In a warm climate where the winters are short and mild, an electric heater or a combination of electric heating and air conditioning in one unit may be a good choice. But if you live in a cold climate with long, harsh winters, you need a heating option that's more affordable, warms up the room faster, and is reliable, even during a severe storm. For many homeowners, a natural gas furnace is the natural choice. Check out a few reasons why a natural gas furnace is the superior heating option for homes in cold climates.
At first, you may be tempted to spring for an electric furnace because the initial costs for an electric heater are lower. A natural gas furnace can cost over $1000 more than a good electric heater. However, don't be drawn in too quickly by the initial purchase and installation costs. You'll only have to purchase the heating unit once, after all. Your bigger concern should be the operating costs of the heater over time. Which heater will cost more to operate in the winter?
It's difficult to tell exactly what your heating costs are going to be over time, because both electricity and natural gas costs vary by location and change over time. But as a general rule, natural gas is less expensive to buy, making natural gas furnaces less expensive to operate. If you're in a cold climate and your winters are long, then the less money that you have to spend to run the heater, the better. In the long run, you'll recoup the extra money that you spent by choosing natural gas over electricity.
Natural gas furnaces are typically low maintenance and easy to operate. You should plan on having an inspection once a year, preferably in the fall, before you start using the heater for the winter. Your furnace maintenance technician will clean out the soot, check the exhaust flue for holes and leaks, change the oil filter, and check the belts for wear. If you're a reasonably handy homeowner, you can learn to perform many of these tasks yourself.
However, the natural gas furnace doesn't just have ease of use and maintenance on it's side. A natural gas furnace offers a major advantage over an electric heater during severe storms: even if the power goes out, you can still use the natural gas furnace to heat the house. If you've ever been stuck without power on a cold night, you'll understand the importance of an appliance that doesn't rely on electricity to operate.
When you come in from the cold, you want your house to heat up fast. If you're tired of waiting around for the temperature in the room to reach the temperature that you set the thermostat at, you might appreciate the speed of a natural gas furnace. They simply reach the desired temperature faster than electric heaters can, which means that you spend less time shivering and get comfortable sooner.
You can find out how efficient the heater you're considering is by checking the AFUE (annual fuel utilization efficiency) rating. This rating tells you how much of the fuel you burn goes to heating your house, as opposed to how much is lost through a flue or chimney. The minimum fuel efficiency rating for a new gas furnace is 78%, but a high efficiency natural gas furnace can have an even better efficiency rating. Choosing a high efficiency natural gas furnace ensures that less fuel will be lost, making that furnace a better choice if you're concerned about conserving limited fuel resources.
Choosing an efficient, reliable, and cost-effective heating system for your home is important. Consider consulting a home heating contractor for expert advice before buying a new furnace. Click here for info about your home heating options.