Heating With Electricity Vs Gas: Which Is Better?

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Brenda Nyawara

Brenda Nyawara is an editor at Archute. She is a graduate architect with a passion for edge-cutting ideas in design, fashion, art and modern world interests.
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Energy bills have doubled, and consumers will likely pinch their pennies even more before the year draws close.

The cost of energy increased substantially after the lockdown was lifted, and the ongoing war in Ukraine has reduced access to Russian gas supplies. These factors have greatly compounded the potential energy crisis. 

Let’s look at the cost price differences between gas-run households versus electricity-run homes and some of the pros and cons of each fuel type.

Benefits Of Heating with Gas

Benefits Of Heating with Gas

Image source: Oliverheatcool.com

1. Costs Less

Natural gas is a cost-effective energy source compared to oil and coal. It is also deregulated, which means consumers don’t have to fret about adhering to strict governmental regulations.

It will cost you around 4.65p per kilowatt hour of natural gas, whereas 16p will get you one unit of electricity. So, the unit cost of gas is much cheaper than electricity.  

2. Good For The Environment

Gas is the cleanest fossil fuel around. It has a very low carbon footprint, emitting a third less carbon dioxide than coal.  

3. Reliability

If your home uses natural gas, it won’t be left without power if a bad storm hits. So, if all your devices and appliances are powered by gas, you don’t have to be concerned if the electricity goes out. Gas gives you peace of mind during bad weather conditions. 

4. Faster Showers

In today’s fast-paced world, time is money. When using gas, you don’t have to worry about waiting long periods for your electric-powered boiler to warm up. Natural gas has the ability to warm up water twice as fast as electricity. So, you definitely won’t be late for that all-important work meeting!

Benefits Of Heating with Electricity

Benefits Of Heating with Electricity

Image source: Homeserve.com

1. Splices CO2 Emissions

A home that is solely run on electricity gives off fewer CO2 emissions than fossil fuels. Studies have shown that fossil fuel emissions can lead to major illnesses such as coronary heart disease, lung cancer, and even strokes. 

Not to mention, fossil fuels are unpredictable and have contributed substantially to global warming. Fossil fuels are also the main cause of increased greenhouse emissions like carbon monoxide in the environment. 

2. Energy Saving

All fully-electric homes use less energy than combustion-powered appliances. Technological advances have led to the development of energy-efficient electrical appliances. Split heat pumps and high-tech cooking gadgets help to reduce the amount of energy you use. 

3. Better Safety Features

Electricity usage in the home has more safety benefits when compared to gas. Combustion appliances give off small amounts of carbon monoxide, which is harmful to humans. 

Electric furnaces

Image Credits: Aireserv.com

With a fully electric home, you don’t have to worry about gas leaks or, worst-case scenario, gas explosions. Electric-powered appliances are three times more energy efficient than gas, so although a unit costs more, far less is used when running the appliance for the same amount of time. 

A fully-electrified home also ensures cleaner air quality and electrical appliances create less noise than gas appliances meaning a quieter, more peaceful home.

Billing Bottom Line

Let’s talk billing. If you are considering installing a gas central heating system, it will, on average, set you back £5250. The electric option will cost you £3790. Generally, gas appliances are initially pricier but cheaper to cook and run. 

Taking fewer showers, switching off all devices and light switches, and not using the tumble dryer can save consumers up to £205 on their monthly energy bill. Low-income houses will soon benefit from a once-off £400 slash in their energy bills. Visit the utility bidder website to learn more about the looming energy crisis.

Frequently Asked Questions on Heating with Electricity Vs. Gas

1. Is it cheaper to heat by gas furnaces or electric furnaces?

If you are to compare the unit cost, gas central heating systems are cheaper than their electric counterparts. However, professional gas heater installation is more costly since you will need to invest in a boiler, heating pipes, and a radiator. Furthermore, gas systems are more expensive to maintain.

Electric furnace

Image Credits: Callthiele.com

Gas heaters need annual maintenance and servicing. Also, the components have a short lifespan of 15 years and will require frequent replacement. Electric heaters have a longer lifespan, with some guaranteeing a lifetime of dependable use.

Moreover, most modern heating systems, both electricity and gas systems notwithstanding, have heating control. The control helps allows the users to adjust the heat level of the electric or gas furnace to match their needs. Therefore, the heater will be more efficient, thus reducing the cost of running it. Along with that, utility electricity companies offer energy tariffs like Economy 7 and Economy 10. Subscribing to these tariffs could help users to pay lower utility bills for electricity.

