Is a Gas Furnace Cheaper than Electric Heat?

For many Americans, artificial heat is an essential part of surviving winter. But just because something is necessary doesn't mean you want to pay too much to get it. Which brings us to one of the perennial questions of the HVAC heating industry: Is a gas furnace cheaper than electric heating?

Gas vs Electric Analysis

Winter heating costs and HVAC unit expenses in general are complicated matters. There are widespread trends and general rules, but details can make a big difference. This is readily apparent when examining the cost difference between gas and electric systems.

In short, gas may be a better option or not depending on the winter weather you experience. In northern climates with extreme cold weather, a gas furnace is definitely the way to go. Pound for pound, they're the best heating unit for efficiency at very low temperatures. You get quality comfort, and end up saving money.

This calculation changes depending on climate. In southern climes with mild winters, the situation becomes a little more murky. If you live in South Florida, you'll probably never need a gas furnace. You can survive quite comfortably with an electric heater or an energy efficient heat pump. When the temperature never goes below freezing for very long, the need for powerful heat diminishes.

Then there's the question of location beyond weather conditions. If you live somewhere with municipal gas lines, that can have a real impact on what you pay. The same is true the other way when it comes to local electricity prices. If where you live electricity is expensive and gas is cheap, then a gas furnace could be a great bargain even if you don't live through really tough winters. Reverse those circumstances and the situation might change.

So, is a gas furnace cheaper or not?

What it really comes down to are your local conditions. Broadly speaking, gas furnace units can be a great way to get economical heating, but do your research. If you have a mild winters and cheap electricity, an energy efficient heat pump might be a better choice.

As always, you can ask us additional questions in the comments below, on Facebook, or on Twitter.




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