Experts have been debating the most efficient methods for heating and cooling homes for years. Should you use gas or electricity for central air? What are the most effective strategies to reduce energy expenditures while maintaining safety and comfort?
Many studies have been conducted to determine the finest and most energy-efficient methods for heating (or cooling) a home with central air, but because there are so many variables at play, researchers have yet to reach a consensus.
We don’t expect this article to resolve the argument, but we do hope it will give you a better knowledge of this complex topic and the aspects that go into increasing the effectiveness of your central air system.
What Exactly Is Central Air?
Although they are commonly used to refer to separate systems in the home, “central air” and “forced air” are synonymous in most cases. Even yet, the names are often used interchangeably since both relate to a closed system of air circulation that distributes temperature-controlled air throughout the home via a network of ducts and vents. A central unit, such as a furnace, an electric resistance heater, or an air conditioning system, is commonly used to heat or cool this air.
Despite the fact that they technically belong to the same system, central air is frequently used to refer to cooling via air conditioning, whilst forced air is frequently used to refer to heating. However, nitpicking the two terms isn’t really required.
Why Do People Fight Over Gas And Electricity?
When it comes to heating your home, you’ll have to decide how you want to generate heat. The most frequent method is to use a combustible fuel, such as natural gas or propane. This fuel is typically delivered to the residence via a number of pipes and burned in a furnace to generate heat, which then warms the air blasted through the ducts by a series of fans.
Electricity can also generate heat, thanks to a technique known as resistance heating, in which an electrical current is passed through a certain type of coil and encounters resistance. This causes the coil to heat up, and the heat energy generated can be used to warm the air pumped around the house once more.
As a result of the principles of physics, some energy will be wasted in the process of any way of creating heat. So, how much energy is lost and how much is effectively converted to heat? Energy efficiency refers to a heating system that consumes less energy to produce the same quantity of heat.
What Is The Definition Of Energy Efficiency?
When it comes to residential heating, the annual fuel utilization efficiency (or AFUE) standard is used to determine efficiency. This is the measurement of how much heat your HVAC system generates for every dollar spent on fuel. If your heating system has an AFUE of 75, for example, it converts around 75% of its fuel into usable heat energy. A score like 75 used to be regarded good, but with technology progressing and homeowners demanding more efficient heating, higher AFUE percentages are now expected.
Heating systems with an AFUE of 90 or more are extremely efficient. This signifies that at least 90% of the fuel used in the system is transformed into useful heat energy. This directly translates into cost savings for you. You can save a lot of money by switching to a more energy-efficient system over the course of the year.
Gas Or Electricity: Which Is More Efficient?
Gas is the most efficient energy source, to put it simply. It burns extremely hot, allowing it to swiftly provide the required heat energy. Electricity, on the other hand, takes longer to reach the same temperature, requiring more energy as the system operates for longer periods of time. Electricity is also more expensive in the long run: to generate the same amount of useful energy, it costs a lot more than gas.
However, this is the basic answer. It does not mean that you should instantly choose gas heating if it is not the best option for your home. When deciding whether to utilize gas or electricity for central air, there are various more factors to consider.
Other Things To Think About
Gas is clearly more energy efficient than electricity in the most basic sense. A gas furnace, on the other hand, is far more difficult to install, especially if your home does not already have access to a fuel supply such as a gas line. An electric furnace, on the other hand, is simple to set up. It’s sometimes as simple as finding a power outlet.
There’s also the issue of safety to consider. When a gas furnace is installed, it must have a safe mechanism to vent the exhaust fumes produced by burning fuel. Otherwise, dangerous carbon monoxide could accumulate inside the house. Because electricity does not produce hazardous waste, it is less dangerous and requires fewer safety features. It is true, however, that if neither method of heating is located in a safe region, it can cause a fire.
Your next step should be to contact a professional HVAC technician, whether you’ve decided which heating method is ideal for your central air unit or simply want more information. A highly skilled and certified contractor can answer your questions about the finest heating and cooling options for your house, as well as start the installation process if you want to go that route.