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Electric Furnace vs Gas Furnace: Pros and Cons

At AMS, we install heating systems for residential and commercial clients throughout the Inland Northwest. One of the questions we receive regularly is which heating system is the best option: electric furnace or gas furnace? This is an excellent question! However, it is not easily answered. The truth is that every heating installation is unique, because every home and commercial location is different, as is every client’s personal goals and resources.

That said, let’s look at some of the pros and cons of electric and gas furnaces.

Electric Furnace: Pros and Cons

Electric furnaces are very common throughout Inland Northwest. Partially this is due to low electric bills in Washington and Idaho relative to the rest of the country, but it is also due to a number of positive benefits from electric furnaces.

An electric furnace is a simpler installation, for one, causing less disruption for homeowners and business owners. An electric furnace also requires less upkeep. They are quiet, dependable, and easy to manage. All of this makes for lower installation costs and lower overall maintenance fees. In addition, an electric furnace is incredibly safe and has a longer lifespan, upwards of 20 to 30 years.

On the other hand, electric furnaces, while efficient, are often more heavily taxed during extreme cold. Even though electricity is cheap in the Pacific Northwest, electric bills are still considerably higher than bills for natural gas. This is the most significant drawback to an electric furnace: monthly bills are more costly.

Gas Furnace: Pros and Cons

Gas furnaces may be less common, but they are still a reliable and noteworthy option. It may seem odd to install a gas furnace in the Inland Northwest, where hydroelectric power keeps electric power bills comparably low, but the truth is that natural gas is even cheaper and in recent years natural gas prices have continued to fall.

A gas furnace provides a more dependable source of energy in extreme cold. This is because natural gas can achieve higher temperatures and thus heat homes and businesses more quickly than an electric furnace. As well, because of the cheapness of natural gas, your monthly energy bill will be considerably lower with a gas furnace. This is the main advantage of a gas furnace.

Drawbacks of a gas furnace include: a more complex and costly installation process, a shorter system lifespan (10 to 20 years), and more regular maintenance costs. Gas furnaces operate efficiently, but they require more regular attention. Part of this is due to the fact that gas furnaces emit low levels of carbon monoxide. Though not generally dangerous, a malfunctioning gas furnace can be–in rare cases–deadly. A well-maintained gas furnace, however, should cause no worry.

Your Best Option

Every one of our heating installation customers is different. During evaluation, our expert HVAC technicians will work closely with you to determine what kind of heating system would best suit your home or business.

Finding your best option is mostly a question of your budget and the amount of disruption and maintenance you are comfortable with. Once our technicians have a better understanding of your specific heating goals, we will be able to work with you to meet those needs in the most effective and efficient manner possible.