The winter is just around the corner. Homeowners in Pennsylvania are starting to prepare for the cold that will soon be upon us. If you’re considering updating or upgrading a residential HVAC system, it’s smart to research your options in order to find the best solution in terms of both reliability and efficiency.
For those trying to decide between purchasing an electric or gas furnace, we have made a comparison of the two options. Find out which type of heating system is better for your home.
Comparison at a Glance
See the tables below for a basic comparison between electric and gas furnaces.
|Electric Furnace||Gas Furnace|
|Installation and replacement is less expensive.||Greater heating efficiency.|
|Maintenance is easier.||Low fuel costs.|
|Lasts 20-30 years.||Lasts 16-20 years.|
|No natural gas supply required.||Works well with A/C systems and heat pumps.|
|Electric Furnace||Gas Furnace|
|Higher energy costs.||Requires a natural gas supply to the house.|
|Lower heating efficiency.||Installation and replacement is more expensive.|
|May not meet heating demands for larger homes.||Needs regular HVAC tune ups to be used safely.|
What is the Cheapest Way to Heat My Home in the Winter?
Here are the factors that you should consider when choosing the best type of furnace to heat your home throughout the winter months.
During those long, cold Pennsylvania winters, you want a reliable heating system that will keep you and your family warm. When the main concern is heating home efficiently, the quick answer is gas.
In places, like Pennsylvania, where the climate is harsh and the winters are long, gas furnaces are generally recommended. This is because they are able to heat the home faster than electric coils. A gas furnace can deliver hotter air to the entire home without stressing the system.
In hotter areas of the country, electric furnaces can meet the heat demand. They are powerful enough to cover the relatively small temperature difference and run efficiently for the short period of time needed.
Fuel Costs in Pennsylvania
The next factor that a homeowner should consider when looking to replace or upgrade the heating system is fuel costs. These vary over time and from state to state.
It’s important to consider that the price of natural gas in Pennsylvania is higher than the national average. Though there is speculation that natural gas prices may increase, developments in production technology has pushed the price down in recent years. In fact, residents of Pennsylvania saved more than $30 billion in natural gas expenses over the past 10 years.
In comparison, Pennsylvania ranks in the middle of the other states for residential electricity costs, but the price of electricity has increased 3% in the state just in the last year.
If You’re Considering Propane or Oil…
For homeowners who are considering other options, besides electric or gas furnaces, here are some other rates to consider. Residential propane in Pennsylvania is nearly 30% higher than the national average. It’s also true that oil prices in Pennsylvania are about 10% lower. In fact, nearly a quarter of residents in the Northeast area – more than any other region in the U.S. – have oil furnaces, According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.
What Other Factors Should You Consider When Buying a Furnace?
If you are trying to determine the best type of furnace to purchase, you should consider the other factors involve. This includes, the initial expense of purchase and installation costs, maintenance needs and the size of your home.
Initial Cost of Purchase
It’s true that electric furnaces usually cost less to purchase and install. A new unit runs between $700 and $1,200. Installation ranges from an additional $1,900 to $2,400. New gas furnaces cost between $1,200 and $1,400, plus installation which ranges from $2,300 to $4,000. These prices vary depending on the size of the unit, the efficiency rating, extra features and the manufacturing brand.
Be sure to keep in consideration not just the initial cost of purchasing a new furnace, but also the long-term energy costs. Operation costs – in a climate like Pennsylvania – are generally higher for electric furnaces when compared to the expense of running a gas unit.
Many homeowners note that electric furnaces last longer and generally require less maintenance work. Though technicians servicing electric units are required to have both electrical and HVAC certifications.
Because natural gas poses a safety hazard, gas furnaces must be kept tuned up. These units require regular checkups and maintenance by licensed HVAC technicians to ensure that they are running efficiently and safely.
Size of the House
Homeowners should avoid selecting a furnace unit that is too small for the house. The system wouldn’t be able to meet the demand for heat during the coldest points in the winter. Similarly, if the furnace is too large, it will cycle frequently and run inefficiently.
For large homes in areas that experience cold winters, including Pennsylvania, gas furnaces are the standard recommendation. This is because of their ability to heat bigger spaces in less time and consuming a less expensive energy source.