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Choosing Between an Electric or Gas Furnace: Pros and Cons

Heating System

Choosing between an electric or gas furnace depends on various factors, such as your heating needs, cost considerations, environmental concerns, safety, and efficiency. In this overview, we’ll explore the pros and cons of each type to help you make an informed decision.

Key Differences

The primary distinction between electric and gas furnaces lies in their heat generation methods. Electric furnaces use electricity, while gas furnaces utilize natural gas, leading to different internal components and heating processes.

Mechanical Components

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Gas furnaces include unique components like pilot lights, burners, gas valves, and combustion chambers, whereas electric furnaces rely on heating coils. Both furnace types incorporate safety switches and controllers to ensure proper and safe operation.

Cost Comparison

When comparing costs, electric furnaces typically have a lower installation expense. However, the final cost depends on factors like the contractor’s pricing and the furnace’s quality. In the long term, gas furnaces prove to be more cost-effective due to the rising electricity costs and declining natural gas prices.

Safety Considerations

Both electric and gas furnaces are generally safe when properly maintained. Gas furnaces produce carbon monoxide, posing a potential risk, but regular servicing minimizes this danger. Installing a carbon monoxide detector is advisable for gas furnace owners.

Heating Efficiency & Environmental Impact

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Electric furnaces boast higher efficiency in terms of energy conversion, as all the electricity used directly contributes to heating without generating byproducts. However, they run longer and consume costlier electricity, making gas furnaces more practical in terms of both time and money.

The environmental impact depends on the energy source for electricity generation in your region. Electric furnaces themselves produce zero carbon emissions, but they rely on the grid, which may derive power from various sources with varying efficiencies. Gas furnaces may be more environmentally friendly in regions with cleaner energy sources.


Electric furnaces tend to be more durable and require fewer repairs than gas furnaces. They have an expected lifespan of 20-30 years, while gas furnaces typically last 15-20 years, with more potential points of failure.

Pros and Cons

In terms of gas furnaces, the advantages include a cheaper operating cost and faster heating. However, there are drawbacks, such as emissions production and the requirement for a carbon monoxide detector. On the other hand, electric furnaces offer benefits like a lower installation cost and no emissions or byproducts. Nevertheless, they come with downsides like a higher operational cost without a heat pump and slower heating.

Ultimately, the choice between an electric and gas furnace hinges on your climate, heating requirements, and preferences. At Neuhaus Heating & Cooling we are here to help ensure your furnace operates in top condition based on your Edwardsville, IL home needs.

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