Is it cheaper to run gas or electric heat? Today we’ll tell you which one we recommend!
Here in Illinois, about 80% of people have a gas furnace in their home, and about 20% have an electric furnace.
But does this breakdown reflect what everyone should be doing, in order to save the most energy and money? Well, as you may already know, both natural gas and electricity cost a tad bit less in Illinois then the national average. Natural gas costs 5% less than the national average, and electricity costs 2% less. You may think that means you should opt for a gas furnace, but let’s go over a couple of other points first:
Do the math
Rather than just go by percentage points, of course you need the actual numbers! We recommend using an energy calculator to compare the cost of running a gas furnace to the cost of running an electric furnace in your home. Here is one of our personal favorite calculators. It allows you to enter your home’s square footage, how many people live in your home, how many dryer loads you do a week, etc., to estimate your energy costs. Then you can compare a natural gas furnace and a natural gas water heater to electric.
We tested out this calculator by giving an example of a 2000 sq. ft. home in the Hamel area, with 4 occupants, that did 8 dryer loads a week. The answer it came up with? That, when using a high-efficiency furnace vs. even a nearly maximum efficiency (99% AFUE) electric furnace, you save almost $1,500 a year using natural gas instead of electric! The website also helpfully tells you that this is like taking 6 cars off the highway or adding 8 acres of trees to your local environment. Very nice!
Gas heat is not only cheaper, but better for the environment! You may be wondering, then, why would anyone opt for electric heat over gas? Well, the upfront cost of electric heat is significantly less. Gas furnaces cost more to purchase upfront. Also, many people think electric heat is safer because, since there is no combustible fuel, there is no chance of a dangerous malfunction. However, as long as your furnace is well maintained and the technicians at Ernst determine it is still safe and efficient, there’s no reason your gas furnace shouldn’t be working perfectly for you. In fact, it should save you money in the long run.