How Does A Electric Furnace Work? 13 Facts You Should Know

To understand how an electric furnace works, you need to know what it is and the components that make it up. Different types of electric furnaces exist, and each works differently.

In this section, we’ll go over what an electric furnace is, its different types, and the components that make it function.

What is an Electric Furnace?

how does a electric furnace work

Electric furnaces are a type of furnace system and a great way to heat your home. No need for conventional fossil fuels, just a heating element that produces warmth and blows it through your ductwork.

Suitable for small houses or apartments, multiple units may be needed for larger homes.

Different Types of Electric Furnaces

Electric furnaces are popular in many industrial and residential settings, due to their energy efficiency and easy maintenance. They vary in size, heating capacity, and features. 

Here is a quick summary of common types of electric furnaces.

Central FurnaceLarge size, ductwork system, high capacityLarger homes, commercial buildings
Wall-mountedCompact size, easy installation and maintenanceSmall apartments and offices
PortableLightweight, easily movable, low capacitySpot heating or temporary use
Forced AirBlower fan provides efficient heat distributionHeating large areas quickly

Electric Furnace Components

Electric Heating Unit Components make use of various parts that work together to produce heat. 

  • Additional components are attached for air quality and comfort, such as air filters and e-furnace controllers. 
  • These Electric Heating Unit Components work together to provide a comfortable environment.
  • The global electric furnace market size is expected to reach $11.6 billion by 2026. Skip the firewood and plug in an electric furnace.

Key components are,

  • Resistive heating elements
  • Thermostat
  • Circuit breakers
  • Transformer
  • Sequencer switch
  • Fan

These parts control and regulate the temperature of the system. Let’s look at the table below:

Resistive heating elementsSource of heat
ThermostatMonitors and adjusts temperature
Circuit breakersProtects from overloading
TransformerChanges voltage
Sequencer switchMaintains sequence
FanDistributes heat

How Does an Electric Furnace Work?

To help you understand how your electric furnace functions, let me walk you through the whole process. 

Electric furnaces are operated by an impressive and efficient system that results in ideal heating conditions in your home. 

Overview of the Operating Principle

Electric furnaces use electricity to generate heat. A heating element, made from nickel-chromium alloy, converts electrical energy into thermal energy. 

Safety devices, such as a limit switch, keep the furnace from overheating. 

Investing in an electric furnace is a great way to ensure your home stays warm and comfortable during winter.

Electric Furnace Heating Process

  • Electric furnaces take cold air and pass it over coils. The coils heat up when electricity passes through them, warming the air. 
  • This heated air is sent through ducts to heat the building.
  • The heating element is made of nickel-chromium alloy wire. When the electricity passes through, it creates heat. 
  • The thermostat controls how much power goes to the element, to make sure the heat is regulated.
  • Electric furnaces are efficient, converting almost all energy into heat. They don’t need a chimney to exhaust gasses outside either. 

Heating Element and Heat Exchanger

Electric furnaces have crucial heating components. The electrical resistance, finned high-resistance wires generate the heat. 

The heat exchanger absorbs the heat and sends it through the ventilation.

Forced air or water in some exchangers = added energy efficiency

Heating Capacity Of The Electric Furnace

To increase your home’s heating capacity, you need the right electric furnace with the right type of heating elements. These are excellent options to boost your home’s heating system

  • One-stage
  • Two-stage
  • Variable-speed electric furnaces

In this section, we will explain the difference between these three subsections to guide you in choosing the best heating capacity for your home.

One-Stage Electric Furnaces

Single-stage electric furnaces provide heating with just one stage. They’re usually cheaper to buy and install. But, they may not be as efficient at keeping you comfy as multi-stage units.

Check out the key features of One-Stage Electric Furnaces in the table below:

Heating Capacity40,000 to 140,000 BTUs
Efficiency RatingUp to 95% AFUE
Airflow SpeedVariable speeds available
WarrantyTypically 5-10 years

Two-Stage Electric Furnaces

  • Electric furnaces with two-stage heating capacity are becoming increasingly popular. 
  • Their advanced tech provides more heat when needed and less when not. This optimizes energy usage.
  • Features include less operating cost, high efficiency, dual heat outputs and precision temperature control. 
  • Traditional furnaces operate at full capacity or not at all, while dual heat outputs allow the electric furnace to provide the right amount of heat.

Variable Speed Electric Furnaces

Electric Heating Systems with Adjustable Speed. These furnaces can modify their heating capacity. 

They have a blower motor that adjusts its speed according to the thermostat’s requirements. 

This makes them an effective and reasonable option for improving home comfort while using energy efficiently.

These furnaces let you control each room’s temperature, offering homeowners customisation. They are quiet and fit even in small spaces.

The adjustable feature allows you to regulate the furnace’s run time and heat production. 

Here’s a table of commonly known types of variably electrical furnaces:

Name of FurnaceMax. BTUHMin. BTUHEfficiency (%)
Goodman GMVC961000004000096
Lennox ML180E900004500080
Trane TEM81080006000080

Maintenance and Safety Of Electric Furnace

To keep your electric furnace running smoothly and safely for years to come, it’s important to take proper care and maintenance measures. 

