Do you have an old furnace that doesn’t do the job anymore? If your house gets cold in the winter, it’s probably time to replace your furnace.

There’s no better time than now to invest in a new heating system. With the price of heating oil trending up, a new, high-efficiency furnace could save you a lot of money.

Homeowners who are looking for a new heating solution are likely to have two popular choices available: electric and gas. Which one is better? To put it simply, both options have advantages and disadvantages.

In this article, we’ll compare electric vs gas furnace pros and cons so you can choose the right one for you.

Electric vs Gas Furnace: Pros and Cons

To begin with, let’s look at what they have in common. Both gas and electric furnaces are heating systems that operate with forced air. This means that they both heat the air directly and then use blowers to force warm air through the ductwork so it can circulate throughout the house.

How they heat the air, as you might have surmised, is different. Gas furnaces use combustion while electric furnaces use electric heating elements. Now let’s compare gas and electric furnaces from different facets, such as costs, safety, and durability.


Gas furnaces, in general, have higher purchase and installation costs than electric furnaces. However, this is offset by the higher operational costs of electric furnaces. Natural gas is substantially cheaper than electricity if gas lines are available in your area.

Energy Efficiency and Heat Speed

Energy efficiency is about how much energy the furnace can turn into heat. With electric furnaces, almost all of the energy is converted into heat. Electric heating has an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) of almost 100 percent.

Gas furnace AFUE values vary, ranging from 55 to 97 percent. Higher efficiency models can reduce heat loss from flue gases but they’re a bit more expensive.

Zero Energy

While electric furnaces are more efficient, that doesn’t mean that they can heat your home faster. Gas furnaces have an advantage in speed because they can get hot in an instant. Electric coils take time to build up heat and consume more energy in areas with colder winters.


Electric furnaces are usually the safer option. Gas furnaces can produce small amounts of carbon monoxide. Gas heating also has combustible elements that could result in accidental fires.

This is partly the reason for the higher installation costs of gas furnaces. All components have to be perfectly sealed to prevent gas leakage. Carbon monoxide detectors also have to be installed.

Lifespan and Maintenance

Both gas and electric systems have incredible lifespans, reaching up to twenty years. Electric furnaces last almost twice as long as gas heaters, about twenty to thirty years. They also require little to no maintenance because of their safety and simpler design.

With gas furnaces, you’re frequently wondering, “hows my furnace?” Because of the higher risks, it needs regular maintenance from a professional to keep it safe and efficient.

Which One Is Right for You?

Looking at electric vs gas furnace pros and cons, you’ll see which one suits you best. They differ in terms of costs, efficiency, safety, and maintenance. Availability is also a factor since some areas may not have gas lines in place.

For more home improvement tips, check out our other articles on this site.