Switching your furnace from gas to electric
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As the world moves towards decarbonization, more homeowners are transitioning from gas to electric appliances. Switching your furnace from gas to electric is possible and relatively straightforward with the right contractors on your team.
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The first step to switching from a gas to an electric furnace is to purchase a new furnace. You will not be able to re-wire an existing gas furnace to run on electricity. Check out our article on electric furnaces when you start shopping.
How to convert your house to electric heat
Once you purchase a new furnace, you’ll have to hardwire it into your home’s electrical system. You can’t simply plug a furnace into an electrical outlet for safety reasons.
According to most building codes, an electric furnace must run on a dedicated circuit. The furnace circuit can’t power anything other than the furnace.
As such, the furnace will have its own breaker in your electrical box. Wiring will lead from the breaker box to a disconnect switch to the furnace.
We recommend hiring an HVAC pro to hardwire your new electric furnace once it’s delivered to your home.
Why switch from gas to electric furnace?
Gas and electric furnaces both have their pros and cons. In many cases, homeowners choose to convert their house to electric heat for the following reasons:
|⏳ Longer lifespan||Electric furnaces last 20-30 years. Gas furnaces last 15-20 years.|
| Safer||If a gas furnace leaks, you may put your home and family in danger. This may cause a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning.|
|🔌 Easier to install||Electric furnaces don’t require venting.|
|💰 Less expensive||Electric furnaces cost less than comparable gas furnaces.|
|🌎 More sustainable||As we move towards renewable energy sources, clean electricity is more environmentally-friendly than gas.|
|☁️ More efficient||Electric furnaces are more fuel-efficient than gas furnaces.|
|💡 Readily available||Electricity is commonly available in most homes.|
Heat cost: gas vs. electricity
One of the biggest reasons homeowners prefer gas furnaces is that gas is usually less expensive than electricity.
According to data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), electricity costs $34.90 per one million British Thermal Units (MMBTU). Natural gas costs $9.20 per MMBTU. (Calculations by Learn Metrics.)
However, electric furnaces are less expensive upfront. HomeAdvisor says a new electric furnace costs $1,600-6,900 while a new gas furnace costs $3,800-10,000.
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Gas to electric furnace: the bottom line
Switching your furnace from gas to electric involves purchasing a new electric furnace and hiring an HVAC technician to install and wire it properly.
While you may pay more to heat your home with electricity, it’s an environmentally sound move that will benefit the environment as we move towards a sustainable electric grid.