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Posted 11/27/2017

Electric Heating versus Gas Heating

Electric Heating versus Gas Heating

Heating your home is crucial for the blistering cold winters in most regions of the United States. Without a central heating system or boilers in place, you would most likely freeze to death. Winters can be unbearable and most people choose to stay indoors. Around 90% of modern developments come pre-equipped with newer heating systems which are safer and more efficient than systems of old.

When installing a new heating system you have to ask yourself, which fuel option should you go for, gas or electricity? Conventional gas furnaces have been around for the longest time, whereas electric heating options have only become available recently. Let’s take a deeper look at the cost, advantages and disadvantages associated with both fuel types.

Installation and maintenance

All heaters require regular maintenance and inspections. This is where HVAC technicians can lend their experience and expertise. Generally speaking, electric heaters are relatively inexpensive and easier to install. They also do not require a lot of space for an outer unit or a chimney for the smoke to escape such as the case with more conventional gas heaters. Installation costs of an electric heater can be on average around $900 to $1,200.

Conventional gas heaters use a process of combustion to produce heat which is then distributed across the whole house or building using a network of vents and ducts. They are the most common when using a central heating and cooling system. Installation of a gas heater can cost upwards of $4,800.

When it comes to maintenance, gas heaters require less of it, but when things start to fall apart it can be quite expensive to repair and maintain. Electric heaters on the other hand have lesser parts in them. Repairs are often not possible but replacing the entire parts can be quick and less costly.

Efficiency

First you must really understand what is meant by the term “efficiency”. It is widely used to explain a superior option, but by definition it means the conversion of one form of energy to another with minimum loss to the surroundings.

Electric heaters are more efficient than gas heaters as they have an efficiency rating of up to a hundred percent. Gas heaters, on the other hand, can achieve a maximum efficiency of 90%.

Efficiency does not however correspond to the ability to heat up your home better. Truth be told, it turns out that gas heaters are actually more capable of heating larger rooms and areas than their electric counterparts. Electric heaters might be more fitting to use in smaller rooms and apartments.

Then there is the matter or running costs associated with both fuel types.

Monthly cost of utilities

Gas is cheaper than electricity. Despite electric heaters being more efficient, the mere low cost of gas dissuades people from going electric even though many states offer rebates and tax incentives for using environment-friendly heating and cooling systems. Plus as mentioned before, gas heaters provide superior heating. So who in their right mind would give up superior heating at a lower monthly cost? Those who are more concerned about the health and safety of the members of their family and the environment, that’s who.

Safety hazards

Having a gas heater means carbon monoxide emissions to the air which are responsible for the greenhouse effect of the Earth’s atmosphere. Carbon monoxide is harmful to your health. Having a leak in the air ducts and vents can put you and your family at risk of developing respiratory problems such as asthma. If you still want to go with a gas heater, it is recommended that you install carbon monoxide detectors on each floor of the house and monitor carbon monoxide levels. In case of an increase in the readings, evacuate the building immediately and call a professional HVAC services agency.

Another safety hazard presented by the gas heater is the fact that it is a live burner with flame ignition. Gas leaks can cause explosions and bring down the entire house. Gas furnaces are usually built in the basement or garage. The reason behind this lies in understanding the physics behind how air reacts to change in temperatures.

Cool air sinks as it becomes heavy and warm air rises. This is why you place your split AC units near the ceiling. On the contrary, heaters are placed in the basements to let the warm air rise and heat the whole house naturally. Although you are less likely to encourage explosions with modern day gas heaters but it is still possible to happen. You should always stay clear of potential risks rather than dealing with the aftermath.

Water heater types

Water heaters can also be used to heat up your home with steam and radiators. They can also heat up the water which can be used for various reasons such as taking a bath, washing dishes, doing the laundry and so forth.

Water heaters are available in two types:

Storage water heaters - which are the more conventional types, use a giant tank to store heated water. These are available in gas and electric versions. Gas heaters are more popular in the United States because of the network of piping that is easily available across American neighborhoods.

Point-of-use water heaters – which are smaller and installed individually on each sink and shower outlet. These are strictly available only in electric version and are connected to the main grid. Water is heated as soon as the tap is opened. You might first contact a stream of cold water before hot water comes pouring out. These point-of-use heaters help save heating costs as they only heat the water on an as-needed-basis.

Final word

Continuous progress is being made to provide better heating and cooling systems. Consumers have mode choice today than they did just a decade ago. If you are not satisfied with either gas or electric option, you might even consider using solar panels as your primary heating solution. Solar panels used to be expensive and inefficient in the past but times have changed drastically.

 

 

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