Difference Between Gas And Electric Furnaces


The winter months are just around the corner. The cold is going to set in soon. It’s time to think about your heating system. If you are getting ready to install a furnace for the first time or replace your existing system, do your research first. Understand the difference between a gas and an electric furnace before you make a decision.

Consider Your Existing Hookup

If you already have a furnace or your new home has already been built, you should have a specific type of hookup already in place. A gas furnace will connect to a gas line running to your home. An electric furnace will need a 220-volt breaker when you are ready to connect it to your power source. As you research the best furnace in Canada, you’ll need to consider more than the cost and efficiency of the unit.

You also need to consider the additional cost of changing your existing hookup if you switch to an alternative heating unit. Switching to electric will mean having your gas line disconnected. You may need new wiring and duct work installed as well. You’ll need to stick with the same type of unit you have if you don’t plan on making any changes to your connections.

How a Gas Furnace Works

The primary difference between a gas furnace and an electric furnace is the source of heat. A gas furnace will connect to a gas line that delivers natural gas to the heating unit. It will also have a pilot light. This tiny flame is always burning in your furnace.

When the temperature drops to the temperature set on your thermostat, it will signal your pilot light to cause the gas to ignite. At this point, your furnace will turn on and begin heating your home. A gas furnace tends to heat more quickly. If you have a large home or your winters are harsh with an extreme drop in temperature, gas heating is more efficient. Your heating costs should be comparable to an electric furnace.

The lifespan of a gas unit is shorter than that of an electric furnace, coming in at about twenty years. You need to have your gas furnace serviced on an annual basis to clean it and check for any malfunctions. You run the risk of a gas leak with a gas furnace. Carbon monoxide poisoning is also an increased risk. Regular maintenance from a heating and cooling company you trust can ensure you have a safe heating system.

How an Electric Furnace Works

An electric furnace uses electricity as a heating source. It has an electric ignition that will turn on the furnace when the thermostat indicates the temperature has dropped to a temperature set by you. Air is drawn into your furnace, where it is sent through the heat exchanger. Electricity will cause the heating components in the furnace to warm up.

Finally, the warm air will be delivered to your home through ducts and vents. This system will need more time to bring your home up to your desired temperature. You may end up running your furnace more, resulting in higher heating costs. However, an electric furnace means less maintenance. It can also last for thirty years. If you run into any mechanical problems, your repair bill will tend to be lower than it would be with a gas furnace. Gas furnaces generally mean higher costs for labor because they are complex.

Before you make a purchase, compare prices for gas and electric furnaces offered in your area. You should also make a final decision about sticking with your existing hookup or making a transition to another heating source. Always contact a professional service before you install a new heating system.

While it is possible to do it yourself, you can have peace of mind that the job will be done properly when you bring in the experts. You’ll also have work that is under warranty when heating and cooling technicians install your system. You may be out of luck if something malfunctions when you install it yourself. Regardless of what type of heating system you choose, put your heating system in the hands of trained technicians you trust.


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