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Is A Gas Furnace Better Than Electric?

Gas vs Electric, which to choose?

Choosing the right type of furnace for your home can positively impact the flow of the air in your home and the money of you spend on utility bills. If you find yourself in need of a new furnace for your home, deciding between gas and electric is one of the first choices you will make in the buying process.

So which are better—gas furnaces or electric?

A Look at Electric Furnaces

Price

The first thing you may notice about electric furnaces is that they are less expensive upfront. If you have not budgeted to replace your furnace, the lower price of an electric unit will seem attractive. But in most cases, the long-term cost of operating an electric furnace is higher than a gas one.

Safety

Electric furnaces also have the reputation for being safer than gas ones because they do not emit any carbon monoxide. Homeowners do not have to actively check the unit to see if it is operating safely; when something is going wrong with the unit, it is fairly obvious through interrupted service and rarely poses a danger to the people living in the home.

Installation

The installation process is easier with an electric furnace, done quickly by a certified professional without disrupting your household too much. Since the lifespan of most electric furnaces is 20 to 30 years, once it is installed it doesn’t need much. There are certainly some maintenance tasks like changing filters and scheduling regular tune-up appointments with a certified HVAC specialist, but altogether, an electric furnace is not difficult to own, have installed, or maintain.

Efficiency

For homeowners who are environmentally conscious, an electric furnace may not be an ideal choice because it is considered the least efficient way to heat a home. Most electricity is created through the burning of coal, which is a known cause of ozone depletion and other negative effects on human health.

A Look at Gas Furnaces

Price

You will spend more on a gas furnace unit, but lower utility bills will make up for that over the 10 to 20 years you own it. Energy obtained through natural gas is cheaper than electricity. This is a fact that is expected to remain true in the coming decades, with the cost gap likely widening too. Gas furnaces also work more quickly than their electric counterparts and operate with higher efficiency in extreme temperatures.

Safety

Any type of gas-powered appliance relies on combustion to operate, and combustion creates carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas. Exposure to it causes flu-like symptoms, dizziness, and confusion, and prolonged exposure causes death. Even though this is a scary thought, gas-powered appliances are safe when well-maintained and carbon monoxide is carried away from the home properly. Always have your gas furnace maintained 3-4 times per year, including changing filters, checking for leaks, and making sure the unit is in good overall condition. It is also important to keep all items cleared away from the furnace to prevent obstruction and fires. Contact a professional for help.

Installation

Unlike electric furnaces, the installation of gas ones is more complicated and requires the professional eye of a certified HVAC technician.

Efficiency

From an environmental perspective, natural gas furnaces are better for the earth because the fuel needed to create the energy burns much cleaner than the coal used for electricity. Some areas may not have as much access to gas energy, though electric furnaces will work in nearly every home.

The Final Decision

The decision to buy an electric or gas furnace comes down to preference on upfront costs, long-term utility costs, amount of maintenance required, and environmental concerns. You will own your furnace for at least a decade, so really weigh the options before making a purchase.
When you do decide on the unit you want, be sure to purchase it from a reputable HVAC company that will also provide professional installation and maintenance services to increase its lifespan.

How Your Central Heating System Works

How a Simple Furnace Works

Your central heating or furnace can comfortably heat your home and we take it for granted until it stops working. Our heating system can be a mystery as to how it works, so today we’ll pull back the curtain and reveal in this latest infographic how a simple furnace works to heat your home:

How Your Central Heating Works

How Central Heating System Replacement can Save You Money.

Why replace your central heating system?

A central heating system that is inefficient and not sealed correctly will waste a lot of energy which translates to overpayment on your utility bills! For every dollar you spend to heat your home you want to get back the most heating and comfort possible. The problem is that not all gas furnaces are the same, some have much higher efficiency than others. Also when a central heating system has air leaks, has been poorly installed, or not setup right, you waste that great efficiency.

In the example below we see a basic 80% gas furnace was installed, so for every dollar spent, 10 cents of our heat is lost up the vent pipe in burned gases. This home also has an average duct leakage of 30%, that means we’re losing 30 more cents of our heat into the attic. In total we are wasting at least 40 cents of every dollar we spend on our heating throughout the year. Finally, because there is little or no insulation in attic of this home, the heat produced leaves the home quickly and the furnace will run longer each day, raising your energy bills.
[image src=”http://bobjenson.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/gas-furnace-dia1.png” width=”596″ height=”350″ lightbox=”false” autoresize=”true” clickthrough=”false”]
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In this second example the home was upgraded with a 98% efficient gas furnace only allowing a 2% loss up the vent pipe! New sealed ducting was installed as well, with an allowed leakage rate of only 6%. This means that for every dollar spent on the heating in this home a full 92 cents goes right towards the actual comfort of the home. Since the attic insulation is at the proper levels the heat stays within the home, it’s more comfortable, and this homeowner sees an average of 20% less in their energy bills!
[image src=”http://bobjenson.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/gas-furnace-dia2.png” width=”596″ height=”350″ lightbox=”false” autoresize=”true” clickthrough=”false”]
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Of course these are simplified approximations of central heating system efficiency and there are many more variables involved as each home has unique challenges that effect overall energy savings. Call Bob Jenson A/C for a free in-home evaluation to determine how you can get the most out of every dollar you spend and increase your comfort and energy savings today!

Other Factors that Effect Heating Efficiency
  • Proper equipment installation & setup
  • Correct furnace size
  • Correct ductwork sizing, layout and balance
  • Programmable or learning thermostat
  • Multi-stage operation
  • Variable speed capability
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