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Calgary's #1 Furnace Repair & Service

Gas Furnaces vs Electric Furnaces in Alberta

Here is the breakdown of a natural gas furnace versus an electric furnace.

Furnace

Wondering what the pros and cons of an electric furnace versus and natural gas furnace are? 

If you are building a new home or need to replace your current furnace, we recommend understanding the pros and cons of each. While the installation cost of an electric furnace is less the monthly operational cost to heat your home is considerably more!! 

Here is the breakdown of a natural gas furnace versus an electric furnace.

Heating your home faster

There is no contest, a natural gas furnace will heat your home faster. Alberta winters can be harsh and temperatures can drop quickly. A natural gas furnace will heat the air faster than an electric one. This is one of the main reasons why 91% of furnaces are natural gas in Alberta.

Installation Cost

An electric furnace requires less upfront cost compared to a natural gas fireplace. The natural gas fireplace requires a natural gas connection and a chimney and flue pipe. There are fewer requirements for an electric furnace installation. Electric furnaces also can last longer and require less maintenance, but the cost to operate an electric furnace is much higher. 

Monthly Heating Cost Comparison

There isn’t even a comparison. In Alberta, a natural gas furnace is less expensive than an electric furnace. A high-efficiency natural gas furnace will ensure your utility bills are less each month. 

 

The following comparison breaks down numbers and fees, comparing specific costs of gas furnaces to electric furnaces.

Natural Gas Furnace Costs

For a natural gas furnace in Alberta, assume the following:

  • Your furnace is high-efficiency 
  • Your furnace runs 9 hours a day 
  • You need to heat your home 9 months of the year
  • 90,000 BTU gas furnace uses 0.094955027 GJ of energy per hour
  • The cost per Gigajoule of natural gas in Alberta is about  $5 (a high assumption) 

 

Over 30 days, it costs $128 to heat your home with a natural gas furnace based on assumptions. 

 

Other costs on your heating bill could include:

  • delivery charges
  • administration charges
  • rate riders
  • ATCO fixed or variable charges 
  • municipal fees
  • federal carbon tax
  • Sales tax

Electric Furnace Costs

For an electric furnace in Alberta, assume the following:

  • Your furnace runs 9 hours a day 
  • You need to heat your home 9 months of the year
  • Uses 18 Kilowatts per hour each day (equivalent to a 90,000 BTU natural gas furnace)
  • The average cost per Kilowatt Hour in Alberta is approximately $0.15 (a low assumption)

(Prices were capped at 13.5 ¢/kWh for Jan to Mar 2023, the cost is closer to 17¢/kWh)

Over 30 days, it costs $729 to heat your home with an electric furnace based on assumptions.

Other costs on your electrical bill may include:

  • Distribution charges
  • Transmission charges
  • Balancing pool allocation 
  • Rate Riders
  • Municipal fees
  • Sales tax

If you are locked into an energy rate for gas or electricity, your costs may be significantly less. 

Many factors will play out to determine the cost of heating your, including the outside temperatures and the rising and falling costs of energy. 

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