gas furnace vs electric heater

A gas furnace or an electric heater? That is the question many homeowners must ask themselves when deciding on a heating system for a new construction or renovation project. The installation and operations costs as well as long-term costs, energy efficiency, and environmental factors are all affected by this choice.

This article discusses the differences between gas and electric heating systems, going over their benefits and drawbacks, as well as the expenses of operation, so you can make an informed decision for your house.

Gas Heating: Pros & Cons

Many homes choose gas heat systems as their primary heating system, particularly in areas where natural gas is cheap and easily accessible. Furnaces that run on natural or propane gas are among the most popular gas heating systems because of how well they work and how little they cost. They do, however, have their benefits and drawbacks, which homeowners should weigh carefully before making a final choice.

Benefits of Gas Heating

Cost-Effectiveness in Operation

A gas heater has several benefits, but one of the biggest is how cost-effective it is to run. In places where natural gas is plentiful or close by, it is often more cost-effective to use natural gas instead of electricity. For budget-conscious shoppers, gas furnaces are the way to go because of the significant savings they may bring to heating costs.

High Heating Efficiency

Newer gas furnaces are capable of achieving impressive levels of efficiency, typically ranging from 90% to 98.5% AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). With such a high efficiency, more of the gas’s energy is actually turned into heat for your house, which means less wasted energy and better heating overall. This is especially helpful in colder regions where efficient heating is essential for staying warm during the winter.

Speed and Consistency in Heating

Gas heaters generally are crucial in cold weather because of how quickly and consistently they heat up. Once turned on, they can produce heat practically instantly. Plus, gas heaters usually provide more intense heat than electric heaters, so they’re great for rapidly and efficiently heating up big rooms or homes.

Reliability and Longevity

The reliability and longevity of gas furnaces are enhanced with regular maintenance, allowing them to last for 15 to 20 years with little to no downtime. Maintaining the furnace on a regular basis can further increase its longevity, guaranteeing efficient operation for a long time to come.

Drawbacks of Gas Heating

Higher Initial Costs

Compared to an electric heat pump or electric furnace, the upfront expenditures of buying and installing a gas furnace are greater, but the operating costs are cheaper. The installation process can be time-consuming, difficult, and expensive due to the potential need to run gas lines and set up venting systems through chimneys or flues.

Maintenance and Safety Concerns

Gas furnaces need routine maintenance to keep running safely and effectively, which raises safety concerns. Professionals will check for leaks, make sure central heating venting systems are clear, and make sure all components are functioning properly during annual inspections. Thorough maintenance and the installation of safety measures, such as carbon monoxide detectors, are absolutely necessary due to the increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and gas leaks.

Environmental Impact

A cleaner fossil fuel than coal or oil, natural gas nevertheless produces carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, when used. This has an effect on the environment. More and more areas are trying to lower their carbon footprints and boost their usage of renewable energy consumption, so this environmental effect is becoming an increasingly important factor.

Electric Space heaters: Pros & Cons

When deciding on a heating system for their houses, homeowners must take into account the pros and cons of electric heating systems. Depending on your heating requirements and personal style, you can choose from a variety of systems that include options like electric furnaces, heat pumps, and baseboard heaters.

Ease of Installation

Ease of Installation

One major perk of electric heating systems is how much easier they are to set up than gas heating systems. Since electric heaters don’t necessitate elaborate systems like gas lines or venting, the upfront costs of installing them can be substantially lower. Homes without preexisting gas connections or ductwork are prime people who go for electric systems because of this to save money on heating and cooling installations.


Since electric heaters do not burn fuel, there is no need to worry about gas leaks or carbon monoxide poisoning, making them a safer option than gas heaters. Everyone who values health and safety in their homes, including families with children or pets, should give serious thought to this safety feature.

Low Maintenance

Thirdly, electric heaters usually need less frequent and lighter maintenance than gas line systems, which require annual inspections and maintenance to guarantee safe and effective performance. Cleaning the devices itself is a common maintenance duty for many electric heating systems, including portable units and electric baseboard heaters.

Longevity and Quiet Operation

Fourthly, electric heating devices typically last longer than gas ones and operate quietly. As a long-term heating solution, electrical power heat pumps and furnaces have a lifespan of 20 to 30 years with adequate maintenance. In addition to being more comfortable, electric heaters are quiet when in operation, so they won’t be a disturbance in a quiet house.

Environmental Impact

Electric heating may become more environmentally friendly as we move towards renewable energy sources. Electric heating has the potential to become a more eco-friendly choice as the power system integrates more renewable energy sources like solar, wind, and hydropower. This is because electric heating has a smaller carbon footprint.

Limitations of Electric Heating

Higher Operational Costs

The primary disadvantage of electric heating is the electricity prices, which, depending on local rates, might surpass that of natural gas. During the winter months, when heating demands are higher, this might make electric heating more expensive to operate.

