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Gas vs Electric Furnace

Gas vs Electric Furnace

Do you live in a place where the temperature often falls below freezing? Well, your choice of furnace plays a significant role in keeping your room temperature normal, and the place warm enough for your family to enjoy a safe, warm, and pleasant stay. The right furnace makes an incredibly cold temperature bearable.

Usually, energy efficiency is the first thing that homeowners consider when selecting a furnace for their homes, but there are other important factors too. For families looking for a heating system, the choice often comes down to two—an electric furnace and a gas furnace.

Furnaces installed in your homes can operate on electricity, gas, and heating oil. The best of them can last up to 30 years. This system uses its vents and ducts to deliver heat across the room and bring the temperature of your place to normal levels. If you are confused between electrical and gas furnaces, this post is for you. We’ve covered both types of heating systems in detail, their pros and cons, lifespan, efficiency, and other factors. Read on to learn more about these heating systems.

Table of Contents

What is a Gas Furnace?

A gas furnace operates on natural gas. The system is activated as soon as the burner is ignited. The system consists of a metal heat exchanger, which heats cold air from your room. This air is then distributed all across your home through the air ducts. Modern heating systems come with a thermostat that allows users to set an ideal temperature for the room.

The flame will stay lit until the room has reached the set temperature. It reads the setting from the thermostat and keeps warming your room. The flame turns off automatically, as soon as the number in the thermostat crosses your desired heating level.

Likewise, the gas furnace ignites the burner automatically when the temperature in your room falls below your expected levels. You can configure this setting in your thermostat and change it whenever you like. When the temperature falls, the thermostat signals your furnace to light the burner and heat the metal exchanger so that it can heat up the room again. The cycle continues. You can also operate the gas furnace manually.

To install a gas furnace, you need a gas line in your place. You also need a flue, which is responsible for taking the waste air out of your home. A flue is a safety component that detects safety issues with your furnace at an early stage and shuts the system down to prevent a gas leak in your house.

Since the system requires natural gas to run, it’s considerably cheaper and more efficient than its electric counterpart. The gas is directly pulled from the combustion chamber and is used to heat the exchanger. Once it’s heated, the hot air is pumped into your room. A gas furnace has a simple structure and an easy working system, making it the best choice for most households.


  • It is cheaper to run than an electric furnace
  • Heats up quickly
  • It is energy efficient
  • It’s versatile and durable


  • It requires a flue to vent the air outside
  • Since it runs on gas, it can cause carbon monoxide leakage
  • Expensive installation

What is an Electric Furnace?

An electric furnace is just like a gas furnace, except it doesn’t run on natural gas. It uses electricity to ignite the burner and heat the metal exchanger. The cold air from the room is pulled into the furnace and is heated with coils. An electric furnace is connected to the thermostat, which determines the ideal temperature for your room.

It also triggers the heating systems as soon as the temperature in your home drops below acceptable levels. Once the air is heated, the heating unit distributes it throughout your room. One of the major advantages of having an electric furnace in your home is that it doesn’t have a flue that could vent the air out. Since there’s no air loss, the heated air stays within the room and keeps it warm.

Electric furnace makes sense for households that do not have a direct gas line. If you want a gas furnace, you are going to have to install a gas line, which can cost above $1000. Plus, having a gas furnace carries some risk. There’s a possibility of carbon monoxide leaking into the air and poisoning the atmosphere in your place. With gas out of the picture, electric furnaces tend to be safer and a healthier choice.

Last but not least, electric furnaces are considered the best choice for homeowners because they do not produce any sound. These noise-free furnaces offer excellent comfort and are super convenient.


  • Cheap installation
  • Better safety (as there’s no risk of gas leakage in your home)
  • Long-lasting heating system
  • Highly efficient
  • Easy to install
  • Requires less maintenance


  • Higher operating cost
  • It takes time to heat your room

Now that you know what an electric and gas furnace is, find the best furnace installation service in your area and get quotes. Note that the installation is not a DIY job. The furnace installer near Clayton, NC will find the most suitable place for your furnace (based on the gas line if you choose a gas furnace) and configure the temperature settings on the thermostat.

Both heating systems work on thermostats, so managing them won’t be a hassle. They will start and stop automatically, thus saving you considerably on your energy bills.

Let’s get to the differences between the two.

Electric Furnace Vs Gas

Durability, Installation, Maintenance, Cost, Efficiency, and Other Factors

Electric and gas furnaces are designed to heat a room by keeping the temperature to your desired levels. It reads the thermostat and ignites the burner when the temperature falls below freezing or your set limits. Although they have the same functions and purposes, both work very differently. Let’s learn about the common differences between the two.

Electric Vs Gas Furnace: Purchase and Installation Cost

Determining the best and most suitable furnace on the basis of cost can be a little tricky. The electric furnace has a lower upfront cost. It’s cheaper to buy and install than a gas furnace, but the latter has a lower operating cost.

