Electric or Gas Furnace


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Old 08-24-09, 06:23 AM
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Question Electric or Gas Furnace

I am planning on installing a forced air furnace to heat an area of my house. But it won't be heating the whole house. The rest of the house already has electric baseboard heaters.
The area that this furnace will heat is about 800 square feet and according to sizing calculator I used, I would need a 10kW electric furnace or a 35,000 BTU (output) gas furnace.
So my question is, should I go gas or electric?
(we have a gas water heater so gas piping is available and the electric panel has the capacity for a furnace).
Gas is $14.943 per Gigajoule and electricity is $0.067 per kWH.
Which would be cheaper to run? I'm in BC (western Canada) in case that matters.

Thanks!
 
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Old 08-24-09, 08:04 PM
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I don't know the conversion factor for gigajoules to BTUs so I can't give you a detailed response. However, with BC Hydro you have about the lowest electrical rate on the continent. Since a gas-fired furnace requires a chimney or other venting system it will likely be more expensive to install than will the electric furnace. In your specific instance I would definitely be leaning towards an electric furnace.

Have you done a detailed heat loss calculation on the space to be heated? If not, I strongly suggest that you do as you might find that a 10 kW / 36,000 BTU output furnace is anywhere from slightly oversize to massively oversize.
 
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Old 08-24-09, 08:24 PM
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The gigajoule is approximately 1 million btu's and if my math is correct, that makes it just about a toss up. The advantage as furd stated would have to go to electric for lower installation costs and less maintenance.

Bud
 
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Old 08-25-09, 07:39 AM
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Originally Posted by furd View Post
I don't know the conversion factor for gigajoules to BTUs so I can't give you a detailed response. However, with BC Hydro you have about the lowest electrical rate on the continent. Since a gas-fired furnace requires a chimney or other venting system it will likely be more expensive to install than will the electric furnace. In your specific instance I would definitely be leaning towards an electric furnace.

Have you done a detailed heat loss calculation on the space to be heated? If not, I strongly suggest that you do as you might find that a 10 kW / 36,000 BTU output furnace is anywhere from slightly oversize to massively oversize.
No I haven't done a heat loss calcculation. But the calculator I used did ask me about the insulation (which isn't great - 55 yr old house) and about the climate (which is cold).
Also, should I consider getting an electric water heater if I go with the electric furnace? Then I could completely shut off the gas service.

Thanks again!
 
  #5  
Old 08-25-09, 09:31 AM
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your biggest savings is always going to be insulation and air sealing. By doing that first you may determine you need a much smaller furnace as furd stated.

My preference in a home is to avoid having only one source of energy for heat/cooking/hot water. The ice storm of 98 (?) taught many that lesson. If you are all electric and the power goes out, you have nothing. But that's my preference.

Bud
 
 

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