No matter what heating system your home currently has, you may have wondered about the differences between electric and gas heating systems. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions (and answers) about electric and gas heating.
How does the heating affect my utility bill?
Whether you have electricity or gas, home heating systems probably take up the lion's share of your energy consumption and budget, usually accounting for about 42% of your homeowner's utility bill.
What is more common in the United States, electric or gas heat?
According to energy.gov, natural gas is the most widely used source of heating in the United States, where about 49% of homes use gas heat compared to 34% of homes using electric heat. The rest of the houses either have no heat or use various other sources, including propane, fuel oil and wood.
Is electric heat more expensive than gas?
Electric heat costs more than a traditional gas stove, so homeowners with electric heat will probably have higher monthly utility bills. However, some homeowners may not have access to gas fuel or gas lines, so gas may not be an option. In addition, the prices for installing gas stove equipment are usually higher than the prices for installing a new electric heating system, resulting in higher initial costs, which may be significant. While prices vary between regions, average gas furnace costs include an estimated $1,215 per furnace and an estimated $2,870 per installation. Average electrical furnace costs include an estimated $665 for the furnace and approximately $950 for the installation.
Which is more environmentally friendly, gas or electric?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), most electric heating systems are not very energy efficient. Moreover, one of the primary sources of electricity is coal, which is harmful to the environment through mining and emissions. Although the production of natural gas releases greenhouse gases and pollutants, natural gas is considered to cause less damage to the environment than electricity.
Advantages and disadvantages of electric and gas heaters
Advantages: Electric heating systems usually have small units and do not require special vents, fuel pipes or storage tanks and are easy to maintain.
Disadvantages: While gas systems may cost more and require additional expenses for the supply of gas pipes if they do not yet exist, gas heaters offer the convenience and comfort of quick room heating, are cheaper to operate and are ideal for rooms with severe winters.
What are the other options for heating the house?
Currently, homeowners have a choice of different heating technologies. In addition to ovens and boilers, you can choose between solar heating, electric resistance heating, wood and pellet heating, steam and hot water heaters, radiant heating, portable heaters and heat pumps. Hybrid heating systems are also available that offer the benefits of dual systems.
When should I consider upgrading to a new system?
The average lifetime of a well maintained stove is 15-25 years. However, the efficiency of a new system can make an earlier upgrade profitable. In addition to saving on energy costs, newer systems can be quieter and better for the environment.
How much more efficient are new heating systems than older ones?
Older furnace and boiler systems have an efficiency of about 56% to 70%, according to energy.gov, while modern conventional heating systems can achieve an efficiency of 98.5%. The website also indicates that upgrading to a newer, highly efficient heating system can often cut fuel (and pollution) bills by half.
What should I pay attention to when setting up a new heating system?
The Department of Energy (DOE) issues energy standards for gas, electric and oil-fired ovens. You also want to consider choosing ENERGY STAR-certified appliances that can help you save on energy costs while protecting the environment.
In addition to energy standards and energy efficiency, you should ask yourself some questions about the needs and location of home heating. For example, what energy options and heat sources are available locally? What are the costs of natural gas and electricity in your part of the country? Are gas lines available? What are the winters in your area? How willing are you and other members of your household to take action to save energy during the cold months? If you choose a more expensive heating system option, how long will it take for the associated energy savings to compensate for the initial costs?
If I do not want to change or upgrade my heating system, is there anything else I can do to save on heating costs?
Yes, there are many steps you can take to maximise your energy consumption and efficiency when heating your home. Whatever type of heating system you have, make sure you maintain it properly. Regularly service them and replace the filters according to the manufacturer's instructions, which can help your system work efficiently and effectively. In addition, here are some other tips from energy.gov that can help you save on energy consumption and costs:
Install the programmable thermostat and set it to the lowest comfort setting.
Clean heating devices regularly and make sure that devices and registers are not blocked by furniture or other objects.
Switch off the exhaust fans from the kitchen and bath within 20 minutes.
In winter, during the daytime, you should leave the curtains and shadows on the south side of the apartment open so that the sun can provide some heat. At night, close drapes and shadows to eliminate draughts and cold from the windows.
In addition to reducing heating energy consumption in your home, consider adopting an energy efficiency approach for the whole house that combines proper maintenance of the equipment, insulation, airproofing and thermostat settings to save up to 30% on energy bills and reduce environmental impact.