Important Differences Between Gas And Electric Furnaces


Ever since furnaces came into existence they have used many different types of fuel sources. The earliest furnaces that were installed in homes were run off of wood and coal. However over time furnaces have became cleaner, more refined, and more efficient. Most furnaces today operate off of natural gas, electricity, or propane. Propane is slowly slipping out of the picture though so if you are installing a new furnace you are more than likely going to have to choose between a gas and electric furnace. Both types have many disadvantages and advantages, however you need to choose the one that best fits your home. Below is some information that will tell you exactly what the difference between a gas and electric furnace is.

Gas and Electric Furnaces

Both Gas and electric furnaces share a distribution system. They both have blower fans that move heated air through a duct system and out of the vents located inside your home. However the differences come in within the way that the heat is generated.

Gas Furnace

When the thermostat sends a signal to a gas furnace that heat is needed a silicon nitride igniter activates the gas-powered burners. Gas jets will ignite and create heat in something called the combustion chamber. The heat is the transferred to the air through a heat exchanger. The air then blows around and through the heat exchanger then the heated air gets picked up by the blower fans and sent into the ductwork.

Electric Furnace

An electric furnace does not have a burner or combustion chamber; instead the cabinet contains a wide variety of heating elements, which include sets of electric coils that burn hot when a current is sent through them. The more heat that the thermostat requires the more heating elements will turn on. The blower fans will then distribute the air warmed from the heating elements throughout your home.

Installation Costs

Electric furnaces have the advantages of lower initial installation costs and are generally smaller in size. If your home does not already have a gas line then an electric furnace is more than likely the best option for your heating system because they can be quite inexpensive to have someone put in. With an electric furnace you will usually not have to worry about any safety issues from potential gas leaks. Natural gas furnaces however may not be the cheapest to install but they are more likely to cost you less money in the long run. Since gas is a cheaper energy source than electricity they generally costs less to operate.

Equipment Costs

The actual equipment is where the high price comes in. The average price for a new gas furnace ranges from around $2,300 to $3,000 depending on the manufacturer and what size system your home requires. A new electric furnace can range anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500 also depending on the size that your home requires. Keep in mind however as mentioned above even though gas furnaces are more expensive to install they will save you the most money in the long run so cheaper is not always better.

Don’t Make A Rushed Decision

The most important thing to do when trying to decide on what type of furnace you want to put in your home is to never rush into your decision. Furnaces are not something that you just up and get a new one they generally last for a long time so you want to be sure to get the right one. It is important that you set aside the price and choose which one will best fit your home. Above are the differences between the two so you should be sure to take them into consideration when trying to choose which type you want to install.

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