Cost of Gas Heating Vs. Electric Heating: What You Should Know

Written by: Aaron Patterson
October 2, 2023
Cost of Gas Heating Vs. Electric Heating: What You Should Know

In a world where energy consumption and costs are at the forefront of many homeowners' concerns, understanding the intricacies of heating systems becomes imperative. As of 2022, the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that nearly40% of a household's energy is dedicated to heating.

Thus, the choice between gas and electric heating not only impacts the environment but also significantly dictates your annual energy expenditure. This comprehensive guide delves deep into the specifics of both systems, presenting data-driven insights to empower you in making an informed decision tailored to your unique needs.

Gas vs. Electric Heating Systems

Key Differences Between Systems

Gas and electric heating methods differ in their heat generation and distribution techniques. While gas heating involves burning fuel to produce heat, electric heating uses electricity to generate warmth.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Gas heaters are often celebrated for their warmth and cost-effectiveness. They arequick to heat spaces and can be cheaper over time. However, they require ventilation and regular maintenance and can pose safety risks like carbon monoxide leaks. Electric heaters, on the other hand, are easier to install and safer with no emissions, but can sometimes strain the utility bill, especially in colder months.

Factors to Consider

When deciding between gas and electric, consider cost, safety, and installation. Which system suits your home's setup? How much are you willing to invest in safety precautions for gas systems?

Gas Heating System

Navigating the realm of heating systems, one often encounters the age-old debate of gas vs. electric. But before forming an opinion, it's essential to delve into the intricate facets of the gas heating system. With a legacy of warmth, reliability, and efficiency, here's what a gas heating system entails:

Cost of Installation

When embarking on the installation journey of a gas heating system, it's vital to understand its components and their cost implications. A gas heating system, particularly in gas furnaces, usually comes with a higher initial cost. This isn't without reason; the necessity for a centralized furnace and specific flue outlets are paramount.

Such installations require not just a larger financial investment but also a more specialized one. Expertise in installation, specialized equipment, and a robust understanding of safety measures are non-negotiable prerequisites, thereby adding to the initial cost.

Operating Costs

While the initial outlay for a gas heating system may induce a touch of sticker shock, its longer-term financial benefits often come as a soothing balm. Operating a gas heater, particularly in regions where natural gas is more accessible and affordable, tends to bring about reduced monthly energy expenditures. The relatively lower price of natural gas ensures that these systems remain cost-effective throughout their operational life.

Natural Gas Prices

Reliable and recent data from the EIA paints a clear picture: natural gas consistently trumps electric heat in cost-effectiveness across all U.S. states. This economic advantage is primarily due to two core reasons - the inherent efficiency of modern gas furnaces and the prevalent accessibility to gas outlets, ensuring a steady and affordable supply.

Regular Maintenance Costs

As with any complex system, a gas heating setup necessitates regular check-ups and maintenance. The periodic inspections, while ensuring the system's longevity and safety, do bring along their associated costs. From diligently examining the furnace's functionality to preemptively addressing potential gas leaks, these intermittent yet critical expenses play a pivotal role in the system's lifecycle.

Average Cost of Running a Gas Heater

Piecing together both the upfront investment and the running costs provides a comprehensive view of the gas heating system's economics. While the setup charges might be on the steeper side, regions benefiting from competitive natural gas prices often find the operational costs to be more wallet-friendly.

Energy Efficiency Rating of Gas Heaters

Contemporary models, particularly those at the higher end of the spectrum, can proudly flaunt an exceptional AFUE rating of up to 97%. This metric translates to a near-perfect conversion efficiency, where the heater transforms almost every ounce of consumed energy into warmth, ensuring minimal wastage and optimal heating.

Electric Heating System

The world of heating solutions offers a myriad of options, and standing tall with its blend of modernity and efficiency is the electric heating system. A paradigm of sleekness and effortless warmth, electric heating promises both convenience and reliability. Let's delve deep into this modern marvel and dissect its many facets:

Cost of Installation

An undeniable advantage of electric heaters lies in their straightforward installation. Unlike the more intricate setups demanded by gas systems, electric heating solutions forgo the need for extensive components like chimneys or elaborate duct systems. This simplicity not only translates to a swifter installation process but also ensures that the ordeal is less labor-intensive, and consequently, more budget-friendly.

Operating Costs

While the initial charm of electric heaters revolves around their cost-effective installation, it's pivotal to approach their operating costs with a discerning eye. Invariably, electricity can be more taxing on one's budget, especially when compared to natural gas. This disparity becomes particularly evident when large spaces are involved or during the rigorous demands of peak winter months.

Cost of Electricity

The evolving landscape of energy costs presents its own set of challenges. As per recent projections from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, there's an anticipated uptick in electric heating costs for the imminent winter season.

This accentuates the importance of being conversant with the average cost per kWh. A nuanced understanding of these figures is paramount in forecasting and managing potential spikes in monthly energy bills.

Upfront Costs for an Electric Heater

Electric heaters, for all their modernity, present an enticing proposition when it comes to initial expenses. Even though they may command a higher operational cost, their upfront price tags tend to lean towards the more affordable end. These costs, of course, fluctuate based on myriad determinants — from the dimensions of your living space to the specific capacity and model of the heater in question.

Average Cost to Run an Electric Heater

The intricacies of electric heating costs encompass more than mere unit prices. To truly grasp the financial implications of running an electric heater, one must factor in diverse elements.

From prevailing electricity tariffs to the efficiency of the heater, the insulation quality of the dwelling, and even the specific heating habits and patterns of its occupants — all these components coalesce to shape the overall operational expense narrative.


1. Which is more energy efficient, gas or electric heating?

Gas heating, especially with modern furnaces, tends to be more energy-efficient.

2. How do installation costs compare between the two?

Gas heating systems generally have a higher installation cost due to the need for specialized equipment and setups.

3. Is electric heating safer than gas heating?

Electric heating doesn't pose risks like carbon monoxide leaks, making it safer.

4. What impacts the operational cost of electric heaters?

Factors such as electricity prices, heating efficiency, and home insulation play a role.

5. Are there any environmental concerns with gas heaters?

Yes, burning natural gas releases carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas.


When the chilly months approach, deciding between a gas or electric heating system is crucial. While gas heaters promise warmth and cost-effectiveness, electric heaters offer simplicity and safety. But remember, your choice should factor in installation requirements, fuel availability, and any community regulations.

Are you thinking about installing a thermostat at home or at work? Look through our blogs a HVAC of America to get more relevant information for your big job.

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