There are plenty of reasons to make the switch from natural gas to electricity for heating your home. Electricity is known to be safer than combustible fuel sources. It’s also much more easily available for most homes than propane, gas, or coal. Depending upon the furnace and your location, it may also be significantly cheaper to utilize an electric furnace.
Many modern homes are already equipped with electric furnaces. However, older buildings are mostly equipped with natural gas or other heating methods. If you live in an older building and are wondering about making the switch, you may have some questions about how the process works. Read on for more information about how to convert a natural gas furnace to electric.
Start by Comparing Costs
Before committing to changing the method you use for heating your home, you should perform a cost comparison. The fact is that there is no one-size-fits-all method for heating a home. Choosing the best one largely depends upon the area you live in, its access to utilities, and the climate. For example, if you live in a very cold part of the country, an electric furnace may not be the most efficient method of heating your home. Natural gas burns hotter and heats up faster, which makes it perfect for keeping warm in extremely cold climates.
If you live in a more temperate area, however, where the winters get cold but not too cold, electric heating may well be the most efficient option. While it’s true that gas may be less expensive in the short term, advancing technology means that electrical heating is far more efficient than ever before. Nevertheless, this will still depend upon utility costs in your area. Make sure you do some research on costs before committing to anything.
Check for Any Credits or Benefits in Your Area
These days, there are a variety of government tax credits and other benefits for homeowners who make the switch away from fossil fuels and to more sustainable heating methods. Before deciding on how you’ll heat your home, it’s worth it to do a little research to see if there are any incentives offered in your area. Often, if you switch to electric heating, the tax credits will help to offset the cost of what can be a somewhat expensive installation process.
Visit the government’s ENERGY STAR® website for information on the latest tax credits available for furnaces and other home improvements.
Find the Right Furnace for Your Home
When you convert from a natural gas furnace to an electric, you’ll notice a clear benefit right away: it’s easier to place an electric furnace in your home since it doesn’t emit any toxic byproducts. Since natural gas furnaces create fumes that must be vented out, they must be placed in specific areas, such as basements, where they won’t pose a risk to the inhabitants of the house. An electric furnace, on the other hand, can essentially be placed anywhere within the home. This allows you a good deal more versatility. Electric furnaces also tend to be cheaper to purchase than gas-powered ones.
Despite this, you’ll still need to find the right furnace for your home. It’s important to ensure you choose the right-sized furnace for the house. Too big of a furnace and your electric bill will be unnecessarily high. Too small, and the furnace will have to work incredibly hard to get the house warm, also driving up the operating costs.
There are many different companies that produce electric furnaces, and they tend to be of varying quality. You’ll have to decide which one works best for you depending upon your budget—the prices can also vary a good deal—and the recommendation of your HVAC installer.
Get the Best Person to Install It
Installing an electric furnace is not a job you can DIY. There’s a lot more to it than simply connecting all of the parts. If you’re not trained in HVAC installation, you need a professional installer who can not only hook up the furnace for you but also connect the blower motor and make sure it can effectively get heat to every room in your house.
The installation fee is often the most expensive part of making the switch from natural gas to electric. Nevertheless, you shouldn’t try to cut corners here. While it’s not necessary for you to overpay in this area, it’s critically important the installation is done correctly. That means it’s well worth it to pay a bit more up-front and ensure you get the best possible results. Hiring a less-than-reputable company can end up costing you money in the long run because you will soon need work to be redone or to have repairs made.
Look for a company that has a strong online presence and good reviews. Check references as well. The best HVAC companies have plenty of satisfied customers who you can talk to. For example, visit the Entek HVAC website. We’re located in the Vancouver area of Washington State, and our testimonials page is lengthy and detailed, giving strong evidence of our record of great customer service.
Make Sure You Maintain Your New Furnace
As with any type of HVAC system, an electric furnace needs regular maintenance to ensure it stays in good working order for many years. As the furnace is electric, the connections will regularly need to be inspected and occasionally repaired, the blower motor must be kept in good condition, and the ducts should be cleaned at least once or twice a year to prevent the buildup of dust and dirt. Regular maintenance will help to improve the air quality in your home and prevent the risk of a catastrophic failure of your home’s HVAC system, which can prove to be extremely costly for you.