Cost of Heat

When talking to customers who are wanting to change out their heating & cooling system, I often hear "I want an electric furnace instead of a gas furnace."

Some people are Chevy fans, while others Like Fords, and some love other brands. Automobiles move us from place to place and they burn fuel.

We rate cars in MPG Miles per Gallon. Knowing your cars MPG and the current cost of fuel you can calculate how much it will cost in fuel for each mile you drive. We understand that the higher the MPG the better, because it will cost less to operate.

Furnaces, heat pumps, electric heat, etc… are rated differently. Their ratings are in AFUE, SEER, EER, HSPF, The Higher the better. But what does that mean in dollars and cents to heat my home? An electric furnace is rated at 100% AFUE while a 96% natural gas furnace is rated at 96% AFUE. While this is true the cost of operation is vastly different.

To make a fair comparison lets purchase 1 Million Btu's of USABLE heat for each appliance, allowing for losses out the flue.

Below is a chart that helps explain the cost of operation for 1 Million Btu's of usable heat, and below the chart is an example.

Cost Per Million

The following data is from my home for the month of March 2019. My family used 123 CCF of natural gas to heat our home and our water. 1 CCF is 100 cubic feet. 123 CCF x 100 = 12,300 cubic feet. Each cubic foot of natural gas produces 1000 Btu's 12.3 x 1000 = 12,300,000 Btu's. 12.3 million Btu's x $8.51 (96% Nat. Gas Furnace in chart above) totaling $104.67. If Our home had an Electric furnace our bill to heat our home and water would have been 12.3 Million Btu's x $37.22 totaling $457.81. A total Cost Difference of $353.14. This is for heating only, and does NOT COUNT the lights and other electrical items we have. This is only 1 month. Operating an electric furnace for 15 years for just the month of March would cost $353.14 x 15 = $5,297.25 MORE to operate than a gas furnace. Typically March is NOT the coldest month of the year! This $5,297.25 nearly replaces the cost of an entire system and it is only 1 month a warmer month at that. So the question is Which furnace do you want in your home?

If you only have L.P gas available, I would recommend using a heat pump instead of A/C only. Having an air to air Heat Pump gives you a CHOICE. If the cost of L.P. is low, use the furnace it is cheaper to operate and is a much warmer heat. For back up heat a 96% AFUE L.P. furnace costs less to operate than an electric furnace. Using the chart above helps you to understand where the price break is.

NOTE: As the outdoor temperature goes down air to air HP's lose capacity and efficiency. This is why a 2nd air to air HP is listed, at 15 degrees. Air to air HP efficiency and capacity are dependent upon the outdoor temperatures, they are varied. As it gets colder your home loses more heat and the air to air HP may not keep up with the heat loss, causing the back up heat to switch on. In the St. Joseph, MO area this typically occurs at about 30-40 degrees, depending how well your home is insulated. When your thermostat calls for back up heat and you have an electric furnace both the furnace and the air to air HP will operate simultaneously. If you have a gas furnace the air to air HP shuts off and the furnace only operates. Placing your heat pump thermostat in the EM heat or Emergency heat Mode will lock out the air to air HP and only the gas or electric furnace will operate.

Does it sound complicated? Call today so that we may put together a system that best fits your situation and needs.