Managing Your HVAC System

Compare a Gas and Electric Furnace When You Need to Have a New Furnace Installed

If your old furnace needs to be replaced, you might want to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of both a gas and electric furnace when you're choosing the replacement equipment. Either could be a good choice depending on your climate and existing hookups in your home. Here's how a gas and electric furnace compare when it comes to installation and operation.

Electric Equipment Is Less Expensive to Install

One thing that makes an electric furnace more appealing is the lower upfront cost. The equipment costs less and installation is usually faster and less expensive too. While a gas furnace costs more to install, it usually costs less to operate. A gas furnace is more efficient, and gas prices in your area may be lower than electric rates.

Furnace Installation Costs Are Affected by Hookups

If you don't already have natural gas or a propane tank at your home, then installing either option would add significantly to the expense of getting a gas furnace. Unless you just want to add gas hookups so you can enjoy a gas dryer, gas stove, or gas fireplace too, then you might have a hard time justifying the expense just to switch to a gas furnace. However, if you already have a gas hookup waiting near the furnace, then you could opt for a gas or electric model without worrying about the extra cost associated with hookups.

A Gas Furnace Needs to Vent Outdoors

Another consideration is that the furnace needs to vent toxic gasses outside. The contractor will have to install a flue from the furnace to the outside of your house, usually through the roof. You might also want to consider the potential risk of having a furnace that creates carbon monoxide that might escape into your home if the furnace malfunctions. An electric furnace uses electric heating elements rather than a flame so carbon monoxide isn't created and a flue is not needed.

A Gas Furnace Might Be Best for a Cold Climate

Your decision may come down to your local climate because keeping warm in your home is important and you want a furnace that's capable of heating your space properly. A gas furnace is not only more efficient at making heat, it has more heating power. For that reason, you may want to go with gas if you live where winters get very cold.

An electric furnace is suitable for warmer climates. Although an electric furnace is less expensive to buy, cheaper to install, lasts longer, and may need fewer repairs, it isn't always the most suitable choice. If you're having a hard time making up your mind, talk to your furnace installation contractor and get advice based on your heating needs and the existing power connections.