Long Term

There’s no way to sugarcoat it: replacing your furnace isn’t cheap. But think about the important role it plays in your home. Allowing an old, failing unit to limp along will cause issues in the long run, not to mention the additional cost of repairs. A new furnace will only save you money in the long run through better efficiency, a longer lifespan, and lower utility costs—ahem, not having to call out the repairman for the umpteenth time during winter. One of the first things to consider when choosing a new furnace is the cost of replacing the unit itself. The national average cost of replacing a gas furnace falls between $1,200 and $2,400, including installation. An electric furnace, on the other hand, averages from about $700 to $2,000 with installation. When comparing those numbers, the financial choice seems obvious to go with an electric furnace. When comparing the long-term costs, however, a gas furnace costs less to operate because it uses fuel, which is MUCH cheaper than the electricity it takes to run an electric unit. In recent years fuel prices, such as natural gas often used by gas furnaces, have dropped while electricity costs have continued to climb. Compare the estimated yearly cost of a gas furnace to heat the average sized American home at $574 to the yearly cost of a fully electric furnace system at $1,965. Don’t worry, more than just cost goes into the equation.

Installation and Maintenance

While most homeowners choose either gas or electric heat based on which unit their home was set up for, that doesn’t mean you can’t change it. Installing an electric furnace is going to be much less invasive than a gas furnace. Because an electric furnace doesn’t need to vent to the exterior on a home they can be installed just about anywhere, with little disruption to your home’s exterior or daily routine. An electric furnace is also fairly easy to maintain. While regular maintenance by a professional is recommended, much of the smaller maintenance requirements, such as changing filters and checking efficiency, can be done by the homeowners. Installing a gas furnace can be a bit more involved. If your home was never set up for gas, running the pipes and getting gas to your home can be an expensive upfront cost. Calling your local gas company will give you an idea of the cost to rung as lines, if they are even an option where you live. You also must already have a forced air ductwork system in place for gas heat to be an option. There is also more maintenance required with a gas furnace, much of which requires the help of a professional. Because natural gas emits carbon monoxide, the risk of a leak must be considered, as well as installing carbon monoxide detectors in the home.

Efficiency of Unit

With efficiency of heating in mind, gas takes the high scorehere. Electric furnaces are inefficient because they must first create heatbefore distributing it, versus heat transfer of gas units. This requires moreenergy ($$$) to create that heat upfront. Because it takes longer to createthat heat, electric furnaces also take longer to heat your home. In a colderclimate, this may put additional strain on your unit as it will struggle tomeet the heating demands set by the homeowner and thermostat. Gas on the otherhand, creates powerful, fast heat. Electric furnaces tend to perform better inwarmer climates, like the southern US, while gas is more efficient in colder climatesfurther north in maintaining a higher temperature, even in extreme conditions.Climate will sometimes become the determining factor in the choice of gasversus electric heat, based off these comparisons.

Carbon Footprint

While it may not be the determining factor on whether ahomeowner will choose gas versus electric heat, environmental impact is comingup more and more in conversation about the sustainability of natural resourcesand heating costs. There is a lot of information arguing for both sides onwhich is the cleaner resource, but there are a few facts to share. Over 60% ofelectricity generated in the US comes from converting fossil fuels intoelectricity, including coal, natural gas, and petroleum. Coal is considered tobe the post polluting of all fossil fuels when factoring in not only thecombustion process, but the mining process as well. Gas furnaces typically usenatural gas, which is one of the cleanest-burning fossil fuels available,making it a good option when comparing to the fossil fuels used by other typesof heat. But because of the extraction process, it has been under fire foremissions and environmental impact.

City Heating & Air Conditioning: Helping You Choose The Best Fit For Your Home

So, what does it boil down to when choosing between a gas and electric furnace?  Personal preference, really. The most important factor for both the environment and your bank account is finding the best heating solution for your home in terms of efficiency. Using as little energy as possible keeps your home warm and cost slow. When it comes time to choose a new gas or electric furnace, let the experts at City Heating & Air Conditioning help you make the best decision based on your budget, energy needs, location, and efficiency concerns! For over50 years we have proudly served East Tennessee with honesty and integrity a sour cornerstone. Our experienced technicians install, maintain, build and service a variety of HVAC systems and carry only name brand HVAC units, parts and accessories while offering no hassle annual inspections and more. Are you looking for help with your heating and cooling service and installation needs? Contact us today for a free quote or to schedule a consultation!