In the quest for greater efficiency in your home, one important component to consider is the furnace. After all, during a Cedarburg winter, a furnace gets used extensively, resulting in significant energy usage. If you currently have a gas furnace, you may wonder if an electric furnace offers better efficiency and the possibility of a lower utility bill. By understanding how an electric furnace from Hometown Heating, Air & Electric operates, you will be well-equipped to understand the nuances of energy-efficiency when it comes to furnaces.
Turning Fuel Into Energy
The efficiency of a gas furnace is rated with a measurement called the AFUE rating. AFUE standards for annual fuel utilization efficiency. This standard looks at how efficient a furnace is at turning the fuel it uses into useful energy. Specifically, the more heat that a furnace can create from a specific amount of energy, the higher its AFUE rating will be.
A common furnace of today will have an AFUE of around 80. High-efficiency furnaces range anywhere from 90 to 98, although the high end of this range can be quite expensive. However, electric furnaces from Hometown Heating, Air & Electric beat every gas furnace in terms of efficiency since they have an equivalent AFUE rating of around 100%. This makes sense when you consider that a gas furnace has to turn its fuel into a flame, meaning that at least a small amount of the fuel that a gas furnace takes in is lost as light energy instead of being transformed into heat energy.
Not as Fast
Unfortunately, efficiency alone isn’t enough to grant you a lower utility bill, at least when it comes to furnaces. That’s because the fuel that is used by a gas furnace is utilized more effectively than in an electric furnace. In a gas furnace, the heat that is created is at a much higher temperature than in an electric furnace.
Therefore, even though some energy is inevitably lost in a gas furnace from Hometown Heating, Air & Electric, it only has to run for a short period of time to bring your home to the desired temperature. This means that a gas furnace is able to make up for any efficiency shortfalls by utilizing less fuel overall. On top of that, natural gas and fuel oil are much less expensive per unit than electricity, meaning that your utility bill will likely be less with a gas furnace even if it’s an older model with an efficiency below 80%.
Still Plenty of Perks
Although an electric furnace is more expensive to operate, there are still advantages to owning an electric furnace. For one, an electric furnace doesn’t bring with it any risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from natural gas. Although electricity can cause an electrical fire, a properly installed electric furnace is a very low-risk appliance.
Plus, electric furnaces are quieter because they don’t require a burner or a draft inducer to operate. Additionally, you can operate an electric furnace without a flue. If you don’t already have a flue installed, this can save you significant money on installation costs. Perhaps the best part of an electric furnace, though, is that its initial price is lower, making it more affordable if you need to replace your furnace but have a limited budget to do so.
An Even Better Option
If you don’t currently have gas service at your home and you need an efficient option to heat your home with electricity, a heat pump from Hometown Heating, Air & Electric is the best way to go. Heat pumps don’t require any gas to operate because they extract heat from the outside air to heat your home. All that’s needed is a marginal amount of electricity to keep the extraction process going.
For the cold Wisconsin winters, your best bet is a geothermal heat pump that utilizes the consistent ground temperature to keep your home warm. However, even an air-source heat pump can be quite useful and still save a fair amount of energy compared to a conventional electric furnace. Therefore, even with only an electric supply, you have plenty of options to keep your home comfortable this winter.
Keeping You Warm on the Coldest Days
At Hometown Heating, Air & Electric, we understand just how cold the winters around here can get. That’s why we take pride in offering superb maintenance, repair, and installation services for heating systems of all types. We can also perform those same services for air conditioners so you can stay comfortable in the summer, as well. Our many years of exceptional service has resulted in an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and countless five-star customer reviews. To learn more about your options for heating your home this winter, contact us at Hometown Heating, Air & Electric today.