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Are HVAC Units Gas, Electric, or Both?

Is your HVAC unit gas, electric, or both? That’s a great question, and the answer depends on your particular system.

All HVAC systems use electricity. The air conditioner is always electric and the blower is powered by electricity. That answers part of our question since we know your system cannot be completely gas powered, but what about the furnace?

Your furnace’s heating unit can be powered by either electricity or gas. The systems work very similarly.

How Can I Tell If My Furnace Is Gas Or Electric?

Determining if your existing system is gas or electric is fairly simple. Turn up the heat in your home to get the furnace running. You want it to run long enough for you to observe the furnace unit in action.

While your furnace is running, take a close look at the unit. Can you see blue flames through an opening in the furnace? If you see any blue flames, then you know it is using gas in the heat exchanger. Even when the furnace is off, you should be able to see a small blue flame.

The small flame is the pilot light which is responsible for performing two functions. It serves as the starter for the main burners when the thermostat signals the heating unit to turn on. The pilot light makes sure no unburned gas enters your home, a very dangerous situation.

The pilot light’s small flame keeps a valve for the gas open by producing a small electrical current. If the flame goes out, the electrical current is disrupted, causing the valve to close. It is important to shut off the gas and allow any gas fumes to clear before restarting a pilot light.

Another telltale sign your furnace is fueled by gas is the sound. You can hear the gas flames pop on and hear a distinctive sound during the heating cycle. Electric furnaces are quieter, with the only sound coming from the blower.

Which Type Of Furnace Is Better?

Choosing which type of furnace is better is a tough choice. It costs a little more to install a gas furnace since you need to have gas lines run and the units usually cost a little more. On the other side of the equation is the lower cost of running a gas furnace. A gas furnace uses cheaper fuel which will offset the higher costs over time and may save you money.

Both gas and electric HVAC systems are efficient and reliable. If your home is already plumbed for a gas furnace, it will usually be your best choice if you are trying to save on your monthly bills. See here for more details :

Which Type Of Furnace Is Safer?

Both types of furnaces are very safe, but a gas furnace has a couple of added danger possibilities. A gas furnace produces carbon monoxide which can build up in your home if your exhaust chimney is blocked. Secondly, a gas leak can potentially cause a fire or explosion in your home. Both of these situations are extremely rare but provides electric furnaces the advantage of safety.

As you can see, all HVAC systems use electricity. The furnace is where you can make your choice between gas and electric. Gas furnaces operate cheaper, while electric furnaces are usually less expensive to install and slightly safer.

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