how much electricity does a gas furnace use

How Much Electricity Does a Gas Furnace Use?

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Get Smarter On Architecture and Design

Get the 3-minute weekly newsletter keeping 5K+ designers in the loop.

Enter your Email to Sign up

Side-bar-footer-forum

Gas furnaces have long been popular for heating homes due to their efficiency and reliability. These furnaces are a common choice for heating homes, especially during the winter season and in areas with colder climates.

But while gas furnaces primarily use natural gas for heat production, they also require electricity to operate various components. The electricity usage varies depending on the type and model of the furnace, as well as its age. But just how much electricity does a gas furnace use?

How Gas Furnaces Work

Gas furnaces burn gas in a combustion chamber, producing heat. At the same time, a gas furnace blower fan draws in cold air from the return ducts and pushes it over the heat exchangers. In the heat exchangers, the heat is transferred to the air by passing it through the furnace, warming the air.

The warm air is distributed throughout the home via metal tubes, ducts, and vents. This process of distribution ensures that all rooms receive a steady supply of warm air, providing comfort during cold winter months

Gas furnaces run in cycles to maintain a consistent temperature in your home. When the thermostat senses a drop in temperature, it signals the furnace to start the heating cycle. The gas valve opens, allowing natural gas to flow into the combustion chamber, which is ignited by the electronic ignition system. The burners produce a flame that heats the heat exchanger, which, in turn, warms the air.

The blower fan then circulates the heated air throughout the house. Once the desired temperature is reached, the furnace cycles off until the thermostat trigger heating again.

One drawback of gas furnaces is the potential risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Gas furnaces produce the deadly carbon monoxide as a byproduct of combustion. The toxic gas is typically vented outside through a flue or chimney.

Does a Gas Furnace Need Electricity?

While gas furnaces primarily rely on natural gas as their fuel source, they require electricity to operate certain components. Electric power is necessary to ignite the burners, control the blower fan, and operate the electronic controls. Therefore, even though gas furnaces utilize natural gas for most of their heating process, electricity is still necessary to power gas furnaces effectively. Below are the various gas furnace parts which use electricity to provide warmth and comfort in your home.

Gas furnace

Image Credits: Snellheatingandair.com

1. Electric Ignition

One of the primary electrical components of a gas furnace is the electric ignition. Traditionally, gas furnaces used a pilot light that required a constant gas supply to stay glowing hot.

However, modern gas furnaces now use electric ignition systems that remove the need for the pilot light. These electronic ignition systems use electricity to ignite the gas burners, resulting in more efficient and reliable operation.

2. Fan Motor

Another crucial electrical component in a gas furnace is the fan motor. This motor is responsible for circulating the heated air throughout the house. It uses electricity to power the fan blades, ensuring warm air is evenly distributed to every room.

The best part, the technology worked its magic and brought us the variable-speed fan motor. This option allows homeowners to control the fan speed and airflow. As a result, homeowners can optimize comfort and energy efficiency while reducing heating costs.

3. Blower Fan

The furnace blower fan is an integral part of the gas furnace that relies on electricity. This fan helps draw in cool air from the return ducts and push it over the heat exchangers. The heat exchangers then transfer the heat from the burning gas to the air, distributed throughout the house.

Therefore, the blower fan motor ensures constant airflow, aiding in heating. Blower fans help circulate the heated air throughout the home. The furnace blower motor is powered by an electric motor and is responsible for pulling in cool air from the return ducts, passing it over the heat exchanger, and then distributing the warmed air through the supply ducts.

Without the blower fan, the heated air would remain trapped in the furnace, rendering the heating system ineffective.

4. Programmable Thermostat

Lastly, the programmable thermostat is an electrical component that allows homeowners to control and optimize their gas furnace’s operation. You can program these thermostats such that they adjust the temperature based on specific times of the day or week, resulting in energy savings.

By installing a thermostat that uses electricity, homeowners can achieve customized comfort while reducing energy consumption.

5. Additional Features

Some gas furnaces come with additional features like built-in humidifiers or air purifiers. These features may require an additional amount of electricity to operate.

How Much Electricity Does a Gas Furnace Use?