The purchasing and installation cost of buying a furnace can be up to $5000. The average cost of a gas furnace is around $2000 and the same for an electric furnace is $800. It’s just the average, though. The cost can be higher for premium brands. You can also choose special components, like a variable speed blower that keeps the room temperature normal and consistent in all rooms.

Add to this the installation cost of approx $4000, and you will get a $5000+ bill. The installation cost is higher for those switching from electric furnaces to gas. That’s because the labor work includes adding a gas line and a flue to provide air sufficient space to exit your house. As mentioned earlier, furnace installation is not a DIY task. Unless you are a licensed and certified technician, you shouldn’t attempt to install an electric or gas furnace on your own.

An electric furnace is cheaper to buy and install, as it doesn’t require ductwork and a gas line.

Electric Vs Gas Furnace: Operating Cost

It’s important to compare the operating cost of each system before making a decision. Gas furnaces might be expensive to purchase and install, but it’s comparatively cheaper to operate than electric furnaces. Since natural gas is a cost-effective method to ignite the burner, it’s obvious that you will pay much less in your electricity bills than electric furnace owners.

The latter runs on electricity and can raise your bills dramatically in chilly weather. Of course, thermostats can save electricity to a great extent, but there’s still a big difference in the operating cost of each system. Researchers believe that a gas furnace is 2.5 times more expensive than its electric counterpart, in terms of operational cost.

Electric Vs Gas Furnace: Durability

In general, electric furnaces have a longer lifespan than gas. It can last up to 30 years given proper maintenance and care. A gas furnace can also last 15-20 years. It’s important to call a professional technician annually to check your furnace.

Electric furnaces are more durable than gas. That’s because the former has fewer components, requiring fewer repairs than their gas counterparts. The latter comes with additional components with a flue and gas line. There’s a higher risk of the furnace breaking down if not repaired and serviced as and when needed.

Electric Vs Gas Furnace: Repair and Maintenance

The regular maintenance in each furnace is pretty much the same, although repair and maintenance costs can vary. Since a gas furnace is expensive, its repair cost is also higher than an electric furnace.

Regular furnace maintenance involves changing the filter regularly so that the air quality remains unaffected. It’s important to check the filter and replace it every few months, as it can obstruct the airflow. Likewise, the heat exchanger needs to be cleaned regularly and air ducts must be sealed. Not maintaining the furnace—be it the gas or electric—will not only affect the energy usage, but it can deteriorate the system fast.

Maintenance is more important in gas furnaces than in electric heating systems. Since it carries a risk of carbon monoxide leakage, you need to check it regularly to ensure there’s no gas leakage in your home. Besides that, a damaged or inefficient furnace can trigger allergies by causing dirt and dust to spread throughout the room. To keep the system in good condition and maintain efficiency, you need to check the filters and other components of your furnaces regularly. Never heat a vacant house and do not ignore serious leaks.

Electric Vs Gas Furnace: Safety

Everyone wants to install a heating system that does not pose any health risk to their families. Fortunately, both gas and electric furnaces are considered safe unless in rare cases when one of the components fails or something goes wrong with the system. Safety issues can occur with a gas furnace.

Carbon monoxide leakage is one such issue that can lead to serious health problems if left unaddressed for a long time. To avoid that, check your air ducts regularly to ensure the gas is released outside consistently. Any sign of leakage in your room should be addressed immediately. Electric furnaces do not emit carbon monoxide, so it’s comparatively safer. That said, an electric furnace doesn’t necessarily cause any issues if it’s serviced regularly.

To ensure the safety of your gas furnace, install a carbon monoxide detector. Check it regularly to see if it’s working well.

Electric Vs Gas Furnace: Heating Capacity

If you have a good budget and are looking for the best product, you need to assess the heating capacity of each furnace to arrive at the best decision. Fortunately, both furnaces are designed to heat your home to your desired temperature.

As soon as you have configured the temperature settings in the thermostat, you can rest easy knowing that the system will turn on and off automatically. The ignition is triggered when the temperature falls below the levels you have set in the thermostat. A gas furnace is more energy efficient than its electric counterpart. As it consumes less energy and runs on natural gas, it takes up less electricity than an electric furnace.

Make sure you check the electric heat vs gas heat monthly operational cost before making a decision.

Gas vs Electric Furnace

This was all about electric vs gas furnaces. Each has its own pros and cons. While a gas furnace has a low operating cost and is an energy-efficient option, the electric furnace has a low installation cost and requires reasonable maintenance. Both offer excellent heating capacity and are designed to work in conjunction with a thermostat that adjusts the temperature of the heating devices automatically.

For more information about the best heating system for your home, reach out to us. We are a leading furnace installer near Smithfield, NC. Our technicians can help you choose the most suitable furnace for your home.

Gas vs Electric Furnace
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