While natural gas remains the most widely used home heating fuel here in the United States, it may not be available in all areas of the country. Those with no access to natural gas have to rely on other sources of energy for their heating needs including propane and electricity. Even homeowners with access to natural gas can opt for alternatives when selecting a new furnace. If you are in the market for a new furnace and are considering an electric furnace, here are a few things your St. Paul heating service company would like you to know.

The average price for a new gas furnace ranges from $2,000 to $3,000. According to Consumer Reports, new electric furnaces are less expensive on average, ranging from $1,000 to $1,500. Now, while the upfront cost of an electric heater is lower than a gas furnace, operating a gas furnace is lower in cost.

The primary benefit of an electric heater is the lower purchase price. The technology behind electric heating is relatively simple, they basically work like your toaster or hair dryer. That is, coils within your electric heater heat up and a blower forces the warm air through your ductwork. Due to the simplicity of the design, electric furnaces have a longer service life, between 20 and 30 years, compared to a gas furnace which has a design life of 15 to 20 years. In addition, electric furnaces are heating systems that are pretty simple and straightforward, meaning repairs are less frequent. And since electric furnaces burn no fuels, there is no chance of accidental exposure to carbon monoxide.

But this is not to say gas furnaces don’t hold benefits as well.

Natural gas is a much cheaper source of energy than electricity. So a gas furnace will save you money every month in utility costs. The combustion chambers inside gas furnaces operated at a much higher temperature than electric furnaces, therefore they will heat your home much faster.

Both gas and electric furnaces hold a variety of pros and cons, to further compare these differences, contact your HVAC professional.