Gas or Electric Furnace? What You Need to Know

By jairadmin
In January 2, 2019

You can’t put a price on comfort. But you can put a price on utility bills and repair costs and maintenance when it comes to your home. With winter in full force, you might be wondering if it’s time to upgrade your HVAC system; begging the question, gas or electric furnace?

Both have life expectancies around 20 years when properly maintained. While gas can save you a significant amount in energy costs, electric heating systems require less maintenance and lower upfront costs. However, there are several more factors to consider to ensure you are adding value and efficiency to your home.

Utility bills

A gas system is generally less expensive to operate because natural gas is cheaper than electricity. In the past few years, electricity has increased in cost while natural gas charges have actually decreased, making the gas units more appealing to homeowners.

To buy one unit of mains gas (measured in kWh) you pay about 4p / kWh. Conversely, 1 unit of electricity from the mains (also measured in kWh) will cost you about 15p / kWh. Translation: in most areas gas is up to 4 times cheaper than electricity per kWh. Using a gas heating system can save you a considerable amount on energy costs, especially during the winter months.

Fuel & Impact on Environment

In many cases, furnace selection is largely dependent on fuel availability. Natural gas is the most popular fuel, but the required piping infrastructure is not available in all areas of San Diego. In these instances, homeowners are limited to propane, fuel oil or electric furnaces that are expensive to install and maintain.

Coal represents one of the primary fuels used to produce electricity. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, natural gas production does release greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants, however, this fuel burns much cleaner than coal and poses much less damage to the environment.


Electric furnaces are less of a risk to those living in the home. Electric does not produce byproducts during the heating process, unlike the harmful CO2 produced during the combustion process of gas heating. Maintenance is emphasized when purchasing a gas heating system; a small problem in the ventilation system can easily cause a CO2 leak. Fire hazards are also associated with gas furnaces considering the point of ignition requires a flame. Gas furnaces emit a low level of carbon monoxide and the homeowner must be sure the unit is working properly at all times. Electrical units do not require the same level of attention.

Suitability and Efficiency

The lifespan of gas furnaces is 10-20 years and the installation can be a complicated process. Gas heating requires storage, and for households with several members, the storage tank capacity should be equivalent to usage. If the storage tank capacity is not enough to support all the heat usage at a given time, then gas heating becomes problematic. A good example is running out of hot water during a shower because the dishwasher is running.

Gas heaters are known to be extremely efficient. They heat bigger areas faster and use less energy than electric to maintain a set temperature. Gas heating also provides better humidity control.


Johnson Air offers a free evaluation of your home or business to determine what type of heating system is best for your space’s unique needs. With over 25 years of experience, our NATE-certified technicians are backed by a 100% money back guarantee.

Leave A Comment