Do you want to stop heating your house with fossil fuels?
Switching from gas to electric heat will bring you quite a few benefits – heating with electricity is safer and easier, in a lot of cases. To make the switch, you would have to disconnect the house from the gas line, perform a few electrical upgrades, and buy a new furnace.
Can You Change from Gas Heat to Electric Heat?
Yes, switching from gas heat to electric heat is totally doable. The existing hot air system that works on gas would simply be replaced by a heat pump or an electric furnace (the new appliance will still be using the existing ductwork).
By the way, switching to electric heating will bring you a few benefits:
- Electric heating appliances, in general, require less maintenance. As there is no burning of fossil fuels involved in the process, the whole system wouldn’t have to be cleaned and checked as often.
- Electric heating is also safer. You’ll be eliminating the risk of a gas leak and carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Usually, gas heating requires more space, as the system has a boiler and pipes.
- In a lot of areas, it is much easier to get access to electricity than to gas.
Is Gas Heat Warmer Than Electric?
The heat produced by a gas unit is hotter than the heat created by electric furnaces. This means that you are going to need less time to warm up the house if you have a gas furnace.
When the combustion occurs, the air becomes extremely hot – top-quality gas furnaces can raise the temperature up to 200 F. But do bear in mind that a great amount of heat gets lost in the ductwork.
The great news is that an electric furnace will be able to keep up with your heating needs. But only if the unit is sized right.
How Do I Switch from Gas to Electric?
You can’t really convert a gas furnace to an electric unit, so you would have to remove a part of the existing heating system and install a new one.
Here are the main things that you should take into consideration:
- You would have to hire a professional gas engineer to disconnect your house from the gas line. The expert should also decommission the boiler and get rid of the pipes and radiators.
It is your energy supplier’s job to remove the gas meter and make sure that the gas supply is capped. You can choose to simply disconnect the gas or to have the gas pipe running into the property fully removed.
- You might need to change the electrical wiring that is running to the furnace.
Typically, electric furnaces need a draw between 60 and 80 amps. The average household uses 220 volts for large appliances (electric furnace included).
These numbers will help you figure out what breaker size you are going to need.
For example, if the unit has a total wattage of 17.600 (220 multiplied by 80), then you might want to go for a 100-amp breaker.
Do bear in mind that the owner’s manual that comes with the furnace usually has a list of the most suitable breakers, so you might not have to do the math at all.
- At times, the ductwork designed for gas furnaces might not be suitable for electric furnaces. Ask a professional to find out, if your existing ductwork is right or whether it should be altered.
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How Much Does It Cost to Convert from Gas to Electric Heat?
On average, it is going to cost you between $2.900 and 9.500 to switch from gas to electric heating.
|A new electric furnace||$600-$2.600||The price of an electric furnace depends on the type and the size. The cost of a 60.000-BTU unit, for example, starts at around $1.200.|
|The removal and disposal of the gas unit||$150-$400||Most HVAC companies will handle the removal and disposal of your old unit. Some utility companies can offer to cap your gas line for free.|
|Various electrical upgrades||$1.300-$2.500||Electrical upgrades to your panel might be necessary to support the new unit and the existing appliances.|
|Permits and inspections||$250-$1.500||An HVAC installation requires a permit. An inspector will help make sure that the installation aligns with the specifications of the manufacturer and that the unit is safe for you and your family.|
|Installation labor||$600-$2.500||A highly experienced contractor won’t be the cheapest one. But remember that the efficiency and safety of the new unit are going to depend on the quality of installation.|
|Replacement of ducts and vents (additional costs)||$1.400-$5.600||Your existing ductwork might be of the wrong size or type. The expert would also have to replace the ducts, if they are defective or if they no longer comply with the building codes.|
Is It Cheaper to Heat with Gas or Electric?
In the majority of areas, electricity is more expensive per unit than natural gas. It also takes a bit more time to warm up the house with electricity, so you might end up running the furnace for longer.
With that being said, unlike gas heating, electric heating is 100% effective. This means that for every unit of electricity used, the furnace is going to create a unit of heat (the AFUE of the most efficient gas furnaces is between 90% and 98.5%).
How Much Is Electric Heat Per Month?
It is quite easy to manually calculate your electric heating costs.
- Find out the wattage of your appliance. If you can’t find the wattage straight away, you can multiply amps by the voltage to calculate the watts (to convert the number to kilowatts simply divide it by 1000).
- Figure out how much a kilowatt-hour costs in your area. The national average is around 10.42 cents.
- Multiply the kilowatts of your furnace by the price per kilowatt-hour.
- If you tend to use the furnace 10 hours per day, then multiply the number by 10 to find out how much it will cost you to heat your house with electricity per day.
What’s the Cheapest Way to Heat Your Home?
For a lot of areas, heating with natural gas is still the cheapest way to keep the house warm. If you don’t have access to gas, then a heat pump will help keep your heating bills low (this is true for the places with mild winters).
However, no matter what heating system you decided to go for, there will always be a few tips that you can take into consideration to lower your bills even more.
- Take advantage of a smart thermostat. This device will automatically lower the temperature when you’re out or when you are asleep; as a result, you might be able to save a few hundred bucks throughout the year.
- Only heat the rooms that you use. Leave the vents open, but lower the thermostat and use an energy-efficient space heater in the room where you tend to spend most of your time.
- Leave the oven and the shower door open after use.
- Add extra insulation to your house to keep the heat trapped inside.
- Get a humidifier. Drier air feels colder than it actually is.