Efficiency Concerns

Electric heaters are technically efficient since they convert almost all input energy into heat. However, when looking at the overall energy efficiency, it can be lower due to the energy lost during electricity generation and transmission. In regions where fossil fuels are used to generate power, this is especially evident.

Slower Heating Times

Thirdly, heating with an electric system often takes more time than with a gas heating system. This can be a major pain in colder regions or with bigger houses that need rapid heating to keep warm.

Dependence on Electricity

Relying on electric heating during winter storms or other events that could disrupt the power supply might be risky in areas that often experience power outages. For some households, this reliance on a reliable power source is a major factor.

Comparing Costs: Gas Furnaces vs Electric Space heater

It is important to think about the unit’s efficiency and environmental effect in addition to the installation and operating costs when comparing gas and electric heating. Further on, we will explain how much it costs to operate various heaters, with an emphasis on furnaces and space heaters.

Electric Space Heaters:

You may find electric space heaters with power ratings ranging from 750 watts to 3000 watts. These heaters' operational costs are proportional to their wattage and the going rate for power in your area. Considering that the heater is turned on for five hours a day and the power rate is 16 cents per kilowatt-hour, the monthly expenses can vary from:

  • 750 W: $18.00

  • 1000 W: $24.00

  • 1250 W: $30.00

  • 1500 W: $36.00

  • 2000 W: $48.00

  • 2500 W: $60.00

  • 3000 W: $72.00

Electric Furnaces and Fireplaces:

In comparison to other types of fireplaces, electric ones are more economical in the long run, both in terms of installation and maintenance. An electric fireplace can be operated with heat for four hours a day all year round for less than $120, compared to a gas fireplace that may run for about $460 for six months with the same amount of use each day.

Natural Gas Heaters:

In many areas, especially those with abundant and affordable natural gas, natural gas furnaces are preferred due to their efficiency and reduced operating costs. An annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating illustrates the proportion of energy transformed into heat and is thus a measure of a gas furnace's efficiency. By decreasing waste and running expenses, modern gas furnaces can achieve high AFUE ratings of 90% or more. This means that the majority of the energy spent is used to produce heat.

Natural gas furnace operating costs can differ greatly depending on factors such as annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE), house size, and gas pricing in the area. Operating expenses are typically cheaper in regions like Alberta, which is rich in natural gas production. Depending on the aforementioned variables, gas furnace operating expenses can vary from an average of $400 to $700 each year.

Operational Efficiency:

Natural gas heaters are more efficient in transforming energy into heat and can heat areas faster than electric heaters, which improves their operational efficiency. Because of this, they are ideal for areas with lower temperatures or for bigger spaces that require quick heating. The relative cost-effectiveness of operating gas heaters, however, is very sensitive to fluctuations in the price of natural gas on the local level.

Environmental Impact:

In regions where renewable energy sources account for a large portion of electricity generation, such as Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, and Manitoba, electric heating is often regarded as being more eco-friendly. Natural gas, on the other hand, is a major contributor to pollution and carbon emissions while being one of the most environmentally friendly fossil fuels.

Installation and Maintenance:

Electric heating systems are more convenient and less expensive to install than gas ones, particularly in cases when the house does not have any existing gas lines. Electric systems also typically have reduced maintenance expenses; for example, electric fireplaces don't need to be tested for safety and efficiency as often as gas fireplaces, which means electric systems are a better long-term investment.

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For starters, we will show up on time with a fully stocked service van, eager to resolve your heating, cooling, plumbing or electrical problem.

