Buyers’ Guide for Furnaces: Electric Furnaces

Heating El Cajon

This is part of our series of articles aiming to offer you buyers’ guidelines for furnaces.

How does an electric furnace in an electric heating El Cajon system work?

An electric-resistance furnace works on the principle of many small house appliances, like hair dryers or toasters. The blower pulls the air from the room through a cold-air return grille into the air handler cabinet and then pushes it through the heating elements. The blower then distributes the warm air through the house via ducts. This is called a forced-air system. The components are:

  • Heating elements
  • Transformer
  • Sequencer
  • Breakers
  • Thermostat
  • Blower
  • Electric motor and belt
  • Air filter and the control box
  • Ducts
  • Switch

When do people choose an electric furnace for their heating El Cajon?

Electric furnaces tend to be considerably cheaper than gas furnaces. This is because the system is simpler. The heating elements in an electric furnace are electric coils, whereas in a gas furnace you need burners, ignition and heat exchanger.

Another factor that contributes to lower upfront costs of electric furnaces is simpler and cheaper installation. Electric furnaces don’t require a flue and gas lines, like in the case of gas furnaces. This lower disruption is beneficial for retrofit applications.

A significant upside about electric furnaces is that they don’t give off carbon monoxide, which is more eco-friendly. (However, if you use the electricity that was produced in a power plant, it’s highly likely that fossil fuel were used to produce it, which is not very environmentally friendly.) But the fact that there’s no carbon monoxide or byproducts of gas combustion means increased safety in that respect.

Electric furnaces often last longer than comparable gas furnaces, which could be attributed to the simplicity of their design. The lifespan of an electric furnace can run between 20 and 30 years.

How are they maintained?

As far as maintenance goes, there are things that you can do and things that only a qualified HVAC technician team can do.

What you can do is keep dust away from the system and manage indoor humidity levels. Changing the air filters regularly will ensure high quality of indoor air and peak performance of the furnace. Blower blades should also be regularly checked for dust and wiped over. Changing air filters and wiping down the fan blades should be done while the system is down. A dehumidifier will ensure that excess moisture doesn’t cause premature degradation of the furnace.

These maintenance measures cannot replace an annual check-up by a heating El Cajon expert.

Are electric furnaces efficient?

Yes, electric furnaces are 100% efficient. However, that doesn’t mean they are cost-effective. How?

Well, electric furnaces convert 100% of the electricity they consume into heat. But, if that electricity comes from a power plant which burns fossil fuels, only around 30% of that fuel was converted into electricity. So, even though they are highly efficient, the cost of operating all-electric furnaces is not economic in most cases.

Call heating El Cajon specialists for all your furnace needs, questions and concerns

Action AC, Heating & Solar is here for everything you need when it comes to heating. Whether you want to service or repair your system, upgrade it or replace it – call us. We have over 40 years of experience and numerous awards and recognitions, making us a proven choice for all El Cajon and San Diego residents. We’re just a call away!

Complete Buyer’s Guide to a New Furnace

Buying a new furnace is a significant investment in your home or commercial building – and a big decision for owners. Furnace Replacement can be a big investment, so talk with our trusted professionals.

To get the results you want from your new furnace investment, you should put time and energy into scheduling an evaluation, researching available financing options (including HERO) and rebates, and comparing features, prices, and products. If the purchase process is done correctly, your new heating system should lower your energy bills, increase indoor comfort, raise the value of your home, and improve indoor air quality!

This guide from the experts at Action Air Conditioning, Heating & Solar aims to help you through this process and get you the results you want from your new heating system investment.

Step 1: 

Get Your Home Evaluated by a Certified HVAC Contractor

Have your home or building evaluated by a trusted HVAC contractor. The size of the living or working space, energy bills, microclimate, and existing duct work determine what type of furnace is best for your needs.

The big question the HVAC contractor should help you answer is which type of furnace and fuel you should use: gas, electric, oil, or dual system.

Most homeowners stick to whatever their homes already had to minimize the labor and costs associated with extra installation of duct work or running electric lines. However, there are several reasons changing the type of fuel system could be more beneficial. This is why an evaluation performed by a trusted HVAC contractor is central to your final decision on which furnace type, model, and size is right for your home.