That said, there is a negligible difference, if any, between the total installation cost, running cost, and maintenance of both gas and electric heating systems. Even so, gas-heating households will save money since the overall cost is generally cheaper.

2. Which heating is better, a natural gas furnace or electricity?

Your choice of the best heating system will all come down to your budget, commitment to environmental protection and conservation, and personal preference.

Comparing Gas and Electric heating

Image Credits: Waterheaterhub.com

If the energy costs are your key consideration, you may want to check out a gas unit. Although you will need to factor in all costs associated with gas and electric heaters when calculating the sum total before arriving at your decision. Along with that, you must also remember that electricity is more efficient- almost 100%. Meanwhile, a gas system is only about 50% efficient since the gas can be lost in the gas line through gas leaks.

People who are conscious of the environment and do not want to contribute to global warming will want to go for the electric heating system. As aforementioned, gas heaters are one of the biggest emitters of carbon into the atmosphere, ahead of other human activities like vehicle emissions. This explains why the country has banned all new properties from having gas boilers from 2025. On the other hand, electric heaters have zero carbon output and will seldom cause carbon monoxide poisoning.

It is worth mentioning that electric heating systems come in a large variety, like storage heaters and air source heat pumps. So, if you are in search of a heater that matches your needs, you can select one from the electric options. All the more, electric heaters have better air quality than gas options.

3. What other heating options are there?

Below are the various home heating options available besides electric and gas heating.

Other heating options

Image Credits: Cielowigle.com

1. Heat Pump Heating Systems

Heat pumps are perfect for mild climates where temperatures hardly drop below freezing. Air source electric heat pumps suck in outdoor air using a small compressor and indoor air handlers. The Air is heated or cooled by passing it across a series of copper or aluminum evaporator coils before being circulated around the house.

2. Forced Air Furnace Systems

Modern homes are fitted with a forced air heating system and HVAC systems that use a furnace and blow fan. Hot or cold air is distributed through your ductwork making for both hot and cold heating capabilities.

3. Gravity Air Furnace Systems

Gravity air furnaces are common in houses with a basement. Gravity furnaces warm air using convection currents and allow the hot air to rise up into the house above.

4. Ceramic Heaters

Ceramic heaters

Image Credits: Dimplex.co.uk

These heaters have a ceramic heating element that is heated using an electric unit. The element then warms the air in the room using electric heat.

5. Oil Filled Heaters

A reservoir of thermal oil inside the heater is heated using an electric element. The warmth from heating oil is transferred to the surrounding liquid, which then heats the surrounding air.

6. Far Infrared Systems

Entails installing wall panels, freestanding, and ceilings, which reflect the heat emitted by people in a room back to those people. Far infrared heaters have lower operating costs than most other options.

7. Baseboard Heater

 Baseboard Heater

Image Credits: Mitsubishicomfort.com

Baseboard heaters draw hot water from the central boiler unit and move it along baseboards on the walls. Heat is then radiated from the pipes of the baseboard heater into the room. Baseboard heaters can run on electricity, natural gas, or even solar

8. Under-Flooring Systems

In-floor radiant heating could be your go-to option if you experience wild winters and colder climates. Water is transferred from the boiler unit to a tubing system on the floor of the house. Unlike electric gas furnaces that rely on heated air, heat radiates from the underfloor tubes directly to the room.

4. What is the cheapest way of heating a house?

Electric heating system

Image Credits: Wattco.com

Gas heating remains the cheapest way of heating a house. Despite having a higher upfront cost, the eventual cost of running gas heaters is much lower.

Final Thoughts on Heating with Electricity Vs. Gas

The bottom line when it comes to gas and electricity usage is that gas is the cheaper option. Using gas in your home will save you close to 30% on your monthly fuel bill. Natural gas also emits fewer greenhouse gasses into the environment making it more eco-friendly than other fossil fuels. 

However, gas can be dangerous. Consumers who choose to use gas to have their homes heated should make sure their home is properly ventilated at all times. They should also invest in a carbon monoxide gauge to monitor levels constantly. 

Homeowners who choose the fully-electric option might pay more per unit, but electrical appliances are becoming ever more efficient all the time, so the difference in cost is likely to be negligible.

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About the author

Brenda Nyawara

Brenda Nyawara is an editor at Archute. She is a graduate architect with a passion for edge-cutting ideas in design, fashion, art and modern world interests.
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