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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!

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