An average household gas furnace can consume anywhere between 300 to 800 watts of electricity while operating. However, it’s essential to note that this consumption can vary based on factors such as furnace size, blower motor type, specific configurations, and additional features.

Generally, a rule of thumb is that a gas furnace will consume around 20-30 watts per square foot of heated space. For example, a 2,000-square-foot home would require an electric consumption of approximately 40,000-60,000 watts.

Electric Connection

Image Credits: Unsplash.com

Can a Gas Furnace Run Without Electricity?

So, in the event of a power outage, you may need a power source, such as a generator, to kickstart and run your gas furnace. Additionally, some gas furnaces have battery backup systems that power the essential crucial components.

Energy Efficiency in Gas Furnaces

Gas furnaces are very energy efficient, as they can convert a significant portion of the fuel’s energy into heat. This efficiency is measured using the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating, which indicates the percentage of fuel converted into usable heat. Modern gas furnaces can have AFUE ratings as high as 98%, making them highly efficient compared to other heating options.

Advancements in technology have led to the development of highly efficient gas furnaces. These modern furnaces are designed to minimize electricity consumption and lower the utility bill while maximizing heat output. The following features contribute to improved energy efficiency:

1. Variable-Speed Blowers

Variable-speed blowers are a notable innovation in modern furnaces. Unlike traditional single-speed blowers, a variable-speed motor can adjust the speed according to the heating requirements, resulting in energy savings and reduced electricity costs.

2. Electronic Ignition Systems

Older models of gas furnaces usually rely on a standing pilot flame that burns continuously and consumes an enormous amount of electricity. However, newer models often feature electronic ignition systems, which are more energy-efficient.

Electric Power

Image Credits: Unsplash.com

3. Advanced Heat Exchangers

Another aspect of modern furnaces that enhances energy efficiency is the advanced heat exchanger design. These heat exchangers are built to extract as much heat as possible from the combustion process. So, less energy is required to generate the desired warmth.

4. High-Efficiency Blower Motor

The power consumption of the blower motor can vary depending on the furnace’s size and efficiency rating. A high-efficiency furnace will generally have a variable-speed motor, which consumes less electricity compared to single-speed motors.

5. Control Boards

Gas furnaces have control boards that regulate various functions, such as temperature control and fan operation. These control boards require a small amount of electricity to function properly.

6. Professional Installation and Maintenance

To increase the energy efficiency of your gas furnace, it is essential to have it professionally installed. A skilled technician will help determine how much electricity your house uses and the amount of energy your heating system requires, ensure that the furnace is properly sized for your home, and optimize its performance while minimizing energy waste.

Also, remember that regular maintenance and servicing are also key to keeping your gas furnace operating at its best efficiency. Consult with a professional HVAC technician to ensure the internal parts of your system remains in top condition and continue to provide efficient heating for your home.

Professional Installation and Maintenance.

Gas Furnace vs. Electric Furnace

As far as electricity consumption goes, you cannot compare gas furnaces to electric furnaces. An electrical panel can use up to a staggering 50 kilowatt hours of electricity to run! On the other hand, gas furnaces use electricity to power a few components and will hardly consume more than 800 watts.

Tips for Managing the Electricity Consumption of Gas Furnaces

  • Choose a high-efficiency furnace: High-efficiency furnaces not only save on energy costs but also consume less electricity. Look for furnaces with a high Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating.
  • Regular maintenance: Schedule annual maintenance for your gas furnace to ensure it operates efficiently. A well-maintained furnace will consume less electricity and ensure a lower energy bill.
  • Consider programmable thermostats: Programmable thermostats allow you to set temperature schedules, optimizing energy usage and reducing electricity consumption.
  • Optimize insulation: Properly insulating your home will help retain heat and require less cooling. So, insulation reduces the workload on your furnace and, subsequently, lower electricity consumption.

Tips for Managing the Electricity Consumption of Gas Furnaces

In a Nutshell

In conclusion, while gas furnaces primarily rely on natural gas as their fuel source, they require electricity to power essential components such as the blower fan, electronic ignition system, and controls.

Moreover, understanding the electricity needs of your gas furnace is important for proper maintenance and ensuring efficient operation.

Gas furnaces have been the first choice in the market due to their efficiency and reliability. These boilers are widely used for the purpose of heating houses mostly during winter and in the cold climates.

