Are Electric Furnaces Better Than Gas? Comparative Analysis

Electric and gas furnaces

Are Electric Furnaces Better Than Gas

Electric and gas furnaces are two possible heating options for homes. It’s important to understand the differences before deciding.

Electric furnaces use electric coils to convert electricity into heat. Gas furnaces use natural gas or propane fuel to create heat with a burner. Electric furnaces are easier to install and maintain. But, they’re not always as energy efficient as gas furnaces. Even so, electric furnaces may be more cost-effective and have less environmental impact.

One advantage of electric furnaces is that they don’t need gas lines or flue access. And, they don’t burn fossil fuels like oil or natural gas, reducing the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Still, electric furnaces may require coil cleaning and pose a leak risk on installation.

Furnace history dates back to ancient Rome. Hypocausts circulated warm air from fire pits beneath buildings’ floors. Today, HVAC systems use heat pumps and air-source heat pumps to cool/heat homes in all kinds of climates.

Differences between electric furnaces and gas furnaces

To help you make a decision on which type of furnace to choose for your home, in order to heat your interiors effectively, let’s discuss the differences between electric and gas furnaces. We will look into the key sub-sections, which are the benefits and cons of electric furnaces, as well as the benefits and cons of gas furnaces. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each system will give you a sense of which system is more suitable for your home, climate, and budget considerations.

Benefits of electric furnaces

Electric furnaces boast several advantages that make them popular among homeowners. Electricity is the fuel source, and it offers distinct benefits not available with gas furnaces. Here are some impressive benefits:

  • Energy Efficiency: Electric furnaces convert all the electrical energy into heat energy, using it intelligently to maintain optimal temperature levels indoors. This is more energy-efficient than gas furnaces as they do not lose any energy in combustion.
  • No need for venting: Electric heating does not require any ventilation infrastructure for combustion gasses or fumes. So, no costly installation and no worries about a faulty ventilation system.
  • Low carbon footprint: Electric furnace heating does not contribute to environmental pollution since there’s no combustion involved. Unlike gas heating methods, especially ones utilized in old heating systems or traditional boilers.
  • Quiet performance: Electric furnaces do not produce any noise during operation, making them an excellent option for those who want silent heating.

Electric heaters employ clean technology. So, no need to continually replace filters or face the same level of upkeep as gas machinery like oil tanks.

When installing an electric furnace, consider the system size. It depends on factors like home type and insulation level. Hire certified professionals who can determine which system-size suits your house best, while following safety guidelines and codes. Electric furnaces may not be hot in terms of flames, but their energy efficiency is off the charts!

Energy efficiency of electric furnaces

Electric furnaces are an energy-efficient alternative to gas furnaces. They convert electricity into heat with almost no losses, making them highly efficient. Efficiency-wise, electric furnaces surpass their gas counterparts.

Electric furnacesGas furnaces
Electric furnaces have an efficiency rating of 95%-100%Gas furnaces it’s 80%-98% of energy efficiency rating
Electric furnaces last 20-30 yearsGas furnaces last for 15-20 years
Electric furnaces emit no pollutants,Gas furnaces release carbon dioxide and other gasses
Are Electric Furnaces Better Than Gas

To choose the best type of furnace for you, consider your local climate and the availability of electricity or natural gas supply. Plus, electric furnaces can save you lots of money on repairs.

Lower maintenance and repair costs for electric furnaces

Electric furnaces have some cool benefits over gas furnaces. Homeowners can save money on heating bills and enjoy a more convenient experience. Let’s explore this in depth.

  • Electric furnaces are simpler in design, with fewer moving parts. This means there are less components to break or malfunction, which lowers maintenance costs. And electric furnaces don’t need annual inspections or tune-ups, like gas furnaces – so that saves more money.
  • An electric furnace doesn’t need a combustion process. Gas furnaces require cleaning and inspection of the burner assembly, to stop carbon monoxide leaks. Since electric furnaces don’t use combustion, there is no need for these checks.
  • No pilot light in electric furnaces either. This reduces chances of malfunctions from faulty ignition systems or gas supply issues. Thus, fewer repair needs and costs.

Electric furnaces still have problems related to electrical components or wiring. But these problems are usually easier and cheaper to fix than gas furnace malfunctions.

No risk of carbon monoxide poisoning with electric furnaces

Electric furnaces are a safer option than gas furnaces. They create heat without combustion. This means no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, so it can be hard to detect. Electric furnaces eliminate the need for ventilation and worry about gas leaks.

Electric furnaces require less upkeep. No burners, valves, or fuel lines to maintain. They are also quieter and more energy-efficient.

However, even with proper maintenance and ventilation, gas furnaces can still emit small amounts of carbon monoxide. The CDC reports that over 400 people die annually in the US from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning.

Benefits of gas furnaces

Switching to a gas furnace can be a great choice for homeowners. It has several benefits, such as being highly efficient and cost-effective. Plus, it can be easily installed in any home that has existing gas lines. It also provides consistent heat output and requires little maintenance.

Gas furnaces are also environmentally friendly. They have low carbon footprints and emit fewer pollutants into the atmosphere than oil furnaces. Plus, they are super quiet, making them perfect for bedrooms and other quiet spaces.

It is important to get a professional to install your gas furnace. And, it is also important to regularly clean and maintain it to keep it running smoothly.

