When it comes time to purchase a new heating system for your home, it’s a good idea to spend some time thinking about what you want in terms of efficiency and special features. First and foremost, though, you’ll have to figure out one major factor in the installation: will your new heater run on natural gas or electricity? And does it really matter?
When it comes to HVAC in Grand Rapids, whether you choose a gas or electric heater can certainly make a difference. Learn the differences, and why you might choose one system over another in today’s guide. For more information, reach out to our team. We’d be happy to set up a consultation for your next HVAC installation.
Why Gas Heating Is the Standard Around Here
In colder climates, natural gas heating is the norm. That’s because the cost of using natural gas to burn fuel is so much lower than the cost of using electricity to generate heat. Electric furnaces are cheap to install but expensive to run—at least in cold states like Michigan.
Natural gas furnaces fit perfectly into most homes, as long as natural gas is an option for fuel. Natural gas burns cleanly and is piped in through the utility line so it never runs out (although you will need electricity to operate the motors of a gas furnace).
What About High-Efficiency Electric Furnaces?
You might be thinking to yourself, “But I’ve seen high efficiency ratings on electric furnaces!” That’s quite true. Natural gas furnaces can lose a lot of heat in the process of fuel burning and ventilation. This lowers their AFUE ratings (annual fuel utilization efficiency) quite a bit, but electric furnaces heat with 100% AFUEs.
Heat retention, however, does not correlate with energy savings—at least when it comes to gas vs. electric furnaces. Even the most efficient electric furnace will still cost a lot to run, due to the amount the utility company tends to charge.
One Other Option for Electric Heating
However, that doesn’t mean you have to rule out electric heating systems altogether. An electric furnace can be useful if it’s not the primary heating system or if it’s installed in a warmer climate. But one other option available for any climate is the heat pump.
The heat pump uses electricity to move heat, rather than to generate heat. Heat production requires a lot of energy, but running a motor and compressor to transfer refrigerant relies on much less. Heat pumps are more efficient than they’ve ever been before, and they come with backup heating elements in case outdoor temperatures drop below freezing.
Making the Final Decision
Of course, the final decision is up to you. It depends on a lot of factors—your budget, the setup of your home, your current heater, and much more. However, it’s important to get input from a technician before reaching that final decision. They may give you input on systems you had not considered before, or help you to realize a system truly is more affordable than you thought.