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Which is Cheaper: Gas or Electric Heating?

September 10th, 2019 by cverdone

Gas or Electric Heating

Gas and electric heating systems are both good options for keeping your home warm. Gas heating costs more to install but provides inexpensive heat, working best in colder areas. Electric heating has lower installation costs but costs more to run.

Gas is the better option for most Illinois homes. At Thornton Heating and Cooling, we want to help you understand your options in selecting a new HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system.


The set-up cost for an electric heater is less costly than gas. The average electric furnace is about $1200 to install. The average gas furnace costs around $2300.


Fuel costs, over time, constitute most home-heating costs. Newer systems, whichever fuel they use, run more efficiently and cost less than older furnaces. In an average home, gas costs about $854 yearly while electricity can cost up to $2390 yearly. That means within a year the gas furnace has often paid for itself. An HVAC professional should be able to calculate estimates tailored to your home and lifestyle.


Heat pumps are another choice that homeowners have. Heat pumps move heat out of your home in the summer and into your home during winter. Heat pumps are highly efficient and generally pay for themselves in fuel cost savings. A heat pump can also work with an electric or gas system in larger homes.

Pros and Cons of Electric and Gas Heating



  • Available almost everywhere
  • Inexpensive to install
  • Easy repairs and heaters last longer (approximately 20-30 years)
  • Can work with off-grid renewable energy systems
  • Best for warmer climates
  • Runs quietly
  • You can do most maintenance yourself


  • More expensive than gas to run
  • Slower to heat your home
  • Less heat efficient



  • Cheaper fuel prices and lower monthly bills
  • Warms house faster
  • Runs more efficiently at cold temperatures
  • Burns cleaner than most electric fuels
  • Better for the environment in most cases


  • More expensive to purchase than electric
  • Shorter life spans for equipment (approximately 10-20 years)
  • Only available where gas lines exist have been run
  • High costs of running a gas line to the home for the first time
  • Needs professional maintenance
  • Carbon monoxide concerns

Both gas and electric are great HVAC options to heat a home. Talk to your HVAC professional to find which system is right for you. Gas tends to be better for areas that have longer, colder winters (like Chicago) as the higher installation costs are offset by the fuel-cost savings. Whichever system you choose, Thornton Heating and Cooling can help you make your home comfortable whatever the season.

“Comparing cost: Gas furnace v. electric heater” Emily Beach SF Gate 12/15/2018
“Fuel value calculator” USDA Forest Products Laboratory Tech LineHeating cost fuel and BTU cost tables” InspectAPedia