Furnaces are one of the most widely varied home heating systems on the market. There is a huge difference in fuel types, ignition mechanisms, installation locations, and efficiency ratings that can be overwhelming to a homeowner looking for a furnace. One of the most common conundrums in furnace shopping is the choice between gas and electric. Let’s go through the pros and cons of each, and hopefully we can help you make the right decision.
Gas furnaces are a bit more common than electric furnaces across the country. This isn’t necessarily because they are better, but it does indicate a few of their strengths. Gas furnaces are installed because of their versatility and commonality. In other words, natural gas is widely available and can heat well in any environment. Gas furnaces are an older technology. As such, their parts are cheaper and replacements are very easy to find.
There are a few downsides to gas furnaces. For one, they really aren’t all that energy efficient. Natural gas can put out a high amount of heat when burned, but a lot of it goes to waste. This is especially true in older furnaces.
Electric furnaces are a newer furnace type, but are gaining in popularity. The primary reason to install an electric furnace is because they are more energy efficient. They can also be installed in areas where there are no natural gas lines, giving them a slight edge in more remote or underdeveloped areas. Electric furnaces run electricity through a heating coil, rather than relying on a flame from burning fuel. While electricity is more expensive than gas from a fuel perspective, almost none of the heat it generates goes to waste. This is what makes electric furnaces more energy efficient.
The major downside to electric furnaces is that they are more expensive to fix. The technology used in their construction is more complex, and therefore more difficult to repair. Because of their relative rarity, it may also be difficult to find companies that service them in your area.