Is electricity better than gas for heating?

You can either heat your home with electricity or gas. But which one is better? This will depend on the size of your home, and your usage.


Which one is better?

Your home Your heating needs Our recommendation
Small home Occasional heating, once a day

Electricity

For small surfaces, it is preferable to choose electric heating. Avoid heavy investments in natural gas heaters.
Small home Daily heating, more than once a day

Electricity and Gas

Both options are possible.
Please note: on the long term, a natural gas heater is a better investment (the installation cost is high but natural gas is cheaper than electricity).
Medium sized home Occasional heating, once a day
Medium sized home Daily heating, more than once a day

Natural gas

For large surfaces, it is preferable to choose natural gas heating.
Your initial spending will be higher to purchase and install a natural gas heater, but the low price of natural gas usage will save you money on the long term.
Large home Regular heating

How to make your energy less expensive
To reduce your electricity and gas bills, you can switch to an alternate supplier which offers better rates than your utility company, such as fixed rates.

Electric heating VS gas heating: installation costs VS operating costs

 

Electric heating

Gasion heating

Installation Electric resistance Gas furnace
Installation cost $900-$1,200 $4,800-$5,200
Cost per 1,000,000 BTU $32 $18
Efficiency 100% 80-90%
Cost per useful 1,000,000 BTU (taking the efficiency into account) $32 $15

To summarize, it will always be cheaper to install an electric water heater or space heater for your home. They are rather simple systems to install as compared to gas heaters. Electric heaters only require an electrical connection, whereas gas heaters require connections to the electrical and natural gas grids.

Nevertheless, once installed, the gas heater will be cheaper to operate, since natural gas is cheaper than electricity for a given amount of heat required in your house.

More details: the electric heater

Advantages of the electric heater

  • The electric heater heats quickly. Hot air/water is produces almost instantly when you turn your heating on.
  • The high efficiency in transforming the electricity into heat is better than the efficiency of a gas heater.
  • The initial investment of an electric space heater or an electric water heater is lower than a natural gas heater.
  • The installation is simple for an electric space heater, and can be done without the help of a technician. You do not need to bring natural gas pipes in the heater; it only needs to be plugged and nailed to a wall.

Disadvantages of the electric heater

  • The electric space heater or water heater has a high cost of operation, since the price of the electricity is higher than the price of natural gas, for a given amount of heat needed. For large houses, consider investing in gas heaters.

More details: the gas heater

Advantages of the gas heater

  • The gas heater is less expensive to operate, as gas is cheaper than electricity.
  • Some gas boilers work together with renewable energies to heat your water (solar water heaters), and end up considerable cheaper to operate.

Disadvantages of the gas heater

  • High initial investment. Natural gas water or space heaters require a complex installation.
  • It is recommended to do a yearly maintenance check for environmental and security reasons.
  • Natural gas is not available in all parts of the country. Usually, in very rural areas, there is no natural gas grid, so you would have to purchase propane or butane in steel cylinders to have natural in your house.

Use budget billing to stabilize your energy bills

Budget billing enables you to spread out your bill over the year, in order to pay the same amount every month. In this case, even though you will be charged for your usage of the whole year, each month you will be paying the same amount. If you have bills which change a lot from month to month, and you would like more stable energy bills, you should sign up for budget billing with your utility company. For more information, check our Budget Billing page.

Switch supplier and choose a fixed rate plan

By switching supplier, you can also better manage your monthly gas expenses. Suppliers offer a variety of deals which your utility company doesn't. Fixed rates are the best type of rate if you wish to stabilize your monthly bill. Find out more about switching suppliers on our dedicated Suppliers page.

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