Gas vs. electric heating

Updated April 17, 2017

The type of heating system you choose for your home can impact a variety of different things including comfort, reliability and overall operational costs. Two of the most popular choices for heating homes are electrical heating systems and those operated by natural gas. While they are both good bets for staying warm, each has its own benefits.


There are several ways to heat your home with electricity, including baseboard heaters, portable electric space heaters, electrical wall heating units and the most widely used, electric furnaces or central heating systems. Although the initial cost for installing an electric furnace may be slightly cheaper than a gas unit, in the long run electric heat can end up costing more when your monthly bills arrive. According to, heat generated by electricity can cost up to 70 per cent more than gas generated heat.


According to, the majority of electric heating systems on the market in 2009 heat at an efficiency rate of only 30 per cent. In order to avoid spikes in electrical usage during the extremely cold months, most electrical heating systems are designed to monitor the flow of electricity. This can sometimes cause an electrical heating unit to run longer in order for you to get the desired temperature in your home. Gas heat generally warms a home more quickly and in less time. Because of this, gas heating systems have an efficiency rating of 94 per cent.

Safety Considerations

If you are looking at home heating choices in terms of safety for your family, in some cases gas heating can be a safer choice. With a gas heating source, there is less chance of an electrical short or sparks that could ignite and start a fire in your home. Electric baseboard heaters, wall units and portable electric space heaters all require careful monitoring when in operation. If furniture, curtains or other personal belongings are placed against any of these type of heating units, they can catch on fire and burn.

Gas Benefits

Natural gas heating systems are more environmentally friendly for those homeowners interested in living green. Once your home is hooked to a natural gas line, you can also use other environmentally- and energy-efficient appliances such as gas ranges and gas water heaters.

Home Value

Having gas heat can also help to increase the value of your home and is an attractive feature to many prospective home buyers.

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About the Author

Sherry Mitchell holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Middle Tennessee State University and has been writing for more than a decade. She is a full-time government reporter in Sumner County, Tenn.