The Difference Between Gas and Electric Furnaces

As a new homeowner, you’re probably considering a number of factors regarding your heating system — including cost and efficiency. On top of that, you’ll need to have a reliable source of heat to keep your home warm. This is why it’s important to understand how gas and electric furnaces work.

Here are the key differences you should know about gas and electric furnaces.

How Gas and Electric Furnaces Are Powered

One of the most fundamental differences between gas and electric furnaces lies in how they are powered.

Gas furnaces, as the name suggests, are powered by natural gas. These operate when a thermostat is turned on, thus igniting gas jets within the combustion chamber to provide heat. Air then flows through the system’s heat exchanger and then through your ductwork, where the heat is finally dispersed through your home.

Electric furnaces, on the other hand, are powered by electricity. These are similar to gas furnaces, except these work by pulling air in through a cold-air return. The air is then heated through a heat exchanger and promptly distributed throughout the home.

The Difference in Cost

Another difference between the two furnaces are the differences in cost. This is a tricky question to answer as there are two factors to take into consideration: initial installation cost and your energy bills.

Electric furnaces generally cost less to install than gas, but the month-to-month bills can quickly rack up over time. So, while gas furnace installation may cost more upfront, it is important to recognize that gas bills are potentially lower for the most part — thus offsetting the debate of cost between gas and electric furnaces. 

But with that in mind, that begs the question — which is more energy efficient?

Comparing Energy Efficiency

When comparing energy efficiency between furnaces, it’s important to identify what exactly “energy efficiency” is. In this case, energy efficiency takes into account the input versus output of a heating system.

With this in mind, gas furnaces are more efficient in the fact that they heat up the air between 120 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, while electric furnaces heat up to 90 degrees, according to the HB Home Service Team. On top of that, the outlet notes that gas furnaces tend to heat up a home quicker than an electric furnace, which means you wouldn’t have to run your gas furnace for long periods of time compared to an electric one — thus saving you money and wasted energy.

The Impact on the Environment

One last thing to consider in the debate between furnace types is the impact on the environment. This is probably the weakest aspect of a gas furnace, as opposed to electric. 

When operating, gas furnaces, as expected, create one harmful byproduct for your home and the environment: carbon monoxide. With that said, gas furnaces are designed to remove the carbon monoxide in your home — though a weathered and compromised system can leak the potentially fatal gas. It’s best practice to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home.

Electric furnaces, however, don’t have this problem because of the lack of gas used in its operation. As a result, the lack of pollution creates a safer and healthier indoor environment.

Choosing Furnaces with Xtraire

At Xtraire, our experienced technicians can help you make the decision choosing between gas and electric furnaces for your new home. Whether it’s to save money or for environmental purposes, Xtraire’s experts are more than happy to guide you in the right direction. To learn more about how Xtraire can help you, please visit our website and contact us today!