What You Need to Know About Electric Furnace Systems
Finding the right option for heating your home can seem daunting. With so many options on the market, you have to consider your specific heating needs, the size of your home, the temperatures in your area, and what type of heating source you prefer. Learn more about electric furnace systems and find out if it's the right choice for you.
If you are looking for an environmentally friendly option that can heat your home quickly and evenly, an electric forced air heater may be your best option. Superior Home Supplies has dedicated itself to bringing homeowners the appliances they need at competitive prices. Read on to learn more about how electric furnaces work and check out the available options that Superior Home Supplies has in stock.
What are electric furnaces, and how do they work?
Electric heating systems keep your home warm through the use of electricity for power. The electric furnace system is comprised of a component containing an electric heating element and a blower fan.
Electric furnaces are controlled by a thermostat that switches on automatically to adjust to the desired temperature. When the temperature drops below the temperature on the thermostat, the internal blower fan will turn on and blow air over the heating element. The newly heated air will be forced through the ductwork and out the vents until the rooms reach the desired temperature and the blower fan shuts off.
Are electric furnaces expensive to run?
An electric forced air heater often has higher energy costs than a natural gas furnace. The average cost of electricity in the U.S. runs around $0.14 per kilowatt, which makes the average electric furnace cost about $32 to $35 per million BTUs to operate. Typical natural gas furnaces run less than half this cost on average. While these systems can be more expensive to operate, they are considered more environmentally friendly, and the investment can run closer to the investment in a gas furnace as they tend to last 4 to 8 years longer, which makes their overall cost to install and operate less than it may first appear.
Overall, this means that an electric furnace is best suited to warmer climates where you only need occasional heating and not for an entire season. For whole season heating, a natural gas furnace or heat pump is a better long-term choice.
What are the advantages of an electric furnace?
Homeowners can enjoy many advantages when choosing an electric system for home heating. One of the primary advantages of electric furnaces is the upfront cost, which can be significantly less than other types of furnaces. Oil furnaces, propane, and natural gas furnaces typically have higher installation costs as they will have to be vented and may require additional gas lines.
High-efficiency electric systems are also highly environmentally friendly. They don't produce carbon monoxide and are not dependent on non-renewable resources. They also can be less costly to maintain and repair. The systems only contain air filters, fan motors, and a heating element, which means less to maintain or replace. Electric furnaces are as durable as gas furnaces.
Electric furnaces vs. gas furnaces
Both electric and gas furnaces work to heat your home by pushing heated air through air ducts when signaled by the thermostat. The primary difference is that gas furnaces are powered by natural gas or liquid propane and use a heat exchanger to transfer heated and cooled air. Electric furnaces are powered by electricity and utilize heating coils for the heating element.
What are the parts and features of an electric furnace?
An electric forced air furnace is considered the more simple component of an HVAC system. The system consists of a few primary parts and features that work together to help the system regulate the temperature in the home. The primary parts and features of an electric furnace include:
- Heating elements: Wires or coils made of electrically-resistant metal produce heat when electricity is applied. This makes up the heat source for an electric furnace.
- Relays: The heat relays will help regulate the amount of electricity sent to the heating elements. The power relay regulates how much electricity the furnace uses.
- Transformer: The electrical transformer will lower the incoming voltage to the voltage the furnace needs.
- Plenum: The plenum is an air chamber that helps the air circulate efficiently.
- Blower: The blower is the internal fan that blows air over the heating element and forces the warmed air through the ducts.
- Air returns: The unheated air is pulled into the furnace through the return ducts.
- Thermostat: The thermostat triggers the system to start and stop to achieve the desired temperature in the room.
- Sequencers: If your electric furnace has more than one heating element, the sequencer will control when each one turns on and shuts off.
- Air filters: The air filters in the system catch the dust, allergens, and debris from the air to prevent them from being recirculated back into your home.
How much does an electric furnace cost?
The price of an electric furnace will depend on the brand chosen as well as the size of the system. On average, equipment costs will run between $800 and $1,500. Installation can add another $1,100 to $5,000 depending on whether ductwork needs to be installed. Since new systems can be a significant investment, it is essential to check the warranty on each system so your purchase is protected against defects.
What is the most common type of electric heating?
Electric furnaces are one of the most common electric heating options for new installations. Baseboard and radiant heating used to be popular options for electric heating but tend to be used less as radiant heating can be more expensive to install and repair, and baseboard heating is only ideal for smaller spaces.
Is an electric forced air furnace well-suited for use with a forced air central AC system?
While you may be looking to keep warm in the colder months, you may also want to enjoy air conditioning during the warmer months. If a natural gas connection is available, when forced air central air systems are installed, they are paired with a natural gas furnace if the entire HVAC system is being replaced. If you already have an electric heating system in place, a central air conditioning system should be able to be installed alongside it, though more ductwork may be necessary.
What are the pros and cons of electric forced air heaters vs. other heating options?
- Quick heating time: An electric heating system's heating and distribution time is short, helping you feel the room temperature rise more quickly.
- Easy installation: If you have ductwork for an air conditioning system, the installation process for an electric furnace is quick and easy.
- Reliability: Heating systems that use electricity are more durable and have fewer problems and breakdowns than other systems.
While there are many pros to having an electric furnace, there are also a few drawbacks to consider when making a decision.
- Lessened air quality: Since the air is forced through the ductwork, allergens, dander, and dust can travel through the home, leading to poorer air quality unless good quality filters are used.
- Leaky ductwork: Ductwork can be damaged and get cracks and leaks. When this occurs, you can lose air out of them, leading to less efficiency and higher energy bills.
- Less efficient in colder climates: Electric furnaces can deliver hot air quickly, so they may have to work harder in colder climates, lowering efficiency.
Find the right electric furnace at Superior Home Supply
Electric furnace options are a safe and efficient way to heat your home, and if you are looking for a new furnace or are determining whether it is time to switch out the old one, Superior Home Supplies can help you find the best-forced air heating option for your needs. Check out our electric furnace options or contact us today for more information.