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Electric vs Gas Heating: What’s The Difference?

March 22, 2022

When you’re looking for a new furnace, you want to decide if you should go with gas or electric. First, let’s talk about how furnaces work. When you set your thermostat to a certain temperature, when the air temperature starts to dip below that number, your furnace kicks in. With a gas furnace, the main burner will ignite the gas that runs into your home. Electric furnaces work the same way, but instead of a gas ignition system, they use electrical ignition.

There are pros and cons of each type of furnace unit, so we want to give you some of the basics:

Gas Furnace Pros

Gas is cheaper as a power source. Although there is a slightly larger cost to the initial purchase and installation of a gas furnace, natural gas is typically less expensive to heat your home, especially in colder climates like here in West Michigan.

Gas furnaces can heat your home faster. Gas furnaces are more heat efficient, meaning if you have a larger home, a gas furnace can heat your home more quickly than an electric furnace.

Most homes are built for a gas furnace. Most homes already have the ventilation system needed for a new gas furnace, so that will save you some time.

Gas Furnace Cons

Gas furnaces typically don’t last as long as electric ones. While there are many advantages to gas furnaces, one negative that sticks out is that even with proper maintenance, gas furnaces typically last 15-20 years where an electric furnace can last up to 30.

Gas heating has unique safety risks. When using natural gas to power your furnace, you run the risk of natural gas or carbon monoxide leaks. Installing a carbon monoxide detector near your gas furnace is a great way to maintain peace of mind.

Electric Furnace Pros

Electric furnaces typically last longer than gas furnaces. As mentioned above, a  gas furnace can last up to 20 years if they are getting routine maintenance, but electric heaters require very little maintenance and can last up to 30 years.

No venting needed. Since electric furnaces don’t contain or produce any harmful gasses, there is no need for chimneys or flues to vent out emissions.

Cheaper upfront costs. While electricity can be more expensive to heat your home in the long run, the initial purchasing cost and installation fees for an electric heater are less expensive.

The Bottom Line

Both electric and gas furnaces are great options, but if you have a larger living area that needs to be heated or if you live here in West Michigan, a gas furnace is likely going to be your best option.

Want to get an expert’s opinion? Call Godwin Heating & Cooling at (616) 243-3131 to schedule a free consultation and get a quote.


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