  • Neglecting any part may result in malfunctions, higher power bills, or safety hazards.
  • Remember to replace clogged filters before winter to maintain indoor air quality and extend furnace life.
  • Keep records of service dates, parts replaced, and symptoms reported so technicians can diagnose malfunctions quickly.
  • Locally sourced minerals support renovation projects at Colorado’s famous Ice Castles, which need continuous care with snowfall and seasonal change.
  • Be careful when working with electricity and your furnace – take precautions to make it a safe experience.

Proper maintenance of your electric furnace is vital for safety. Regular upkeep can stop breakdowns, ensure efficiency, and extend its life. 

A 6-step guide to keep your electric furnace in peak condition:

1Check air filters monthly.
2Clean the blower assembly yearly.
3Inspect the belt for tension and wear.
4Lubricate motor bearings annually.
5Monitor the electrical connections.
6Schedule annual professional servicing.

Electric Furnace Safety

Demand for electric furnaces is rising, so it’s vital to guarantee safety during maintenance. 

Circuit breakers and emergency switches should be in place. Inspect electrical systems and wiring for any fires that could start.

Keep the furnace area clean and clear of flammable objects. Install a carbon monoxide detector for extra protection. 

Never store hazardous chemicals, especially compressed gasses, close to the furnace.

Make sure the venting system has enough oxygen so dangerous emissions don’t escape. 

A Consumer Product Safety Commission report found that one-fifth of house fires sparked by heating gear were from electric heaters.

Inhaling carbon monoxide is like gambling with your life.

Carbon Monoxide and Ductwork

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. It can cause serious harm to your health. To avoid this, the ductwork in your house must be working properly. It can accumulate quickly in tight areas leading to complications or even death.

You must ensure your HVAC system is well-maintained and inspected. If not, it can lead to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide leaking into your home. 

Also, you should install CO detectors. Regularly maintain your HVAC system. This will help detect even small amounts of carbon monoxide, preventing risk to life.

Thousands of deaths have been caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. Homeowners must be aware of the risks of faulty ductwork and bad ventilation systems. 

Electric Furnace Vs Gas Furnace

To compare electric furnaces with gas furnaces, you need to look at the efficiency and energy savings, heating system costs, and heating element lifespan. 

CriteriaElectric FurnaceGas Furnace
Efficiency and Energy savingsEnergy efficiency for electric furnaces is 100% (all electricity converted to heat).Gas furnaces can reach up to 98% (some heat lost through exhaust).
Heating system costsInitial CostMonthly Energy CostInitial CostMonthly Energy Cost
$1,000 – $6,000$45-$200$2,500 – $7,500$40-$150
Heating element lifespanElectric furnaces have fewer components, so they’re less prone to wear and tear and can last up to a 15-20 years.Gas furnaces have an advantage here, as their components usually last 20-30 years up to a decade longer than electric elements.

Installing an Electric Furnace

To install an electric furnace, you need to consider several factors. Size and capacity are crucial to ensure the furnace meets the heating needs of your home. 

Size and Capacity

For an electric furnace to function efficiently, the right Size and Capacity are essential. The size ensures correct heating and cooling, while capacity measures the energy needed for operation.

Check the table below for the right Size and Capacity based on household temperature requirements and square footage.

Size (in kW)Capacity 
1560,000 BTU
2080,000 BTU
25100,000 BTU

Air System Requirements

For optimal performance, Electric Furnace requires an air system to provide steady airflow. 

  • Ensure the filter size fits your Electric Furnace’s measurements. Choose ductwork size according to furnace output rating. 
  • Pick a Blower Motor with enough horsepower for consistent airflow in your home.
  • Before sealing/patching ductwork connections/vents, make sure they are insulated. This prevents energy losses and helps keep desired temperatures.

This system consists of a furnace filter, ductwork, and blower motor. Let’s discuss these components in more detail.

Furnace FilterCleans air before it reaches furnace
DuctworkTransports hot air from furnace
Blower MotorPushes air through ducts, maintains steady airflow

Parts and Equipment Needed

Gather all the components you need for successful electric furnace installation. Assemble everything before you start the process. 

Here are the five parts and equipment needed:

Circuit BreakerControls the electrical output and prevents overloading.
ThermostatRegulates the temperature and switches off when it reaches desired levels.
Air Filtration SystemFilters out contaminants for clean air.
DuctworkDistributes hot air to avoid cold spots.
Furnace Installation Kit It includes screws, clamps, duct tape, and more.

Is an Electric Furnace Right for Your Home?

Electric furnaces provide quiet operation, lower upfront costs, and are safer than gas furnaces without any combustion byproducts. However, they may be less energy efficient and have higher operating costs.

If you already have ductwork in place, switching to an electric furnace can be a more affordable option. But, having to replace or install ductwork will add to the overall cost. 

Take into account the size of your home and your desired level of comfort when making a decision. 

Smaller homes or those in milder climates may benefit from an electric furnace, in contrast to larger homes or areas with harsh winters that may require more heating power from a gas-powered furnace.

