If you’re in the market for a new furnace, it’s important to do some research to determine which type is best for your home.  Cost is obviously a big consideration when choosing which type of furnace to buy, but there are other factors that may weigh in your decision-making process, like the area you live in or the resources available in your neighborhood.  There are models for every budget, fuel-type, and level of comfort.

Electric Furnaces

While most homes use a gas furnace, there are options for those that prefer an electric heating system.  In general, electric furnaces have a lower initial purchase price and installation cost.  They also tend to have fewer maintenance issues over time.  However, electricity is almost always more expensive than natural gas, which means your monthly electric bill will likely increase in the winter months. 

Electric furnaces create warm air by heating the air brought in over several electric-resistance heating elements and then blowing the warm air out.  These coils (similar to the coils in a toaster or a hair dryer) need time to get hot, heat the air inside the furnace, and then blow it back out.  This can cause some lag time in heating your home.

Gas Furnaces

Gas furnaces are able to provide heat almost instantaneously and can heat the home at higher temperatures than electric furnaces.  Although the initial investment of a gas furnace may be higher than an electric one, because natural gas is often cheaper than electricity, gas furnaces are generally less expensive to run.  That’s assuming, however, the natural gas line is already in place at your home.  If not, it can be expensive or sometimes impossible to install one. 

Because there is a chance of a gas leak with a gas furnace, that increases the risk that carbon monoxide can enter your home.  So even though you should have carbon monoxide detectors in your home no matter what type of furnace you have, a gas furnace does increase the risk of carbon monoxide entering your home.   

Keeping your home warm and comfortable during the Chicagoland winter is no easy task.  You’ll want to make sure, no matter which type you chose, that your furnace is up for the challenge!