Braeden RigbyBraeden Rigby
19:47 25 May 24
Comfort Union should be your first choice for all your HVAC needs. Amazing family run business with a people first approach that is difficult to find. Highly recommended for anyone that values quality work !
premnath parthibanpremnath parthiban
14:52 23 May 24
I spent almost one year to find the best HVaC replacement company and finally landed with Comfort union .I initially thought it was a small job but then realized the magnitude of work and effort it goes into it ..Asif initially came to my house , explained to me everything in detail including what is code of guidelines expected by city of Calgary , that showed his knowledge on the whole process ..Then came his brother Moore for installation - you will never find such a wonderful person who knows in and out of the HVAC and moreover the most patient person I have ever seen .. he did the whole installation with absolute craftsmanship and love for the work he did .. the best part was his perfectness and every work he did was so perfect and tidy !Finally, came Khan ji - to do the final inspection to add perfectness over the perfectness carried by Moore .. He did inspection and made sure everything was 200% correct ..Overall , I would recommend comfort union over any other service provider …Replaced my furnace , water tank and my humidifier …
JJ YanJJ Yan
02:22 22 May 24
Muhamad and Darryl did an excellent job on installation of our new Bradford White 75 gallon water heater. Extremely professional and hard working. They not only just did the work, but also explained the procedure thoroughly and maintenance focus points. Kept the work place tidy and in order. Highly recommended to everyone. JJ
mr2008 2.0mr2008 2.0
04:08 12 May 24
excellent carrier furnace and air conditioner installation, highly recommend to others
20:52 06 May 24
It was great to see a father and son team work so professionally in the delivery and installation of our new Bradford White water heater. Thanks team for a wonderful job.
Arman GillArman Gill
03:21 30 Apr 24
Friendly staff and did amazing work with carrier hvac
Inderpal SinghInderpal Singh
02:59 30 Apr 24
Amazing work. Good work on AC installation. Competive rates
Fast response due to the urgent occasions. The team is very experienced. Highly recommended!
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23:04 06 Apr 24
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18:28 02 Apr 24
Great and reliable service.
sunny Maharjansunny Maharjan
10:11 01 Apr 24
Best reasonable and quick in their response.
E TanE Tan
01:45 31 Mar 24
I recently hired Comfort Union to install a new hot water tank in my home, and I couldn't be more pleased with the results. They went above and beyond to ensure that the installation process was smooth and hassle-free from start to finish.Daryl's expertise and professionalism were evident from the moment he arrived at my home. He took the time to assess the layout of the space and discuss the best options for the installation, providing valuable insights and recommendations along the way. His attention to detail and commitment to quality craftsmanship were truly commendable.Throughout the installation process, Daryl and Mo worked efficiently and diligently, ensuring that everything was installed correctly and functioning optimally. They were respectful of my home, taking care to clean up any messes and leaving the work area spotless once the job was complete.I would like to extend my sincerest thanks to the entire team at Comfort Union for their outstanding service. Thanks to their expertise and dedication, I now have a reliable water heater that meets my needs perfectly. I would highly recommend Comfort Union to anyone in need of plumbing services – their professionalism and quality workmanship truly set them apart.
Ayaan DawoodAyaan Dawood
06:38 10 Mar 24
Imran Ahmed KhanImran Ahmed Khan
06:04 10 Mar 24
Maggie VaccaroMaggie Vaccaro
21:26 05 Mar 24
Quick response for appt. Came over and got all work done.Will call them again and will recommend them to others. Thanks!
Ashirul PatelAshirul Patel
22:57 26 Feb 24
We had great experience. They work out an efficient way to solve our furnace issues while maintaining the minimum cost.
Rakesh SachdevaRakesh Sachdeva
04:44 10 Feb 24
Muhammad is very professional and very cooperative. He has completed the work as explained. Everything was completed on same day we had issue. Very responsive.
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22:28 08 Feb 24
Team at comfort union made me feel very comfortable about my purchases explained everything clearly and concisely so I could be confident in my decisions I would recommend them to anyone who asks.
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02:33 07 Feb 24
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Matt MelliesMatt Mellies
21:21 22 Jan 24
I had an issue with my furnace, went to reset my main breaker to power cycle trying to troubleshoot it... Breaker crapped out so I was sitting on an electrical, and furnace problem.Gave these guys a call and they were able to come out within 2 hours. Required a full main breaker replacement, and new gas valve on my furnace. They diagnosed it in only a couple hours, and fixed everything the same day.Had a great experience, the technicians that showed up were professional, and very knowledgeable. I'll definitely be using these guys when I eventually have replace my aging furnace.
Sharif ZayedSharif Zayed
00:15 22 Jan 24
Khan was so kind and considerate to help me during the -45 C calgary weather. We decided to replace our old furnace with newer and advance features choosing Carrier Furnace. We received the quote from Comfort Union which was competitively priced and the job was completed next day. Thanks.
Syed Zaigham RizviSyed Zaigham Rizvi
05:29 18 Jan 24
Had a bit of a crisis with rental property heating system in Calgary, our Goodman furnace gave out and had countless furnace repairs over the years. They got a new Carrier furnace installed quickly and very competitively priced compared to other carrier dealers. Wasn't expecting such quick service in the cold months. Definite recommend!
Mohammed SiddiqiMohammed Siddiqi
00:23 06 Jan 24
Absolutely stellar service from this HVAC company! The team was prompt, professional, and incredibly knowledgeable. They swiftly diagnosed and fixed our heating issue with precision. Their attention to detail and commitment to customer satisfaction truly set them apart. A 5-star experience – our go-to HVAC experts!
Agit KokuAgit Koku
21:40 13 Apr 23
I recently had Comfort Union come to my home to fix an issue with my hot water tank's pilot issue. Not only did the technician promptly fix the issue, but they also took the time to clean out my drain as a courtesy. I was impressed by their attention to detail and their commitment to providing excellent customer service.I would highly recommend Comfort Union for anyone in need of plumbing services.


No matter what kind of heating system you choose—gas for its affordability and efficiency or electric for its convenience and safety—a well-insulated and energy-efficient home will improve the performance and efficiency of your system.

We at Comfort Union know how difficult it may be to choose the best heating system. Whether you prefer a gas furnace or an electric space heater, our professional installation, maintenance, and repair services will keep your heating system running smoothly and efficiently for years to come. When it comes to heating your house, Comfort Union has the knowledge and resources to help you make the right choice.

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