Hire a professional HVAC technician to evaluate your home’s needs and assist you in selecting the best furnace option. 

This can save you money on energy bills and provide reliable warmth throughout the winter. 

Factors to Consider Before Buying A Electric Furnace

When buying a product, it’s important to take into account various factors that can affect quality. 

Before committing to a choice, spend some time thinking about the key aspects that will make a difference.

Evaluating product quality in terms of durability and performance can help avoid substandard products that won’t meet expectations.

It’s also crucial to consider details like brand reputation and product reviews from other customers. 

Knowing a product has a reputable brand or positive feedback can add security and confidence.

Consumer Reports 2019 report suggests 80% of consumers rely on online reviews when making purchasing decisions. 

Heeding these recommendations can help make informed choices while buying goods and services.

Choosing the Right Electric Furnace for Your Needs

When searching for an electric furnace, it’s important to make sure it suits your needs. With plenty of options, it’s hard to decide. 

Also take into account other features such as thermostats or air filters, which can improve your experience. 

Look at warranties and customer support from manufacturers. This helps you know what to expect when it comes to repairs.

A good quality electric furnace prevents costly repairs and upgrades. Remember to maintain it regularly to better its lifespan and performance.

Don’t forget to ask for advice from experts in the HVAC community. They will help you find the best electric furnace for you. 

By following these guidelines, you’ll be all set to use your electric furnace for years to come.

Here’s what to think about:

Heating CapacityWork out how many square feet need heating and pick a furnace accordingly.
Furnace SizeFactor in the size, as it affects energy efficiency and airflow.
Energy Efficiency RatingA higher rating means it’s more efficient – saving on energy bills in the long run.
Noise LevelIf noise is a concern, go for a low decibel rating.

Additional Features Of Electric Furnace

To help you make the most of your electric furnace, we’ve added a section on some additional features you might find useful. 

air filters and air handlers, thermostat and temperature control, and air conditioning and cooling options. 

Air Filters and Air Handlers Of Electric Furnace

Go beyond ordinary maintenance. The range of air filtration and handling features caters to the unique needs. 

The double-walled cabinets are presnet to prevent condensation build-up and a pneumatic tube system to keep cross-contamination away perfect for lab areas.

For example: 

Cooling coilsWhich absorb heat from the air and cool it.
Disposable filtersWhich are cost-effective and require low maintenance
Gel seal filtersWhich seal tightly against the filter track for improved IAQ and energy efficiency.

Thermostat and Temperature Control Of Electric Furnace

The electric furnace has tons of features like advanced temperature control for optimal indoor conditions.

It also offers:

  • Personalized temp settings based on activity levels in the house.
  • Integration with voice assistants for voice commands.
  • Remote access for temp adjustment via mobiles.
  • Automatic adjustment during extreme weather.
  • Save energy costs & max comfort by setting optimal temps when you’re away.

Air Conditioning and Cooling Options Of Electric Furnace

Regulating air quality is essential for our well-being. Here, we have put together some options to keep air in your home fresh and breathable for everyday comfort.

Air ConditioningUses refrigerants and ductwork to cool and move air around.
Ventilation SystemsBrings in outdoor air or expels indoor air to circulate air properly.
Air FiltersRemoves particles from the air using HEPA or electrostatic filters.

Utility Bills and Energy Cost Of Electric Furnace

Domestic utility bills are payments for things like electricity, water, and gas. You can find these costs in a table organized by service or month. 

For example, July’s electricity and water would be $100 and $50 respectively. But these amounts can vary based on where you live and the season.

Heating and Cooling Reliability

The functioning and dependability of temperature control systems are crucial for any building. 

Ensuring desired temperatures is key. Fluctuations can cause discomfort or damage equipment. 

Regular maintenance and servicing help their longevity. Clean filters, dust-free, and optimal airflows are vital. 

Many modern heating systems have proactive monitoring software to spot potential issues.

Green energy sources, like solar-powered heating systems, offer a stable, reliable source. Provided the Panels are not blocked by foliage or debris.

Installation is vital to ensure optimal performance. Hire professionals for correct sizing and precise fitting. 

Heating Options for Different Climates

Different regions have distinct climates, needing specific heating. To meet such requirements, there are many types of heating systems. 

  • Areas with power cuts may need backup generators or standalone heaters. 
  • Central heating generally works best for consistent warmth in homes. 
  • Radiant is great for energy-efficiency, while ductless is ideal for moderate climates. 
  • Research and consider all factors before selecting the best heating option for your region.

Here’s a table comparing features such as usage and cost.

Radiant SystemsClimate TypeUsageCost
Central HeatingColder ClimatesFrequent use day and night.High initial cost but energy-efficient over time.
Ductless Mini-SplitModerate Climate with Mild WintersIntermittent use in colder days or nights.Moderate initial cost, energy-efficient but parts may need replacing.


To wrap up, let’s go through some final thoughts on electric furnaces and determine whether it’s the right choice for you. Before making any decisions, you need to understand several factors to help you determine if it’s suited for your home.