Is Electric Heat Expensive? Heat Your Home without Breaking the Bank
In most cases, homeowners with electric heat will find that they’re paying more than homes with natural gas. But is electric heat the most expensive option and could the extra cost be worth it in the long run? While the initial price tag may seem high, electric heating offers cost-saving opportunities.
How Much Does Electric Heat Cost?
On average, electric heating in the US is roughly $838 a year. If you live in a warmer climate, you may spend as little as $260 on your electric heating system, though colder climates and larger homes can push annual electric heater costs into the thousands of dollars.
Most homeowners paying for electric heat have an electric furnace, though there are other electric-powered options like the ductless mini splits or various kinds of heat pumps. 37% of American households rely on electric heaters, and they may be paying slightly more than gas-heated homes per year.
Electric heating efficiency is superior to that of combustion heating. The most common type, the electric heating system, uses 100% of electricity to create heat instead of the minimum 90% efficiency of combustion heating systems like natural or heating oil.
While electric heating systems have historically produced more expensive monthly heating bills, that may not always be the case. There are other financial advantages electric heating systems have over gas heating systems. First, they’re less expensive to purchase and install. They also have longer lifespans than gas heating systems. On average, they last about a decade longer and need fewer repairs. While routine heater maintenance is necessary for both, gas heating systems have more finicky parts that tend to break or need replacement more often.
Related Content: The Ultimate Guide to Heating Maintenance for Homeowners
So, Which is Cheaper, Gas or Electric Heat?
On the surface, the natural gas heating cost you pay on your monthly bill will usually be lower than an electric heating bill. The average American home is about 63% less expensive to heat with natural gas, though the cost varies based on natural gas prices in your state.
Natural gas is also subject to more price volatility when demand equals or outpaces supply. This can make seasonal natural gas prices vary dramatically year-to-year. Geopolitical issues, supply problems, and the cost of expanding refinery capacity could mean that natural gas isn’t always the cheapest way to heat a home.
Besides being efficient, electric heaters offer additional benefits. Combustion heating can release particles, allergens, and irritants into the air. Indoor air pollution can exacerbate allergies or lead to illness. This may also lead to more frequent air filter replacement when heating your home with natural gas. Electric heating systems also are not a carbon monoxide hazard the way natural gas, propane, and fuel oil combustion furnaces are.
Is My Heat Gas or Electric?
You can quickly determine if your home uses a gas or electric heating system by looking at your heating system or boiler. Since gas heaters work by burning fuel, they should have a visible flame, also referred to as a pilot light. It’s usually visible through a glass window on the heating unit. Electric heaters won’t have a flame or a window. You can also check for a gas line, look up your model online, read the labels on your heating system, or ask a professional during routine maintenance.
Finding the Most Efficient Way to Heat a Home
No matter which heating system is installed in your home, One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning can help you identify cost-effective ways to improve air quality, reduce hot or cold spots, and avoid costly emergency repairs to your HVAC system. Get the HVAC support you need to stay comfortable year-round from one of the nation's leading heating repair companies. Give us a call at (800) 893-3523 or request an appointment today!