Choosing the Best Furnace Setup for your Needs
For new homeowners or those looking to replace an aging furnace, going electric for your heating needs is, believe it or not, a good option for many people in the United States. While a home furnace running on natural gas is the most popular option for many homeowners, the infrastructure simply isn’t there in a wide swathe of the country. This leaves residents with heating oil products, including propane, or electricity to heat their homes during those chilly seasons.
The pros of an electric heater are as follows:
Cheaper upfront costs;
Electric heaters are substantially less expensive to buy and install than their fossil-fuel-burning counterparts. They are also easier, and less expensive, to maintain. Electric furnaces also last considerably longer, on average, than gas or oil burning setups. Electric furnaces can last, when well maintained, up to 30 years, beating the higher estimate for fossil-fuel burners by up to 10 years.
Safer overall and less noisy;
Electric furnaces don’t depend on any kind of combustion process to heat air, so there are no dangerous gas by-products such as carbon monoxide. This also contributes to the lower installation costs as the need for flues and proper sealing and venting is not present.
Needs less professional attention and maintenance;
Because of the above reasons, electric furnaces are less costly and troublesome to maintain. While the blower and some other components should be inspected annually –always by a certified HVAC professional, it is important to remember — the work involved is usually simpler and easier than for gas or oil burning furnaces.
Now for a couple of the potential drawbacks of an electric furnace.
High running costs in many areas of the U.S.
While the energy market is highly variable from region to region and state to state, in general electricity is sometimes several times as expensive as natural gas and slightly but substantially more expensive than heating oil and propane. Along with the high variability in fuel prices, the differences in each homeowner’s budget, maintenance preferences and not least their local climate all make selecting a heating option that is best for them a matter that requires some research.
Electric furnaces don’t make as much sense for areas that have harsh winters.
Electric furnaces simply can’t keep up when dealing with extremely frigid outdoor temperatures. Also, should the power go out and you depend on an electric heater without access to a backup heater, you could quite literally be stuck in the cold.
The bottom line is that electric furnaces make the most sense for areas with relatively mild winter climates and where the lower upfront cost and less expected heating demand make these furnaces a prime choice.
But be sure to research all of the cost/benefit factors before making a final decision on which type of furnace is best for you.
While installing an electric heater on your own is less ill-advised than doing the same with a fossil-fuel burner, experts are virtually unanimous in that these types of jobs are best left to the professionals. Electric heaters require a high voltage and some serious wiring, for one thing.
For Springfield, Missouri residents, a good resource for your electric furnace installation and repair needs, or for help in choosing the right furnace for you, is Jon Wayne Heating and Air.