Overall, gas furnaces are energy-efficient, cost-effective, easy-to-install, and low-maintenance. Plus, they are eco-friendly and virtually silent. Get a gas furnace and enjoy warm winters without breaking the bank!

Lower operating costs for gas furnaces

Gas furnaces are a great option for homeowners looking to save money on their utility bills. Natural gas or propane is cheaper than the electricity needed for electric furnaces. They offer many advantages for lower operating costs:

  • Cheaper fuel sources.
  • More efficient usage.
  • Longer lifespan.
  • Energy savings with a programmable thermostat.
  • Government rebates.
  • Zone heating.

The upfront costs of gas furnaces may be higher than electric ones, but long-term savings make them worth it. Ensure your home has access to the right fuel and get professional installation and regular maintenance.

Better performance in cold climates for gas furnaces

Gas furnaces often outperform electric furnaces in cold climates. Let’s see why. Gas furnaces burn natural gas or propane and produce heat faster than electric furnaces. They have cheaper running costs, but expensive installation due to ventilation and piping systems. Electric furnaces use electric elements, they cost less to install, but take longer to heat up.

Plus, gas furnaces can work during power outages, while electric furnaces can’t. So, if you live in an area with harsh winters, a gas furnace may be your best choice.

Cons of electric furnaces

Electric furnaces have their downsides. They consume lots of electricity, which could raise your energy bills. Also, their heating capacity is limited, so they may not be suitable for large homes. Plus, they don’t have the heat intensity of gas furnaces or warm up as quickly.

But electric furnaces have their benefits too. They don’t emit gasses or fumes, so they are safer and less likely to malfunction. You won’t need a chimney or ductwork either!

Before investing in an electric furnace, consider your local energy costs and budget. Plus, get a professional technician to advise on the best heating system for you.

Higher installation costs for electric furnaces

Electric furnaces can cost more to install than their gas counterparts. Things to keep in mind include:

  1. Buying an electric furnace can be pricier.
  2. Rewiring may be needed for energy needs.
  3. Specialized electricians are required
  4. Extra equipment like circuit breakers and wires for high voltage come with extra costs. Complex ductwork may also add to the installation costs.

To help with these expenses, work with an experienced HVAC contractor who specializes in electric furnaces. Financing options, such as rebates for using energy-efficient models, are also available.

When looking to install an electric furnace, initial costs should be taken into account. Additionally, any existing wiring systems may need to be upgraded or replaced.

Limited heating capacity for large homes with electric furnaces

Electric furnaces are known for their energy efficiency and clean operation. But they come with a limit to their heating power. This can become a problem for larger homes, where electric furnaces may have trouble keeping up during cold months. They consume more energy, take longer to heat spaces, and lead to higher electricity bills.

Also, electric furnaces have smaller sizes and lower fuel inputs than gas furnaces. So, they don’t generate as much heat. This means they may not be suitable in areas with long, harsh winters or freezing temperatures.

Data from the US Department of Energy shows electric heating systems provide about 40% of energy used for space heating in American households. Although there are issues with using them for bigger homes, many people still think they are cost-effective and eco-friendly options

Cons of gas furnaces

Considering a gas furnace? There are several things to be aware of before you purchase. 

  • Installation costs can be high due to specialized ventilation and piping systems
  • Gas furnaces are less energy efficient than electric ones, meaning higher bills in the long run
  • Potential carbon monoxide poisoning is a risk. 
  • Regular maintenance is necessary, such as checking for leaks, tuning burners and ignition systems, and replacing filters.

Gas prices may be lower than electricity, but the long-term cost may be too great. Prospective buyers should think carefully before making a decision. 

Risk of carbon monoxide poisoning with gas furnaces

Gas furnaces are a common home heating source in winter. But they also could cause carbon monoxide poisoning. This gas is colorless and odorless, and can be very dangerous for your health.

To prevent this risk, it’s important to have regular maintenance on the furnace. This means cleaning and inspecting it by a certified technician annually. Plus, you should install carbon monoxide detectors around your house.

If levels of carbon monoxide are detected, quickly leave the house and call emergency services. Symptoms include headaches, nausea and dizziness. 

Higher maintenance and repair costs for gas furnaces

Gas furnaces need more attention than electric ones. The Reasons include

  1. Pro checks are needed. That includes cleaning and inspecting burners, heat exchanger, and pilot light.
  2. Breakdowns happen more often. That means more repair costs. Plus, components are complex so repairs can be costly.

To control gas furnace costs, do certain things. 

  • Change air filters to prevent blockages and boost efficiency.  
  • Make sure the combustion system has clear vents. 
  • Get an annual maintenance contract with a reliable HVAC company.

Maintain your gas furnace regularly. That way, it’ll last longer and save you from pricey repairs. 


Choosing a furnace for home can be tough. But if you consider your needs and unique situation, it can save you money and provide efficient heat for years. Gas and electric furnaces both have advantages and disadvantages. Gas furnaces are usually cheaper with fuel, but electric furnaces have lower setup and upkeep costs. Gas furnaces come with a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and need proper ventilation or access to a gas line.

Electric systems don’t have those risks but might not be as efficient in cold climates. It depends on your needs. If you live in a mild climate and have affordable electricity, an electric furnace may work best. For colder climates with higher gas prices or more energy efficiency, a gas furnace may be better.  Don’t just consider upfront costs, think about long-term maintenance and repair expenses, environmental impact, utility bills over time, and safety risks. Weighing all these factors will help you decide the best heating system for your home.