If your home, like millions of others across the country, makes use of electric heating, maybe you have considered switching to gas. On the surface, this isn’t an uncommon choice for homeowners to make. After all, gas and electric are the two most common sources of fuel for heating homes. People naturally consider making the change from one to the other.
There are several reasons you might consider converting electric heat to gas, the potential for saving money on your energy costs being chief among them. While it’s certainly feasible to make the change, and it may indeed bring big benefits upon you, there are a few things you should know before you make the conversion.
How Is My Home Heated Now?
The first thing you need to be aware of before making any changes in your heating system is what’s currently heating your home. The answer will affect whether it’s even worth the effort to make the switch from electric heat to gas.
The answer to this question is not as simple as “electric” or “gas” or “other.” If you already make use of electric heat, by what process does it heat the home? Do you have a heated floor, for example? Or is your home heated by way of an electric radiator? Or perhaps a system of baseboard heaters?
If you answered yes to any of these, converting electric heat to gas may be a massive and costly undertaking for you. The reason for this is that these systems don’t make use of any sort of system of ducts. As a result, if you want to make the switch, you’ll have to have ductwork installed inside your home first. In some homes, this isn’t viable at all. In others, it can be prohibitively expensive.
If, on the other hand, your home is heated by way of an electric furnace or a heat pump, then you’ll already have the ducts in place. That will make it a lot easier when it comes time to install your gas furnace.
Does My Home Already Have a Gas Line?
Because people switch back and forth between gas and electric heating, chances are your home already has a gas line that you can connect to if you want to have a gas furnace installed. Of course, if your home has never used gas as a fuel source before, then you may not have any sort of gas distribution system set up.
If that’s the case, it doesn’t mean you can’t make the switch to gas-powered heating. You will just need to have a licensed contractor set up a gas line for you. This is a relatively simple, somewhat inexpensive process, assuming the technicians you hire are experienced professionals, such as the ones from Entek.
Usually, the process of installing a gas line is a good bit easier if your home is still under construction. If you are in the process of constructing or remodeling your home, your contractor will have an easier time if you have already made the decision about how to heat the home.
How Much Money Will This Save Me?
Before converting electric heat to gas, you need to decide whether it is financially worth your while to do so. Even if, on paper, gas heating seems to be less expensive, you must weigh the cost of the heat source itself with all the other expenses you’ll incur.
Gas-powered heating is famously less expensive and more efficient than electric heating. If you live in a particularly cold climate, you could end up saving up to $1,700 a year on your heating bills. However, if your climate is more temperate, you may not save enough money to justify the cost of making all the necessary upgrades to your home and property.
You will want to weigh your projected savings for an average year against the cost of having a gas heating system installed. This can vary widely from home to home. Those living in a new home in a temperate climate will find gas heating to be less cost-effective than those who dwell in a colder climate and an older home.
You should also do a little research on the energy-saving rebates available in your area. If any are offered, switching to more efficient gas can save you even more throughout the year.
Which Will Be Better for the Environment?
In today’s world, “green” heating technology should always be a consideration. And while the benefits of electric systems have been widely touted, it should be noted that an electric heating system has yet to approach the efficiency of a natural gas one.
Actually, gas heating systems run with nearly 100 percent efficiency. This is why tax incentives exist to encourage homeowners to make the switch to natural gas. As technology improves, electricity becomes more efficient and more eco-conscious to provide; however, it must still be produced somehow. That’s why it may never be as efficient as a heating system that warms your home directly, without the need to be converted to electricity first. This is one of the greatest benefits of natural gas heating.
Can I Have Both?
Of course, if you’ve weighed the pros and cons of both types of home heating, you may have wondered if it’s possible to reap the benefits of both. The answer, actually, is YES—and many homeowners are already reaping the cost savings and rewards in efficiency that come with a dual fuel system.
The way a dual fuel system usually works is by having an electric condenser in place for when the temperature is reasonably mild outside. If you only need to warm your house up a bit, this will be easy enough to accomplish with that condenser. If, however, it starts to really freeze outside, you can simply turn on your gas heater. Heating your home in this manner can save you up to 30 percent on your heating bill per year.