However, the gas furnaces mainly use natural gas to produce heat but they also need electricity to power the different electrical components. Electricity consumption changes depending on the type and the model of the furnace as well as its age. However, what is the amount of electricity that a gas furnace consumes?

How Gas Furnaces Work

Gas furnaces burn gas in a combustion chamber which in turn produces heat. On the other hand, a gas furnace blower fan draws in cold air from the return ducts and sends it over the heat exchangers. The heat is transferred to the air by means of the heat exchangers, where the air passes through the furnace, heating it.

The furnace fans distribute warm air through the house via metal tubes, ducts, and vents. The procedure of distribution ensures that all rooms get a continuous flow of warm air, and the warmth stays there throughout the winter season.

Gas furnaces operate in cycles to make sure that the temperature in your house is always maintained at the set point. When the thermostat detects a decrease in temperature, it sends a signal to the furnace that starts its heating cycle. Natural gas flows through the open gas valve into the combustion chamber that is then lit up by the electronic ignition system. The flame from the burners not only heats the heat exchanger, but also warms the air.

The blower blows the air into the house. When the desired temperature is reached, the oven turns off until the thermostat triggers heating up once again.

One weak point of gas furnaces is that it can lead to carbon monoxide intoxication. The carbon monoxide by-product is emitted as a result of gas furnaces combustion. The gas is commonly released outside though a flue or chimney.

Does A Gas Furnace Need Electricity?

On the other hand, the main fuel source for gas furnaces is natural gas, while they require electricity to run some parts of the system. Electric power is needed for the lit of burners, blower fan, and electronic controls. In conclusion, the gas furnace produces heat using natural gas, but electricity is still required to power it. Check the following gas furnace parts that run on electricity to provide warmth and comfort in your home:

Image Credits: Snellheatingandair.com

1. Electric Ignition

The first electrical component of a gas furnace is the electric ignition. Traditionally, the gas furnaces had a pilot light that required the continuous supply of gas to stay lit continuously.

On the other hand, modern gas furnaces utilize electric ignition systems instead of the pilot light which is no longer necessary. Such electronic ignition systems use electricity to ignite gas burners thus they become more effective and reliable in operation.

2. Fan Motor

The fan motor is another vital electric part of a gas furnace. This fan ensures that the warm air gets distributed uniformly across the house. It has fan blades that are powered by electricity, therefore enabling the warm air to be evenly distributed to every room.

The gem of the whole technology was the variable-speed motor which came with the fan. This choice gives owners the chance to manipulate the fan speed as well as airflow. Thus, they can maximize comfort and energy efficiency and minimize heating expenses in the process.

3. Blower Fan

The furnace blower fan is an essential component of gas furnace which is based on electricity. This fan draws in cool air from the return ducts and passes it through heat exchangers. The heat exchanger then transfers the heat of the burning gas to the air, distributed to various parts of the house.

Hence, the blower fan motor ensures continuous flow of air, which helps heating. The blower fans assist in the circulation of warm air in the whole house. The blower motor in the furnace is powered by an electric motor and is in charge of pulling in cool air from the return ducts, passing it over the heat exchanger, and then sending the warmed air through the supply ducts.

Without the blower fan, the heated air will all stay in the furnace making the heating system useless.

4. Programmable Thermostat

Finally, the programmable thermostat is an electric component that allows people to regulate and improve the gas furnace’s operation. These thermostats can be programmed in such a way that the temperature is adjusted according to specific times of the day and week, thus, resulting in energy savings.

By installing a thermostat in their homes, homeowners can create their own comfort while saving energy.

5. Additional Features

Some gas furnaces have built-in humidifiers, and air purifiers as well. These features, however, might have to use more electricity to power.

How Much Electricity Does A Gas Furnace Use?

An average house gas furnace takes 300 - 800 watts of electricity in total to be operated. Nevertheless, the consumption of this gas may depend on the size of the furnace, blower motor type, specific arrangements as well as the additional features of the system.

Normally, a rule of thumb is that a gas furnace will require around 20-30 watts per square foot of heated space. An instance is that a 2,000-square-foot house will need around 40,000-60,000 watts of electric energy.

Image Credits: Unsplash.com

Can A Gas Furnace Run Without Electricity?