Installing an oversized furnace is another risk of not having an evaluation prior to purchasing a new heating system. Oversized units are more expensive upfront, cycle on and off more frequently (increasing your energy bills) and make it difficult to maintain a comfortable temperature in your home.

Make sure to request a copy of the evaluation, thoroughly analyze it, and have your HVAC contractor answer any questions you may have before accepting their recommendation.

Step 2:

Prioritize Your Home’s Heating Needs

Once a trusted HVAC contractor has evaluated your space, it’s time to explore your options for the new heating system. There are several factors to consider:

Step 3:

Compare Furnace Prices & Features

After you have determined what your furnace priorities are, and researched what savings are available to you, it’s time to start shopping.

Make sure you look at several different models and compare prices. The lowest bid that provides all the features you require does not necessarily mean it is best furnace for you.

Energy Star is an Environmental Protection Agency that helps businesses and homeowners protect the environment and save money through superior energy efficiency. An Energy Star endorsement on an AC model can give you peace of mind with your purchase.

Keep in mind that an energy-efficient system will cost more upfront, but it will eventually pay for itself and save you money in the long term on energy bills.

Step 4:

Research Furnace Financing Options

Research all rebate, financing options, tax incentives, and savings opportunities. Rebates and energy incentives are available through your utility company, state and federal government. Here are a few resources to research tax credits, incentives, and rebate options:

Step 5: 

Furnace Installation

Hire a trusted HVAC contractor to perform the installation of your new AC system. Systems that have been installed incorrectly can lead to a malfunctioning system, expensive repairs, and decreased product life.

Our team at Action AC is here to guide you through purchasing a new AC. Our NATE-certified technicians are experienced and trusted HVAC contractors, and our services are guaranteed to get you on your way to the best energy savings and comfort for your living or working space!

Gas or Electric Heating System? The Questions To Consider

When choosing a heating system for your home, you can’t put a price on comfort. But you can put a price on utility bills, repair costs, home insurance, and maintenance.

Deciding whether to use gas or electric depends largely on the individual’s budget and size of the home. While gas can save you a significant amount in energy costs, electric heating systems require less maintenance and lower upfront costs. When it’s time to upgrade your heating system you should be well informed on the differences between gas and electric to ensure you are adding value and efficiency to your home, while saving on utility bills.

Utility bills

To buy one unit of mains gas (measured in kWh) you pay about 4p / kWh. Conversely, 1 unit of electricity from the mains (also measure in kWh) will cost you about 15p / kWh. Meaning in most areas gas is up to 4 times cheaper than electricity per kWh. Using a gas heating system can save you a considerable amount on energy costs, especially during the winter months.

Impact on Environment

Coal represents one of the primary fuels used to produce electricity. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, natural gas production does release greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants, however this fuel burns much cleaner than coal and poses much less damage to the environment.


Electric systems do not produce byproducts during the heating process, unlike the potentially deadly CO2 produced during the combustion process of gas heating. Maintenance is emphasized when purchasing a gas heating system since a small problem in the ventilation system can easily cause a CO2 leak and put you and your family at risk for CO2 poisoning. Fire hazards are also associated with gas heating considering the point of ignition requires a flame.

Suitability and Efficiency

Gas heaters are known to be extremely efficient. They heat bigger areas faster, and use less energy than electric to maintain a set temperature. Gas heating also provides better humidity control. The lifespan is approximately 20 years for a new heating system, gas or electric. Gas heating requires storage, and for households with several members the storage tank capacity should be equivalent to usage. If the store tank capacity is not enough to support all the heat usage at a given time, then gas heating becomes problematic. A good example is running out of hot water during a shower because the dishwasher is running.


The upfront cost of installing an electric heating system is much cheaper than gas. Electric systems are typically smaller in size and don’t require ventilation systems.

When it’s time to replace your heating system, our team at Action Air is dedicated to your safety and comfort. Our Nate-Certified technicians will provide the best service and guarantees convenient and efficient installation. Call us today at 800-400-4152. Let us help you!