Comparing Gas vs. Electric Furnaces: Which is More Efficient?

Gas furnaces are cheaper to operate but are more expensive initially, while electric furnaces are cheaper to install but more costly to operate. When selecting between gas and electric furnaces, this is one of the most significant factors to consider.

Gas and electric furnaces both have advantages and disadvantages, and choosing between the two can be challenging. Gas furnaces are ideal for homeowners who intend to remain in their homes for an extended period. The initial cost of installation is high, but the operational costs are low.

On the other hand, electric furnaces are less expensive to install, but the operational costs are higher. Homeowners destined for temporary residence can find electric furnaces more appealing. Additionally, electric furnaces are quieter and require less overall maintenance, making them an excellent option for families residing in warmer climates.

Comparing Gas vs. Electric Furnaces: Which is More Efficient?


Efficiency Of Gas Furnaces

Comparing Gas Vs. Electric Furnaces: Which Is More Efficient?

If you’re deciding between a gas and an electric furnace, finding the right option for your home can be overwhelming. Each heating system has its own advantages and disadvantages, including differences in the way they operate and their level of efficiency.

In this section, we’ll focus on the efficiency of gas furnaces, discussing their features, how they work, thermal efficiency, cost, and the comparison between high and standard-efficiency gas furnaces.

Features And Benefits Of Gas Furnaces

Gas furnaces are widely used heating systems across the united states. A few of their features and benefits include:

  • Energy efficiency: Gas furnaces convert up to 98% of fuel into usable heat, making them more energy-efficient than electric furnaces.
  • High heating capacity: Gas furnaces are capable of heating large spaces quickly and efficiently, providing more warmth than electric furnaces.
  • Cost-effective: Gas furnaces tend to be less expensive to operate when compared to electric furnaces.

How Gas Furnaces Work

Gas furnaces work by igniting gas and air in the combustion chamber and producing heat. Here are the basic steps of how gas furnaces work:

  • The thermostat senses the room’s temperature and triggers the furnace to start.
  • The gas valve opens, and gas flows through the burner, which ignites the gas and creates heat.
  • The heat exchanger warms up the air.
  • The blower circulates the warm air throughout the home.

Thermal Efficiency Of Gas Furnaces

Thermal efficiency is the measure of a furnace’s ability to convert fuel into usable heat. Gas furnaces have become increasingly efficient, with high-efficiency gas furnaces having an afue (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating of 90% or more. The afue rating measures the percentage of fuel that is converted into usable heat, indicating that a higher afue rating implies that the furnace is more efficient.

Comparison Of A High-Efficiency Gas Furnace Vs. Standard Gas Furnace

High-efficiency gas furnaces are more efficient than standard gas furnaces. Here are the differences between high-efficiency gas furnaces and standard gas furnaces:

READ MORE  Troubleshooting Tips: Mr Heater Buddy Not Lighting?
  • High-efficiency gas furnaces have afue ratings of 90% or higher. Standard gas furnaces have afue ratings between 80-85%.
  • High-efficiency gas furnaces have a sealed combustion chamber, meaning that the furnace relies on an external air source, typically from outside, for combustion, which reduces heat loss. Standard gas furnaces have an open combustion chamber, meaning that the furnace uses indoor air for combustion, which generates more heat loss.
  • High-efficiency gas furnaces have a secondary heat exchanger, which transfers heat to the system, while the standard furnaces have a single heat exchanger.

Costs Associated With Gas Furnaces

When it comes to the cost of gas furnaces, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • The initial cost of a gas furnace can be more expensive than an electric furnace.
  • Gas furnaces require professional installation, which can add to the cost.
  • The cost of natural gas fluctuates, which can impact your monthly bill. However, gas furnaces tend to have lower monthly bills when compared to electric furnaces.

Gas furnaces are energy-efficient, cost-effective, and perfect for homes located in colder climates. When choosing a gas furnace, you should consider the afue rating, the sealed combustion chamber, and the secondary heat exchanger. With proper maintenance, a gas furnace can last around 15-20 years.

Efficiency Of Electric Furnaces

Electric furnaces are becoming more popular in residential properties due to their energy efficiency compared to gas furnaces. Electric furnaces derive their energy from electricity as opposed to gas, making them a cleaner and more cost-effective solution for heating your home.

In this section, we’ll explore the features and benefits of electric furnaces, how they work, their thermal efficiency, and the costs of operating them.

Features And Benefits Of Electric Furnaces:

  • Electric furnaces are highly energy efficient, resulting in lower utility bills.
  • They are more cost-effective to install than gas furnaces, as no gas lines are required.
  • Electric furnaces require little maintenance and provide a consistent level of heating.
  • They do not emit any harmful gases or pollutants when running.

How Electric Furnaces Work:

Electric furnaces use a heating element to produce heat that is then blown by a fan into the ductwork and distributed throughout the home. The electrical energy provided to the furnace is converted into heat energy, which is then blown into the home.

The thermostat controls when the heating element is turned on and off.

Thermal Efficiency Of Electric Furnaces:

The thermal efficiency of electric furnaces is measured by the annual fuel utilization efficiency (afue) rating. A higher afue rating means greater thermal efficiency. The afue rating for electric furnaces ranges from 95% to 100%, making them highly efficient heating options for your home.

