When heating a home, there are a few different options, with the most popular being electric or gas. During the cold months of the year, having one of these heating options available is essential. Homeowners need to learn the differences and benefits of these two types of heating options so they can make an informed choice for their needs.
Electric and Gas Heating Systems Provide Similar Results
Before delving too deeply into the differences and benefits, it is important to understand both heating systems provide similar results. Both heat homes effectively and use a thermostat to control the level of heat. This is where the similarities end. When choosing a heater installation, learning more about each type is integral.
Differences In How Electric and Gas Heating Systems Work
One of the first things homeowners need to know when trying to decide between electric or gas is how these systems operate. While both operate using a thermostat, there are fundamental differences in the way each operates.
An electric system uses a thermostat to send a signal to the electrical igniter. This igniter causes the heater’s coils to begin heating so the air is heated. In a gas heating system, the thermostat sends the signal to the pilot light to ignite the burner which then heats the air.
Although both heating systems produce the same results, which is a warm and cozy home, how they operate can impact a homeowner’s costs for purchasing, installation, and operation. Exploring the differences will help homeowners make an informed choice.
While some homeowners install their electric or gas heaters themselves, this is not recommended. In the case of gas heaters, combustive elements can be dangerous. The heat exchanger and other elements of the system must be sealed properly to avoid deadly carbon monoxide leaks.
The installation of electric heaters can also be dangerous because of the high voltage levels. The process can take 2-3 days for a gas heater. Most electric heating systems are installed faster.
Another key difference between electric and gas heating systems is the cost. Gas heating systems are considerably more expensive than electric. These heaters cost up to $2000 more than electric systems. Gas heating systems are also more expensive to install by as much as $500.
Although gas systems are more expensive to purchase and install, they are less expensive when it comes to operating costs. The reason for this increase with electric heaters is that electricity is priced higher than natural gas. Homeowners who want a lower monthly bill should consider installing a gas heater.
When comparing electric to gas heating systems, you will also need to consider the lifespan of each. Gas heaters last around 10-20 years on average. Electric heaters typically last 20-30 years. Because of their increased lifespan, many homeowners opt to have electric heaters installed in their homes.
Another key difference between the two types of heaters is the maintenance involved. When it comes to electric heating systems, there is very little maintenance required. As with all heaters, homeowners need to make sure they change the filters as often as recommended.
Gas heaters require more maintenance because of the combustion process. Small particles are burned during the combustion process and lead to accumulations of soot. If the heating system is not cleaned regularly, the buildup of small particles can lead to heater failure. This buildup factor is one of the primary reasons gas heaters have a reduced lifespan when compared to electric versions.
Both systems have their dangers, but gas heating systems can be deadlier if they are not maintained properly. A gas system can leak carbon monoxide, which has no odor or color. Electric systems can cause fires or electric shocks.
For some homeowners, noise is an essential factor when deciding on a heating system. Those who want quieter operations should opt for an electric heating system. These systems are slightly quieter in operation than gas systems.
Most everyone these days is concerned about the environment and is working to do their part to protect the earth’s resources. When it comes to energy efficiency, electric heating systems reign supreme. Electric heaters may have AFUE ratings up to 100% while gas typically ranges between 55-97%.
Benefits of Electric and Gas Heaters
Both heating systems undoubtedly have benefits. Being aware of the differences in benefits will help homeowners make the best choice for their heating needs.
Benefits of Electric Heaters
- Lower upfront costs
- Fewer maintenance needs
- Lower installation costs
- Higher level of energy efficiency
- Safer operation
- Lasting lifespan of up to 30 years
Benefits of Gas Heaters
- Lower operation costs
- Heats quickly
- Uses less energy
When homeowners are deciding between the two heating options, they must weigh the good and the bad of each option carefully. Researching the options and learning as much as possible about how each operates and the benefits they provide will assist homeowners in making the best heating choice for their needs.
Many homeowners have found electric heating systems to be more effective and efficient at meeting their needs, especially for homes that do not have a natural gas supply nearby. No matter which type of heating system a homeowner chooses, it is important the system is reliable and durable.
Start the Process Today
When choosing between electric or gas heat, there are many factors to consider. While gas is more expensive upfront, it offers lower operating costs which may be attractive to many homeowners.
Electric heat offers lower upfront costs but will likely be more expensive to operate. Both heating systems heat homes effectively, though gas heats a home slightly faster.
It is wise for homeowners to get help from professionals before they make a purchase and start the installation process. No matter which heating system is chosen, there are many steps involved in the installation process. Most homeowners simply do not have the knowledge, tools, and equipment to take care of the installation safely. Contact a professional today for assistance.
Blake Brumfield is the owner of AC TEX, LLC Air Conditioning and Heating. He is a graduate of Lindsey-Cooper Refrigeration School and has over 6 years of working experience out in the field. Blake holds a Universal EPA License, Certified Technician License, and a HVAC Contractor License. In addition to his love of the outdoors, Blake spends most of his free time continuing to study and learn about today’s modern HVAC systems.