Gas furnace or electric furnace? Both are good options for a home. Comfort Air reviews each system to help you decide which solution is right for you. 

Gas Furnace – Synopsis

A gas furnace uses a forced-air heating system that relies on a thermostat to keep a home heated. When the heat drops below the thermostat setting, a signal is sent from the thermostat to the pilot light (which is always lit), which ignites the main burner of the furnace’s heat exchanger. The main burner delivers heat to the heat exchanger, which in turn heats the air that circulates in the home. A blower fan forces the heated air through the home’s ductwork, and continues doing so until the thermostat senses that the right temperature is reached. At this point, the furnace shuts down, the fan distributes any remaining heated air, and then shuts down as well.

Gas Furnace – Advantages

  • Durability: average lifetime of 10 – 20 years
  • Good heat efficiency
  • Superior in colder climates
  • Lower fuel costs

Gas Furnace – Disadvantages

  • Carbon monoxide emissions must be monitored constantly
  • Noise can be an issue
  • Requires regular maintenance from an HVAC professional serving Portland
  • Price and complexity of installation

Electric Furnace – Synopsis

An electric furnace also combines a forced-air heating system with a thermostat. However, instead of a pilot light/main burner/heat exchanger arrangement, the thermostat sends a signal to an electric ignition which then activates the electric heating elements inside the furnace. An electric furnace’s heat distribution and “shut-down” method are identical to that of a gas furnace.

Electric Furnace – Advantages

  • Safe (no carbon monoxide emissions to worry about)
  • Durability: average lifetime of 20 – 30 years
  • Ideal for warmer climates
  • Easy to maintain
  • Low-cost, relatively simple installation
  • Quiet
  • Good heat efficiency

Electric Furnace – Disadvantages

  • Higher monthly costs than a gas furnace

A Closer Look


High heat efficiency is attainable by both furnace types, but between the two an electric furnace has the edge. It’s possible for an electric furnace to achieve a 100 percent annual fuel-utilization-efficiency (AFUE) rating, whereas gas furnaces have an AFUE range of 55 – 97 percent, depending on the furnace’s age and model. The efficiency of a gas furnace can be enhanced if its pilot light is swapped out for an alternative like hot-surface ignition or direct spark.


In most cases, electric furnaces have a lower sticker price and are cheaper to install. However, despite their lower purchase cost and higher average efficiency, electric furnaces cost more to operate – simply because natural gas is cheaper than electric power. Even if gas prices rise in the next few years, a gas furnace’s operational cost will still be considerably less than its electric counterpart.

In sum, there are upsides and downsides to both options, with perhaps a slight edge in favor of an electric furnace. However, gas furnaces get the nod in an area of great importance: lower operational costs. Contact our furnace company serving Vancouver and let’s talk further about each system and which one best suits your home and budget.


5 Stars for these folks. Bradford came out on the nastiest day of the year and had us up and running again in short order. Knowledgeable, professional, fast and affordable. DO business with these folks !! You will not regret it.

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I was planning a heater upgrade and received a 24 month no interest offer from Home Depot. They sent me a list of contractors and Comfort Air was the only contractor that called me before I could call anyone else. The customer support, salesperson and installers were fast, competent and incredibly supportive. From the time that I contacted them until the heater was installed was fast and the new heater is a big improvement over what I had before. Highly recommend Comfort Air for fast, efficient and professional service. I feel comfortable that they will be responsive, should there ever be an issue with my new heater!

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We would like to thank all of you at Comfort Air for the work you just completed on our home. We are particularly pleased that your company has both the equipment and training to diagnose the exact problem we were experiencing with indoor air quality. We are very pleased that with the remedy you suggested the problem is completely resolved. The installers were highly competent and a pleasure to have in our home.
Special thanks to Dmitriy for his work from beginning to end. He is surely a gem on your staff.

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Bradford the technician has come to our home a couple times and is always professional. I especially appreciate the exceptional customer service in the office. Every time I call, no matter who answers the phone, they always help me and go out of their way to help me understand how to troubleshoot my thermostat/heat pump. Today, I needed to revise an appt time and Rosa called me twice today to make sure she set up the appt for a time that would work for me. Fabulous service!

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Best experience!! Bradford was so polite and helpful. He really took pride in his work and did a great job on our fireplace. Will be calling Bradford again for help if needed! One of a kind worker!!

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Always very professional and the best value I have found. I asked for a courtesy text prior to arrival and they totally did. Definitely recommend Comfort Air

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I've had a very positive experience with Comfort Air and Trane. The system was affordable, installed in one day and they have done great follow up! Thanks Johnny!

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