READ MORE  Zoning Options with Gas Wall Heaters: A Comprehensive Guide.

Comparison Of A High-Efficiency Electric Furnace Vs. A Standard Electric Furnace:

A high-efficiency electric furnace has a higher afue rating, resulting in greater thermal efficiency and cost savings compared to a standard electric furnace. Standard electric furnaces have an afue rating of 95%, while high-efficiency electric furnaces have a rating of up to 100%.

While the initial cost of a high-efficiency electric furnace is higher, the long-term cost savings make them a worthwhile investment.

Costs Associated With Electric Furnaces:

The cost of operating an electric furnace varies depending on your location and electricity rates. However, electric furnaces are generally less expensive to operate than gas furnaces due to their high thermal efficiency. Installing an electric furnace is also typically less expensive than installing a gas furnace because no gas lines are required.

Electric furnaces are highly efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly options for heating your home. With their high thermal efficiency, low maintenance requirements, and consistent heating, electric furnaces are a great investment for homeowners.

Factors To Consider When Choosing

Gas vs. electric furnaces: which one should you choose? The answer isn’t as simple as just picking one. There are many factors to consider when deciding which type of furnace is more efficient for you. This blog post will compare gas vs.

electric furnaces and explore the factors that you should take into account when making your decision.

Comparison Of Energy Costs For Gas Vs. Electric Furnaces

Electricity and gas are two different sources of energy used to power furnaces. However, electricity is more expensive per unit than gas. Considering that furnaces use up a lot of energy, this can have a significant impact on your bills.

Gas furnaces are generally more cost-effective than electric furnaces. Here’s why:

  • Gas is cheaper than electricity on a per-unit basis, which makes gas furnaces more affordable in the long run.
  • Gas furnaces experience less heat loss, which results in less energy wasted and, therefore, cheaper bills.

Environmental Impact Of Gas Vs. Electric Furnaces

The environmental impact of a furnace is an essential factor to consider. Both gas and electric furnaces generate pollutants when producing heat.

However, electric furnaces have a lower impact on the environment. Here’s why:

  • Electricity is widely available and renewable these days, mainly if generated from renewables, such as wind or solar power.
  • By using electric furnaces, you’re likely to lower your carbon footprint compared to using gas furnaces.

Lifespan Of Gas Vs. Electric Furnaces And Maintenance Costs

The lifespan of a furnace could be affected by the frequency of maintenance, and the type of furnace you choose plays a significant role in determining its maintenance costs.

Gas furnaces may last up to 20 years if well-maintained since gas burns much hotter than electricity, they typically require more maintenance to ensure that the components that deal with the heat (like the heat exchanger) don’t wear and damage.

READ MORE  Are Portable Gas Heaters Safe To Use Indoors?

Gas furnaces have more maintenance needs than electric furnaces’ lack of moving parts, with most servicing focused on cleaning the components.

Safety Concerns Associated With Gas Vs. Electric Furnaces

Safety is another factor to keep in mind when deciding between gas and electric furnaces. Both gas and electric furnaces create potential safety concerns to keep in mind, but the risks are different.

Gas furnaces may produce hazardous by-products, such as carbon monoxide gas, which can be deadly if vented into your home. Therefore, gas furnaces should be regularly maintained to minimize exposure to these toxic gases.

Electric furnaces eliminate the risk of gas leaks and flammable fuel storage. Plus, they do not create hazardous emissions (such as carbon monoxide), which leads to safer indoor environments.

Comfort And Performance Factors To Consider

The efficiency and comfort of a furnace is very critical for homeowners because the furnace helps maintain temperatures indoors.

Gas furnaces are known to offer reliable heat and warm-up a house quickly. Meanwhile, electric furnaces are quieter and distribute heat more evenly throughout the home, providing a more comfortable, consistent heat.

Summary Of Key Points

  • Gas furnaces are generally more cost-effective than electric furnaces.
  • Electric furnaces have a lower environmental impact.
  • Gas furnaces need more maintenance and have higher risks than electric furnaces.
  • Gas furnaces heat homes quickly while electric furnaces distribute heat more evenly throughout the whole house.

Final Recommendation For Choosing Between Gas And Electric Furnaces

Based on comparisons of efficiency measured by cost, maintenance, performance, and the environment, electric furnaces come out slightly ahead in this comparison. However, considering how affordable and reliable gas furnaces are, they are still a viable option for homeowners. Ultimately, choosing the right furnace comes down to personal preferences and requirements.

Choose the one that best suits your needs, taking into account all the factors listed above.


Overall, there are pros and cons to both gas and electric furnaces that need to be weighed before making a decision. Gas furnaces are most cost-efficient and can provide heat more quickly, however, they require regular maintenance, and safety is a concern.

Electric furnaces, on the other hand, require less maintenance and are considered safer, but they can be more expensive to operate and take longer to produce heat. In the end, the choice of which type of furnace to install will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

Factors such as location, budget, energy efficiency, and overall comfort level should all be taken into consideration. Regardless of which type of furnace you choose, it is imperative to make sure it is installed and maintained properly to ensure optimal performance and safety for years to come.


I am a mechanical engineer and love doing research on different home and outdoor heating options. When I am not working, I love spending time with my family and friends. I also enjoy blogging about my findings and helping others to find the best heating options for their needs.