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Gas Heat or Electric Heat?

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Should you choose gas heat or electric heat for your home? While there are many heating options available, gas heat systems offer the most benefits. Heating your home using natural gas is convenient, affordable, safe and reliable. That's why gas heat systems are the most popular heating systems in the US.

According to the United States Department of Energy, roughly 20% of the nation's electricity is generated by natural gas and oil, meaning that if those prices rise, electricity is likely to spike a little as well. Whether or not this will affect you depends on where your power company gets their electricity from (coal, gas, oil, etc.) Remember that neither option comes with a fixed rate.

As far as speed, gas heating systems tend to heat your home faster. This does not mean that electric heat is not efficient; it just takes a little more time to reach the same temperature as gas. If you do not have a programmable thermostat, gas heat might be better suited to get your house warmer when you need it most.

Gas heat systems may have pilot lights that require regular checking to ensure they have not blown out, although many gas heat systems have an electrical starter which eliminates the pilot light. This isn't a concern with electric heat, and electrical systems are more convenient in geographical locations that have limited or no access to gas pipelines. They also don't take up the same amount of space as a large furnace or boiler system, which require maintenance of their own. In general, electric home heating systems tend to require less attention and maintenance than other types of heating systems.

Access to natural gas pipelines has been a problem in the past for some areas of the United States, though this has improved over the years. If you are building a new house, your landscaping decisions may be directly affected by the availability and access to these pipelines, so look into this before you break ground. Either type of heating system can be located in a basement, attic, utility closet or garage area.

Since either type of home heating can work in most locations, it becomes a matter of personal choice. If there is no access to a natural gas source, then propane heat is an option. If you have a choice, it's a good idea to find out what typical heating costs are in your area to help you make the decision.

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