Electric Heating vs. Gas Heating

Amongst other things, comfortable living in your home is ensured by the warmth it provides you from the cold outside. It’s important to pick an efficient and reliable heating system for your home, so you are able to stay warm and cozy.

With having to choose between electric heating and gas heating, it’s important to know the differences between the two, and how one compares to the other in terms of cost, efficiency, and results. This way you can make an informed decision about which one to opt for.

Types of Electric Heaters

Electric heaters either come in the form of radiation heaters or convection heaters. The latter heats up the surrounding atmosphere by convection, that is, heating the air next to it which then rises and lets cool air take its place. This process continues until your room is warm. Convection heaters are best for warming up enclosed spaces.

Radiation heaters emit heat in the form of infrared radiations; the heater itself gets heated up and a reflector directs this heat away from the heater towards a body that can absorb heat. These are ideal for spot heating.

Types of Gas Heaters

The two types of gas heaters are flued and unflued heaters. Flued heaters are permanently installed at a height that is suitable enough to extract all the emitted gas. Unflued gas heaters are not permanent installations; they are to be used in rooms that have proper ventilation, otherwise using them could be harmful.

How Do They Compare?

1. Cost

Gas heaters generally cost more when it comes to purchasing price, as well as installation. However, the fuel that feeds each heater also differs in price, and natural gas is much cheaper than electricity. Gas furnaces are much less costly to operate for this very reason.

High electricity prices every month make this the more expensive option, and therefore electric heating might not be the ideal option for you if you are on a budget. Despite greater efficiency and lower initial price, the operating costs of electric heaters are much higher. Even if gas prices increase, the operating costs of gas heaters will still be lower than those of electric heaters.

2. Safety

Gas heaters can be dangerous in case of leaks. There is also the possibility of carbon monoxide formation, due to fuel combustion that occurs to produce heat. Carbon monoxide leak is the biggest issue with gas heaters, as it is poisonous and can even be lethal. This may force you to invest in a carbon monoxide detector, which can inform you of any leaks by sounding an alarm if there are dangerous levels of the gas present in the room.

In the case of electric heaters, a fuse may blow or the equipment may malfunction, resulting in a fire. However, this problem can be avoided by having regular maintenance checks and following the directions in the instruction manual correctly.

3. Installation and Maintenance

Although there are plenty of resources that teach you how to install electric and gas heating systems, this task is much better left to the professionals. With the installation of gas heaters, the process is a bit more complex and time-consuming as these heaters need an exterior vent. With electric heaters, one should seek help from a professional due to the high voltage involved.

In terms of maintenance, electric heaters prove to be much easier to maintain, since unlike gas heaters they don’t have a burner that needs to be cleaned.

4. Efficiency and Lifespan

The lifespan of electric heaters is around 20-30 years because they are extremely durable, in addition to being quiet and efficient. Gas furnaces, on the other hand, usually have a lifespan of around 10-20 years, and that too with proper care and maintenance.

Gas burners require more upkeep because they produce small particles that build up in it over time, and unless they’re cleaned out, the heater’s efficiency drops. Since electric heaters can keep running for much longer without interference, they’re the better option if longevity is of high priority to you.

In terms of efficiency, electric heaters take the trophy as well because they tend to have fuel utilization efficiency ratings as high as 100%. Gas heaters stand at about half that (at the lowest) but go as high as 95%.

If you’re looking for low maintenance needs, higher efficiency, and a longer lifespan, go for an electric heater. However, if you live somewhere where it’s cold most of the year, choose a gas heating system to save money.

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