In the event of a power failure, you may need power source like a generator to boot up and operate your gas furnace. Furthermore, some gas furnaces have battery backup systems, which provide power to the basic compulsory units.

Energy Efficiency In Gas Furnaces

Gas furnaces are energy efficient, since they are able to convert a large proportion of fuel’s energy into heat. This efficiency is measured by the Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating, which shows the percentage of fuel converted into useful heat. New gas furnaces can be as efficient as 98% AFUE which is higher than other heating options.

The introduction of modern technologies made it possible to construct incredibly efficient gas furnaces nowadays. These updated stoves are made to decrease the electricity consumption and utility expense while delivering optimum heat output. The following features contribute to improved energy efficiency:

1. Variable-Speed Blowers

One of the key innovations in the recent furnaces is the variable-speed blowers. Different from the normal single-speed blowers, a variable-speed motor can adjust the motor speed according to the heating requirements thereby saving energy and cutting down on the electricity cost.

2. Electronic Ignition Systems

In the case of old gas furnaces, there is usually a standing pilot flame that burns continuously and by doing that consumes a lot of electricity. On the other hand, newer models feature electronic ignition systems that utilize less energy.

Image Credits: Unsplash.com

3. Advanced Heat Exchangers

One more thing that can increase the efficiency of the modern furnaces is the improved heat exchanger design. These heat exchangers are designed to give out the maximum amount of heat from the combustion process. Therefore, less energy is going to be used to produce the needed heat.

4. High-Efficiency Blower Motor

The electricity consumption of the blower motor can be affected by the size of the furnace and its efficiency rating. A high rate of efficiency is usual for a furnace with a variable-speed motor because it uses less electricity than a single-speed motor.

5. Control Boards

The control boards in gas furnaces are able to manipulate a number of functions including temperature control and fan operations. These control panels are very different in that they only require a small amount of electricity to function appropriately.

6. Professional Installation And Maintenance

If you want your gas furnace to be more energy efficient, proper professional installation is a must. A qualified technician will explain to you how much electricity your house uses and what amount of energy your heating system requires, he will also ensure that the furnace is properly sized for your home and will optimize its performance while minimizing energy waste.

Moreover, do not forget that frequent servicing and maintenance are also fundamental in ensuring that your gas furnace works at the highest efficiency possible. Consult with a professional HVAC technician so that your system's internal parts are maintained in good condition and therefore continue to provide efficient heating for your home.

Gas Furnace Vs. Electric Furnace

When it comes to electricity consumption, gas furnace cannot be compared to electric furnace. An electrical panel can consume up to an astonishing 50 kilowatt-hour of electricity to run! However, gas furnaces demand electricity for a few components and consume less than 800 W only.

Tips For Managing The Electricity Consumption Of Gas Furnaces

  • Choose a high-efficiency furnace: The high-efficiency furnaces not only lower energy costs but they also consume little electricity. Seek for furnaces with good Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) rating.
  • Regular maintenance: Schedule an annual maintenance for your gas furnace to keep it running properly. The better maintained your furnace is, the less electricity it consumes and the lower your energy bill will be.
  • Consider programmable thermostats: Programmable thermostats are devices that enable you to create temperature schedules (which in turn are used to optimize energy usage and reduce electricity consumption).
  • Optimize insulation: Insulating your home effectively will prevent heat loss and keeping the temperature low. Consequently, the low-load on a furnace and hence the reduced electricity consumption is achieved by insulation

In A Nutshell

In a nutshell, gas furnaces use natural gas but the blowers, ignition systems, and controls are powered by electricity.

In addition, knowing the electricity requirements of your furnace is crucial for proper upkeep and alert operation.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
Related Articles
how much electricity does a tankless water heater use

How Much Electricity Does a Tankless Water Heater Use?

Tankless water heaters have been around most residential homes for a while now. While you might enjoy the perks of ...

how much electricity does a fish tank use

How Much Electricity Doesa Fish Tank Use: A Comprehensive Overview

Fish tanks have long been a beloved addition to homes and offices, providing a captivating glimpse into the aquatic world. ...

How Much Electricity Does a Crockpot Use?

If you are a fan of those food items that require slow cooking and taste great, slow cooker (also known ...