Are you worried about the high cost of heating your home this winter? The cold Colorado winters mean that keeping your home warm and comfortable is always going to be fairly expensive. Making sure your home, especially the attic, is well insulated is obviously important for helping your heating costs to stay lower. However, the type of heating you use is the most important factor in determining how much it costs to heat your home. In this article, we’ll compare the costs of gas and electric heating to help you understand which is the cheaper option in our area.
Comparing Gas and Electric Heating
Gas furnaces are far and away the most popular heating option in the United States, especially in places with colder winters, like Colorado. Part of the reason for this is that gas furnaces are extremely effective and produce much more heat than almost any type of electric heating, such as a furnace or baseboard heater. Still, the main reason is that almost all electric heating options consume huge amounts of electricity and cost much more to operate.
To effectively heat a 1,000-square-foot in the Denver area, you’d need a 15- or 20-kilowatt electric furnace. That means that your electric furnace would use around six to eight times as much electricity as a central air conditioner would to cool the same size home. At current electricity rates, an electric furnace this size would likely use over $3,500 worth of electricity in just one winter. If you had a gas furnace, you could effectively heat your house for less than half that amount.
The high cost of electric heating is why it is generally only ever recommended in much warmer climates where you seldom need much heat. The one exception to this rule is an electric heat pump, as heat pumps are typically at least two to three times more energy efficient than gas furnaces. However, you always need an auxiliary or backup heating source if you use a heat pump to heat a home in a colder climate, such as Denver’s.
Most cold-climate heat pumps include electric heat strips that are installed inside the home and serve as the auxiliary heat source. Any time the heat pump has to run its defrost cycle or whenever it’s too cold for the heat pump to heat the home effectively, the thermostat will automatically switch on the electric heat strips. The problem is that these electric heat strips also consume huge amounts of electricity, which means your heating costs will drastically increase if your heating system has to run in auxiliary heat mode very often.
Why Gas Heating Will Be Less Expensive This Winter
Natural gas prices have been steadily increasing since 2020. Even with the recent increase in the cost of natural gas, it is still a much cheaper heating option than electric heating. Nonetheless, it has still become more and more expensive to heat a home with natural gas over the past few years. Luckily, this trend is finally set to change.
According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the cost of natural gas is predicted to be around 20% lower than it was last winter. This is great news, as it means you’re likely to pay at least a few hundred dollars less to run your gas furnace this year compared to the past few years. The cost of electricity is also predicted to be slightly lower this winter, but not nearly enough to make up for how much energy electric heating uses.
In addition to lower natural gas prices, there is also another major factor that should make heating your home less expensive this winter. The EIA is predicting that this winter will be much milder than last year, as El Niño should lead to warmer temperatures from December through at least February.
Commerce City’s HVAC Experts
If you’re looking to keep your heating costs lower this winter, the technicians at Smith & Willis Heating & Air Conditioning are here to help. By scheduling a furnace tune-up, you can ensure your heating system functions effectively and continues operating as energy efficiently as possible. If you’re having any issues with your heating system, we also offer professional furnace repair services.
Our team can work on all makes and models of furnaces as well as heat pumps, central air conditioners and mini-splits. If you have a furnace or other HVAC unit that is at the end of its life, we’re also the best choice for HVAC installation in Commerce City and the Denver area. Give us a call if you need to schedule a furnace tune-up or any other heating or cooling service.