Should I Choose an Electric or Gas Furnace?

When it gets cold, you need a way to keep your home warm. That’s a given, but finding the best way to accomplish your home heating is a little less straight-forward. The reality is that there are so many variables at play that there’s no one-size-fits-all heating system that will suit every home, especially nowadays when new heater technology seems to appear every year. The climate you live in, your budget, and your access to utilities will all affect what method of heating works best for you.

Despite all this, heating your home doesn’t need to be a major challenge. While it’s true that there are new ways to heat homes being invented all the time, electric and gas furnaces remain the most tried-and-true.

Of course, that still means you need to decide which of those will best suit your home. How do you come to this decision? What is the best option when comparing an electric vs. gas furnace? As with many things in life, however, there’s no simple answer. You’ll have to consider your home’s specific requirements, as well as your budget and a number of other factors when making your decision.

Things to Consider

Before you even begin your search for the right furnace, you need to have a few things in mind. What’s your budget? How much are you hoping to spend on utilities? How big is your home? How cold does your area get in the wintertime? Do you already have a gas main connected to the house? If not, would you consider having one installed?

Once you have answers to these questions, you can then go on to break it down further.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is a major factor when you’re shopping for a furnace, and you’ll hear the term thrown around quite a lot. But what, exactly, does it mean? Essentially, it’s about bang for your buck: how much fuel do you need to burn to get your home to your desired temperature? Your goal is to have a warm house while using less fuel.

When you compare electric vs. gas furnace energy costs, you’re likely to find that, in most cases, gas heating is a good deal more efficient than electricity. That’s not to say that electric heating is necessarily inefficient. It just takes longer and is more costly in terms of energy usage to achieve your desired temperature.


For many homeowners, cost is at the forefront of their considerations when they begin looking for a new furnace. As we’ve mentioned before, it’s not as simple as saying that one system is cheaper or more expensive than another. There are a number of things that will affect the final price tag.

Gas and electric heaters don’t cost the same to install. Because their ventilation requirements are different, the installation process for a gas furnace can prove to be a good deal more expensive than for an electric one. Contact one of the professionals at Watts Heating and Cooling to get a quote for the installation cost in your home.


One of the major advantages of an electric furnace is that it doesn’t require any additional utility hookups. If your home has access to electricity, you can start heating it with an electric furnace as soon as the furnace has been installed. On the other hand, if you have a gas furnace, you need to have access to a gas main. If your home doesn’t already have this, you’ll have to pay to have one installed. This can greatly increase the overall cost of a gas furnace, although it may still pay off in the long run due to the improved efficiency of gas heating.


Safety, of course, is key for any kind of heating system, and you’ll have to take a few things into consideration when deciding between an electric vs. gas furnace for your home. Because a gas furnace has to burn fuel to create heat, it creates carbon monoxide as a byproduct. Carbon monoxide, of course, is toxic and must be vented out of the home in a safe manner. You’ll also need to install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home in case the harmful fumes somehow aren’t venting out properly.

Gas furnaces also pose more of a fire hazard than electric furnaces do. This means, if you choose to go with a gas furnace, you’ll need to be extra cautious about that.


The climate in your area will also affect the type of furnace you end up purchasing. This is because gas furnaces burn a lot hotter than electric ones. If you live in an area that is extremely cold, where the temperatures regularly drop below freezing, an electric furnace may not be up to the challenge of keeping your home warm enough. In this case, a gas furnace might be your best bet: it can heat your home up quickly and to a very comfortable temperature no matter how cold it is outside.

On the other hand, if your climate is very temperate and you don’t keep the heater on very often, you might decide that the hassle of having a gas main connected to your home isn’t worth it. An electric heater might serve your purposes just fine in these types of climates.

Life Span of Your Furnace

Gas furnaces don’t tend to last as long as electric furnaces do. This is because natural gas will corrode the elements that make up your furnace over time. They will need to be regularly cleaned, and parts may need to be replaced as they wear out. Electric furnaces are much more low maintenance than gas ones, although both will require occasional care and upkeep from an HVAC professional.

Contact a company like Watts Heating and Cooling for all the upkeep your gas or electric furnace requires. They’ll test for gas leaks and other safety concerns, keep the furnace clean, and repair or replace any malfunctioning parts. Of course, they can also install a new furnace for you if the useful life of your old one has come to an end.