Are Electric Furnaces Energy Efficient?

December 10, 2020

Winters in York, ON, and the surrounding areas are long, snowy and cold. That’s why you need an effective furnace that won’t drain your bank account when it comes time to pay the monthly utility bills. If your home isn’t set up for natural gas or you don’t want to deal with the extra maintenance of a gas-powered furnace, an electric heating system is a wise choice. Here’s what you need to know about the energy efficiency of electric furnaces.

1. Energy Efficiency of Electric Furnaces

All electric furnaces have an energy efficiency of 100%. That means nearly all of the electricity they use is converted into heat. Electric furnaces work much like a hairdryer. The thermostat triggers a flow of current through the wires in the electrical resistance panel. At the same time, the thermostat triggers the blower’s fan to start spinning. The fan blows room-temperature air across the hot wires. This heats the air. The heated air is pushed through the furnace’s air filter and into the duct system. Air pressure in the ducts forces the heated air to enter all of your home’s living spaces.

2. How Electric Furnace Energy Efficiency Is Measured

The energy efficiency of gas- and electric-powered furnaces is rated with a calculation called the annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). This measurement is expressed as a percentage. The calculation determines how much of the energy input is used to generate heat and how much is lost through waste gases. The AFUE of electric furnaces is 100%. The AFUE of new gas furnaces ranges from 90% to 98%. Gas furnaces that are 20 to 30 years old may have an AFUE of 60% to 70%. If you replace an old gas furnace with a new electric furnace, you could save hundreds of dollars per year on home heating costs.

3. No Energy Loss from Flue Gases

In a gas furnace, the byproducts of combustion are released through the flue. Those byproducts contain heat, so some of the energy used to heat a home is lost to waste gases in gas-powered furnaces. Some people buy additional equipment, such as an energy recovery ventilator, to reduce the energy waste from hot flue gases. Electric furnaces don’t have a flue. That’s because they don’t burn any fuel. With no waste gases, all of the heated air stays inside of your home. There’s no need for any additional equipment. No flue also means less maintenance and fewer parts that might need repairs.

4. No Combustion Chamber to Cause Air Leaks

Electric furnaces burn no fuel, so there’s no combustion chamber. A combustion chamber needs an air-tight seal. That’s because the combustion process creates waste products that are toxic. These waste products include colorless, odorless and tasteless carbon monoxide gas. These seals can fail, and that leads to a loss of energy efficiency in gas furnaces. With no combustion chamber in the electric furnace, there’s no loss of efficiency in the heating process. There’s also no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning with an electric furnace.

5. How to Choose the Most Efficient Electric Furnace

When you want to save money on the cost of heating your York area home, there are several things you can do. Begin by checking the air filter once per month. Replacing a dirty air filter with a clean one improves a furnace’s ability to heat your home and lowers your utility costs by as much as 15%. Don’t go longer than 90 days between air filter changes. Make sure the technicians installing your electric furnace perform a heating load calculation. This is a complex calculation that determines how much heating your home will need. Proper calculation of this figure helps you select the right capacity of furnace. Make sure your home’s air ducts are in good repair. Gaps or holes in your home’s air ducts could waste as much as 30% of the heated air produced by your electric furnace.

At Comfort Masters Ltd., we’re proud to be the trusted installers of electric furnaces in York and the surrounding area. Homeowners also rely on us for affordable heating and air conditioning maintenance, repair and replacement services. Our air purification and filtration systems, gas fireplaces, tankless water heaters and indoor air quality services are designed with your comfort, health, well-being and safety in mind. For more details about the energy efficiency of gas furnaces, give us at Comfort Masters Ltd. a call today.