When winter weather hits, you expect your home to be a warm, safe place for you and your family. There is no room for second-guessing if your heater is going to work. Heating systems should be reliable and safe to use. But with all of the options on the market, how do you know what’s best for your home?
Ball Heating & Air Conditioning has made the decision-making process easy for you. Use this guide to compare two styles of forced air heating systems–gas furnace and an electric furnace.
How do they work
Both gas heaters and electric heaters are forced air heating systems. A gas heating system forces warmed air throughout the house through a heat exchanger powered by propane or natural gas. When the temperature inside drops below the thermostat setting, a signal is sent to the furnace to open the gas burner valves to deliver gas to the igniter. The gas flows over a pilot light or an igniter and ignites the burner. A flue connected to the unit allows harmful gases produced by this combustion process to escape outside. Meanwhile, the burner builds up heat in the heat exchanger. Air from the home flows from return ducts around the heat exchanger, which warms the air while the blower fan forces it through the ductwork and into the home.
The other type of forced air heating system is an electric furnace. This type of unit does not equip a pilot light or igniter. Instead, when a signal is sent from the thermostat, a series of electrical coils activate inside the unit and heat up. In short, an electric furnace has a heat exchanger that utilizes electricity instead of gas to conduct heat. While the power source used for each of these furnaces is different, they function the same way to distribute heat throughout your home. Both gas and electric furnaces cycle air through your home’s ductwork via a blower fan. Once the space has reached the temperature set on the thermostat, the thermostat signals the furnace to shut off its heating element.
Gas Heater Pros
- Lower fuel costs compared to an electric heater
- Up to 20-year life span
- More heat efficient than an electric furnace
- Suitable for colder climates
Gas Heater Cons
- Gas furnace installation is a larger investment
- More complicated to install
- Produces carbon monoxide which poses a safety concern at high levels
- Requires scheduled maintenance by a professional
- Noisier than an electric furnace
Electric Heater Pros
- Lower price point than installing a gas furnace
- Electric furnace installation requires less complicated maintenance
- Produces less noise and is safer than using gas
- Lifetime up to 30 years
- Suitable for homes with mild winters
Electric Heater Cons
- Costs more in fuel than a gas furnace
- Lower heat efficiency
Which is best for you
The easiest, most generalized answer is that electric furnaces are more suitable for warmer climates and gas furnaces are more suitable for colder climates. Barring that, the cost of a new heater installation, as well as fuel costs, are important factors to take into consideration. In areas like Biloxi, there’s a furnace to fit many lifestyles and budgets. Depending on your preferences, Ball Heating & Air Conditioning even offer financing options to help you with your home heating needs. Contact us today to schedule your heater installation.