Furnaces have a long history, and over that time they have run from a variety of energy sources. The earliest furnaces burned wood and coal. Today a furnace can run from oil, propane, and even condensed wood pellets. However, the most common energy sources are electricity and natural gas.
If you are thinking about having a furnace installed for your home, you’ll probably be making the choice between going gas or going electric. (You may have already had to deal with a similar decision regarding your kitchen oven and stove.)
Is there a best choice? No—because each home is different and each homeowner is different. We can break down some of the benefits and drawbacks of the two furnace types to help you start thinking about which one will meet your needs.
The Natural Gas Furnace
A natural gas furnace uses gas piped into a home to power burners. The hot combustion gas from the burners heats the air blown through the furnace and into the house.
- Benefits: Gas furnaces are powerful. There are few other types of heaters that can provide as much warmth, which makes them ideal in cold climates or for homes with poor insulation. They also deliver the heat fast. Natural gas is a less expensive energy source than electricity, so gas furnaces are less costly to run.
- Drawbacks: In order to work, a gas furnace must be connected to a gas line, and not all homes are equipped for one. Gas furnaces are more costly to install upfront, which may be an issue for some budgets. They may turn into safety hazards due to carbon monoxide leaks, although this is rare if a furnace is well-maintained.
The Electric Furnace
To heat the air in an electric furnace, electrical current runs through a series of heating elements, making them burn red hot. The air passes around these elements and picks up heat.
- Benefits: Electric furnaces are flexible heating choices—they not only work for any home that has electricity, but they’re also small and easy to fit into most HVAC systems. They are less expensive installations than gas furnaces, which may be appealing to households on a tight budget.
- Drawbacks: Electric furnaces can run up high heating costs in a short time. They do not have the same heating power as gas furnaces and take longer to warm up a home. If a home has a gas main connection, it’s almost always better to pick a gas furnace than an electric one.
When you’re on the fence about a new furnace in Staten Island, NY, remember that you’ll need HVAC specialists to install the actual system, so you should have them in on the process early. They’ll help you choose the ideal type of furnace, and then correctly size it so it provides the right heat load for the house without wasting energy.
You can trust to our technicians when it comes to installing a furnace—or a heat pump, boiler, or ductless system. Let us give you the best heating possible.
Bob Mims Heating & Air Conditioning, Serving Staten Island’s Heating and A/C needs since 1955.