May 1, 2024

Are Electric Furnaces The Way of the Future?

When winter weather hits, your home needs an adequate heat source to keep you and your family comfortable and safe. Most homeowners nationwide rely on a furnace that burns natural gas or heating oil. However, electric furnaces are becoming a new trend that could transform how we heat our homes. Here is a brief list of ways electric furnaces are leaping into the forefront of residential heating in St.Louis and nationwide.

What Is an Electric Furnace?

Most people are familiar with a gas or oil-burning furnace, where the fuel is ignited to create heat. Electric furnaces work much differently when heating the air inside your home. This type of furnace pulls air into its internal heat exchanger. In the exchanger, there are heating elements powered by electricity. These elements work to transfer heat to the air that passes over them. Then, the warm air is delivered to your home via your ductwork. There is no physical burning or flame in an electric furnace.

The Benefits of an Electric Furnace

Whether you’re purchasing a furnace for your newly constructed home or are considering an upgrade, it pays to weigh the pros and cons of each option. In many areas, the electric furnace outperforms the traditional fuel-burning furnace.

No Harmful Emissions

One of the more notable advantages of an electric furnace over traditional fuel-burning furnaces is that it produces no harmful emissions. Since electric furnaces simply heat up an element without any need for a flame, so there’s no physical burning inside the unit. Without burning fuel, harmful emissions are not created in the air.

No Need To Schedule Fuel Delivery

If you have a propane or oil-burning furnace, you’re familiar with the hassle of ordering fuel. Forgetting to call just once can leave you without heat until a fuel company delivers. With an electric furnace, this worry is eliminated. As long as electricity is available, your furnace can run continuously, providing a constant source of warmth for your home.


If you compare a natural gas-burning furnace to an electric one, the electric furnace will have a higher efficiency. Electric furnaces are more efficient because they don’t lose heat during heating. All the electricity input to the furnace is outputted into the warm air. Therefore, it has 100 percent efficiency. With a traditional fuel-burning furnace, there will always be some loss of efficiency as the system burns its fuel. Even a natural gas-burning furnace will only have an efficiency in the 90 percent range.

Cheaper Upfront Cost

When you compare the price of installing an electric furnace to that of an oil or gas-burning furnace, it becomes clear that electricity is much cheaper. Typically, you can pick up an electric furnace that is more affordable than other fuel-burning furnaces. Additionally, the installation process for an electric furnace is much more straightforward than for a fuel-burning furnace. No need to worry about venting or hooking up the fuel line. The electric furnace simply needs to be connected to the electrical panel box, and it will be ready to start warming your home.

Widely Available

It’s important to realize that not all fuels are available in all regions of the country. Natural gas tends to be available only in larger cities, while electricity is available just about everywhere. Electricity availability ensures that electric furnaces are an option for every homeowner, even when other fuel-burning furnaces are unavailable.

Longer Lifespan

When it comes to lifespan, electric furnaces outshine their fuel-burning counterparts. A typical electric furnace can last up to 30 years or more, providing long-term reliability. An electric furnace is a solid investment if you’re looking for a heating system that will stand the test of time.

The Drawbacks of Electric

As with any great product, it will always have some drawbacks. Electric furnaces are no different. They may have higher upfront costs, and their reliance on electricity can be a concern during power outages. If you’re thinking of investing in one for your home, it’s vital to know what its limitations are so that you can make a properly informed decision about your heating system investment. Losing electricity due to a power outage can be remedied by investing in a whole-home generator.

Can Be Costly To Run

While electric furnaces are more efficient than other fuel-burning furnaces, that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily cheaper to run. You need to compare the cost of each unit. Typically, they produce the same amount of heat, and the cost of electricity will be higher than that of gas, oil, or even propane. Fossil fuels are cheaper to buy than electricity.

Moving Toward a Carbon Neutral Society

One reason electric furnaces are a viable option for homeowners is that this type of system does not produce harmful emissions. With concerns about global warming on the rise, it only makes sense to try to reduce the amount of emissions that we’re producing. Electric-powered furnaces are thought to be one way of doing this. Each homeowner can simply stop the emission of harmful toxins into the air by switching to an electric furnace.

While investing in electric furnaces is an easy way to reduce household carbon emissions across the nation, this move doesn’t eliminate the carbon emissions produced when creating electricity. Energy plants are still burning fossil fuels to generate energy for their customers. So, while harmful emissions are reduced at the household level, they’re still at the utility production level.

Are Electric Furnaces the Way of the Future?

The jury is still out on whether or not electric furnaces will become the new norm. Fuel-burning furnaces are utilized much more often to heat homes nationwide than electric furnaces. Getting homeowners to switch from the norm to the new electric furnace isn’t going to be easy with the high running costs that electric furnaces require.

However, those homeowners who are devoted to reducing their family’s carbon footprint can surely start the transition from fuel-burning furnaces to electric ones. As with other energy-efficient products, state and federal governments are introducing tax incentives for buyers who invest in electric furnaces. These incentives are meant to urge homeowners to invest directly in more energy-efficient products for their homes.

On a global scale, places like Vancouver are experimenting with implementing must-do electrification upgrades for residential dwellings. Even further, Canada is considering changing its National Energy Code for Buildings, which would require electrification to meet a set amount of energy needs instead of fossil fuels.

Excellent Furnace Service

Scott-Lee Heating Company offers a wide range of furnace services for the St. Louis, MO community. Our highly skilled technicians can assist with your heating, cooling, indoor air quality, geothermal, zoning systems, commercial, new construction, and metal work needs. Whether you’re considering an electric furnace or a traditional fuel-burning one, we have the expertise to help. Contact our office today by phone to schedule an appointment or fill out our online service request form.