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Gas and Electric Furnaces

One of the most familiar heating systems in America is the furnace. At AMS, we have installed thousands of electric, gas and oil furnaces throughout Washington and Idaho. These units comes with myriad advantages ranging from cost to efficiency.

When customers contact us with their HVAC installation needs, one of the most common questions we encounter is: Which kind of furnace should I install?

The two most popular system types are Gas and Electric. Both work on the same basic premise: fuel is used to generate heat, and the heat is blown into your home.

If you are considering a heating installation in your home or business, our AMS experts will conduct a full evaluation of your residence or building to help you decide what type of heating system will work best for you. We will consider not only the size of your structure and its particular needs, but the budget you are working within. Every one of our HVAC installations is tailored specifically to your needs.

Advantages of an Electric Furnace

When it comes to furnaces, the most popular option is the electric furnace. It is easy to understand why. Electric furnaces are cheaper to install, and the installation is far less invasive. This means a shorter amount of time for our HVAC installation experts to be in your home disturbing your daily routine. In addition, electric furnaces are so quiet as to be almost entirely unnoticeable when they are in operation.

Because electric furnaces are a relatively simple mechanical design, they are rated for a long lifespan. Most electric furnaces will last 20 to 30 years. They also require less maintenance when compared to gas furnaces, and most of the required maintenance can be done by homeowners, which will save you in annual expenses.

Advantages of a Gas Furnace

The most significant advantage of a gas furnace is efficiency. Gas generates heat more efficiently than electricity, which means that your gas furnace can heat your home at a lower overall cost. On average, a gas furnace will lower energy costs anywhere between 30% and 60%, a major savings for homeowners that intend to live in their home for decades to come.

This added efficiency also means that a gas furnace will have an easier time keeping your home warm in extreme conditions. Below freezing temperatures are more easily combated by a gas furnace than an electric furnace.

Because a gas furnace is more mechanically complex, it will require more regular maintenance and is not rated for as long a lifespan. But that doesn’t mean your gas furnace will break anytime soon. Not at all! Gas furnaces enjoy a long life, generally around 15 to 20 years. With regular maintenance, they can last even longer.

So: Gas or Electric?

The truth is that there is no easy answer. Your home is unique. It has specific heating needs due to the size of your home, your geographic location, the age of your house, and many other factors. As well, your budget will have a significant influence on your final decision.

Generally, if you want to avoid greater upfront costs and do not intend to live in your home for the next decade or more, then an electric furnace may be the way to go. For homeowners who are willing to spend more now and recoup their investment over the next few decades, a gas furnace may be the better option.

What if I Have a Heat Pump?

For homeowners who have already installed or are considering installing a heat pump, it should be noted that the one significant drawback of a heat pump is that it does not perform as efficiently in severe conditions. Most homeowners discover that in below-freezing conditions, they need the output of a furnace to supplement the heat generated by their heat pump.

Our HVAC installation experts will work with you closely to evaluate whether or not a gas or electric furnace should be added to your home along with your heat pump. In moderate conditions, this is really unnecessary, but during bad winters you will likely want the added heat.