Electric Furnace vs Gas Furnace: Which Type of Heating System is More Efficient?

Dec 13, 2021

Furnace Energy Efficiency in Gas vs Electric Furnaces

As winter quickly approaches in the Tri-Cities with its cold, snowy weather, you are likely wondering about your furnace energy efficiency. As soon as early December, temperatures in the Tri-Cities can drop significantly at night, typically down well into the 30s, and reaching only into the low-to-mid 40s during the day. You want to make sure that you have a reliable furnace that operates well but also saves you money.

If you are in the market to purchase a new furnace, You might be wondering: Is an electric furnace or a gas furnace more energy efficient?

How Furnace Energy Efficiency is Measured

When you gauge the energy efficiency of furnaces, it is measured based on the heating output of your furnace compared to the amount of energy it uses. It is worth noting that a furnace with a higher efficiency rating will consume less energy, and, as a result, typically come with a smaller price tag to operate.

First, let’s look at the rating source for furnace energy efficiency. When evaluating a furnace’s energy efficiency, you will rely upon an annual fuel-utilization efficiency, or AFUE. This is the measurement for energy efficiency that all furnaces are measured by.

An AFUE is always listed as a percentage. It indicates the amount of energy source the furnace actually converts directly into heat energy that is distributed into your house. The remaining energy is exhausted and is considered waste.

So, what does this mean for a gas furnace’s energy efficiency? An average efficiency for a gas furnace is an AFUE of 80 percent. This means that a furnace, on average, will convert 80 percent of the natural gas it burns into heat. The other 20 percent will be lost through the flue exhaust.

Does Electric or Gas Furnaces provide the Best Furnace Energy Efficiency?

For electric furnaces, the usual AFUE rating is 100 percent. Conversely, a gas furnace’s ratings can vary from 55 percent to 97 percent. The variation comes in the type of furnace that you choose to purchase. The other variable is the amount of heat that is lost through a gas furnace’s flue or other area. In essence, electric furnaces are typically much more energy efficient than gas furnaces are.

Put simply, energy efficiency translates into the amount of energy that the furnace converts into heat. But energy efficiency does not pertain to the rate at which a furnace warms your house. It’s important to note that gas furnaces usually heat homes faster than electric furnaces, even though they have lower energy efficiency. Immediately after the burners begin running, the gas furnace begins to pump out maximum heat throughout your home.

With electric furnaces, they do not burn fuel and they lose energy through exhaust. All of the electricity that the electric furnace uses is converted directly to heat energy as electricity runs through the heating elements.

When it comes to gas furnaces, there are options available to increase their furnace energy efficiency.

When it comes to cost, keep in mind that the higher expense of a more efficient gas furnace will typically be offset by the lower fuel costs in areas of the country that contend with harsher winter weather. Again, your home will heat faster with a gas furnace.

The reason a gas furnace heats your living spaces more quickly is because the heat generated is hotter than the heat produced by electric coils. If you live in a colder climate, as those of us in the Tri-Cities do, gas furnaces might be a more cost-effective way to go for heating your home this winter.

Look to Apollo Heating and Air Conditioning for Expert Installs & Maintenance of Your Residential Furnace

Apollo Heating and Air Conditioning is the Northwest leading provider for HVAC heating service for homes and businesses in the Tri-Cities. We not only evaluate and help you control the comfort and quality of your home’s air, we can also offer solutions for managing your energy costs.

Our furnace maintenance service optimizes the efficiency of your system, while also reducing the likelihood of a breakdown.

At Apollo Heating and Air Conditioning, we understand that the function of your heating system is a high priority. That is why we are committed to exceptional service and repair of your furnace to ensure it works flawlessly this winter.

Learn more by contacting Apollo Heating and Air Conditioning! Call us at (509) 396-COLD (2653).