If you’re shopping for a new furnace this time of year, there’s no doubt that this is something you need very soon. However, choosing a new heater for your home isn’t a decision you should make lightly or hastily. Today’s technology gives you so many choices when it comes to effective heating. So if you’ve been using a gas-powered system or even space heaters, then you may not know that there are electric heating options that don’t have to cost you an arm and a leg to operate.
Homeowners often ask us if electric furnaces have what it takes to keep Chicagoland residents warm. Read on as we answer that and dive into more information about electric furnaces that will help you make an educated decision about your next heating installation.
“Can an Electric Furnace Keep My Home Warm Enough?”
Electric furnaces are found in homes throughout the country, and in a number of different climates. As long as your electric heating system is properly matched to your home (more on that below!) it can definitely be an effective means of heating for your family or household.
Something that is important to keep in mind when considering an electric furnace is that it is more expensive month to month to operate than a natural gas-powered system. But how expensive it is, depends on a number of factors. Also, electric furnaces have a lower installation price point, don’t have the safety concerns that a gas-powered system might, and can be very efficient and effective heaters.
Matching an Electric Furnace to Your Home
As we mentioned above, your electric furnace must be properly matched to your home. This means finding the right size heating system. When we talk about HVAC size, we don’t mean the actual dimensions of the outdoor or indoor units. We’re talking about the amount of wattage the system uses.
Electric furnaces range from 5 kilowatts to 50 kilowatts, and the more kilowatts there are, the more heat that furnace can produce. You should never guess how many kilowatts your intended new furnace has—this can leave you with inefficient heat and waste a lot of energy.
Our HVAC installers know how to properly and professionally size your heater. We’ll determine how much heat output is needed for comfort within your household. We’ll consider factors such as the square footage of your living space, the insulation you have in place, how many doors and windows are in your household, the number of people occupying the space, radiant heat from lighting, and more. We’ll conduct what’s called a heat load calculation using these factors, then that will tell us the “size” of electric furnace that will best meet your needs.
“If I Don’t Have Natural Gas Available, Is an Electric Furnace My Only Option?”
No! You may want to consider a heat pump, actually. This is still an electric heater, but it actually functions much like a central air conditioner. In the summertime, a heat pump draws in hot air from inside your home and expels it outdoors, while the refrigerant within the system allows chilled air to come back in.
The way a heat pump is different from a central AC or furnace is that you can switch the flow of refrigerant from the thermostat, thanks to a component called a reversing valve. This switches the functionality of the electric heat pump, changing it from an air conditioner to a heater.
Please don’t hesitate to come to us with any questions you might have about the benefits and even drawbacks of electric heating.