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  • Electric or Gas Furnace

    I am planning on installing a forced air furnace to heat an area of my house. But it won't be heating the whole house. The rest of the house already has electric baseboard heaters.
    The area that this furnace will heat is about 800 square feet and according to sizing calculator I used, I would need a 10kW electric furnace or a 35,000 BTU (output) gas furnace.
    So my question is, should I go gas or electric?
    (we have a gas water heater so gas piping is available and the electric panel has the capacity for a furnace).
    Gas is $14.943 per Gigajoule and electricity is $0.067 per kWH.
    Which would be cheaper to run? I'm in BC (western Canada) in case that matters.

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Re: Electric or Gas Furnace

    If you do your math again I think you'll see that electric is about twice as expensive as you mentioned. I live in Mass. and here the electric rates vary but on average for residential use it is between .16 and .18 cents per KWH

    The easiest way to tell what you are paying is look at your electric bill and see what the total bill is for the month, divide that number by the KWH used and that is your real cost which in my state covers cost of fuel, cost of delivery, and a bunch of things that I have no idea about are thrown in there to give a grand total much higher than many people think they are paying.

    Who knows maybe up in Canada electricity is much cheaper than the states.

    In Mass. I would always go with Natural Gas.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Electric or Gas Furnace

      1 gigajoule = 277.777 777 78 kilowatt hour so gas is cheaper at the moment. Gas is typically cheaper

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Electric or Gas Furnace

        Originally posted by zzip7 View Post
        I am planning on installing a forced air furnace to heat an area of my house. But it won't be heating the whole house. The rest of the house already has electric baseboard heaters.
        The area that this furnace will heat is about 800 square feet and according to sizing calculator I used, I would need a 10kW electric furnace or a 35,000 BTU (output) gas furnace.
        So my question is, should I go gas or electric?
        (we have a gas water heater so gas piping is available and the electric panel has the capacity for a furnace).
        Gas is $14.943 per Gigajoule and electricity is $0.067 per kWH.
        Which would be cheaper to run? I'm in BC (western Canada) in case that matters.

        Thanks!
        What is the cost to install each?

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Electric or Gas Furnace

          Is it possible to get rid of the current electric baseboards and put in duct work and convert 100% to natural gas? If it's a 1 storey with an unfinished basement, thats your best bet over the long term. Electricity heating cost will kill you each and every year .

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Electric or Gas Furnace

            Guys.... nothing is more expensive than electric heat or hot water by electric,
            with the possible exception of Plutonium ! That's how expensive it is per KWH
            If I had Natural Gas available my first choice for heat would be forced hot water it gives an even heat and is generally more comfortable in my opinion
            than a forced hot air system. There is no residual heat left over between cycles as in a forced hot water system. Radiant floor heating is considered possibly the best as it heats the floor and then eventually the room but is expensive to install and is much more complicated as far as plumbing and any repairs that might be needed.
            Even though electricty does have it's pluses, it is fairly easy to install, is 100% efficient requires no flue pipe or venting emits nothing in the way of polutants. it is however, almost criminally expensive per BTU....

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Electric or Gas Furnace

              Efficiency is also a factor both in terms of initial cost and long term operating expense. 90% or higher efficiency gas powered units cost more to buy and install and their variable speed motors are also a lot more expensive. The offset is both a more comfortable home with the variable speed motors as there is not the on and then off as with old single speed motors and you don't get the cold spots in a house.

              The new gas furnaces also require venting out a side wall and cannot make use of your old furnaces flue pipe. This can complicate things a little bit depending upon the location of your existing furnace and ducting.

              Extending the gas line for your water tank may be easy but you need to verify that the diameter is adequate for the distance to the furnace from your meter and the BTU's you need. You may need a larger diameter gas line than was installed originally for just the hot water heater.

              With gas there is moisture put out into the air, though not as much with the newer units but it is still reduces the need for a humidifier.

              Gas is sourced in Western Canada so your cost should stay relatively low. Thanks to Enron & Bush et al the natural gas line was never extended into the Western USA so our gas prices are very high - double what they were pre-Bush so electricity is actually a better option especially with solar offsets.

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