When it comes to heating your home in Mesa, AZ, you have two main options for furnaces: gas or electric. With over half of U.S. homes using natural gas for heating, it is the most prevalent option. However, recent trends show electric HVAC systems are gaining popularity. So which is the better choice for heating your home?

The purpose of this guide is to compare gas and electric furnaces across several factors to determine which one might be right for your home. We’ll look at how each system works, efficiency ratings, installation and operating costs, maintenance requirements, environmental impact, and effects on home resale.

How Gas Furnaces Work

The key components of a gas furnace include the burner, heat exchanger, blower motor, flue, and thermostat. The burner ignites the gas, and the heat exchanger transfers the flame’s heat without allowing combustion byproducts into the air ducts. The blower motor circulates warm air through the home’s ductwork, and the flue vents out the exhaust gases.

How Electric Furnaces Work

Electric furnaces operate by using electricity to heat and distribute air. The key components of an electric furnace include electric heating elements, a blower motor and fan, a thermostat, an integrated circuit board, and a casing. The heating elements, typically wire coils, warm the air as it passes over them. The blower motor and fan then distribute the heated air throughout the home. The thermostat controls the temperature by activating and deactivating the heating elements. The integrated circuit board regulates various furnace operations. The metal casing encloses the furnace components.

Gas Furnace


Lower upfront costs: A gas furnace unit costs approximately $2,000 less than an electric model, depending on what you choose. This is thanks to lower market costs and the mass manufacturing of gas models. Affordable options exist across quality levels. Installation also costs much less since no electrical upgrades are required. Gas lines already exist in many homes, requiring only basic connections and labor for hookups, which can save money.

Higher efficiency: High-end gas furnaces now reach up to 98% Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE), meaning 98% of fuel gets converted to usable heat instead of being wasted. This saves enormously on heating bills over time. Even budget gas furnace models start around 80% AFUE, offering better heating value per energy dollar spent when gas prices are low. Getting the most heat from fuel burned equals lower utility bills.

Longer lifespan: a well-maintained gas furnace can last 20 years or more, depending on the quality of installation, frequency of use, and making timely repairs when issues arise.

Faster heating: Gas burners release heat energy rapidly when combusted. This allows for speedy warm air delivery and faster temperature recovery compared to electric models. Some high-end gas furnaces can go from cold starts to set temperatures within minutes, saving energy waste from equipment cycling too often.


Combustion byproducts: Carbon monoxide, NOx, and SOx byproducts require proper ventilation. Without diligent ventilation maintenance, these can concentrate inside the home and impact air quality and health.

Venting systems to exhaust combustion byproducts can increase costs, compromise efficiency if poorly optimized, and contribute to fire and CO hazards if not properly maintained or inadequate.

Fire and explosion risks: Gas leaks from faulty furnace heat exchangers or supply lines can lead to dangerous gas ignition, explosion, or fire risks if concentrations escalate. Regular inspections ensure proper operation and venting.

Electric Furnace


Higher AFUE ratings: The most advanced air-source heat pump electric furnaces actually exceed 100% AFUE efficiency ratings. They do this by leveraging compression along with an evaporation/condensation cycle to move existing heat around rather than generate all new thermal heat.

No combustion or fumes: Without any fuel combustion, electric furnaces don’t emit greenhouse gases or hazardous byproducts requiring exhaust venting. This avoids associated health impacts or ventilation issues over time.

Less maintenance: No combustion or complex ventilation translates to fewer parts needing service or future replacement if wear develops. This saves hugely on lifetime ownership costs.

Even heating: Electric heating elements gently warm air across multiple rooms in a stable, consistent manner. This allows for minimal temperature fluctuations during cycles so that you don’t experience hot or cold spots in your home.


Higher operating costs: An electric furnace costs more to operate annually than an equally-sized gas unit. While electricity does offer environmental advantages and added convenience, its higher net cost to achieve the same heating effect makes gas the more affordable option. This is the case by a significant margin, which is something you should take into consideration if budget is a key concern.

Maintenance Requirements

When it comes to maintenance, both gas and electric furnaces require regular attention. This helps to ensure optimal performance and longevity are achievable. For gas furnaces, annual professional maintenance is essential to inspect and clean various components, check for gas leaks, and prevent unexpected breakdowns.

Electric furnaces generally need fewer repairs over their lifetime but still require yearly maintenance. This includes cleaning or replacing the air filter and ensuring the blower fan and motor are functioning properly. While gas furnaces demand more frequent and costly professional servicing, electric furnaces can be maintained through inspection and simple upkeep. Regardless of the type, routine maintenance is crucial to keep both gas and electric furnaces running efficiently and to avoid potential safety hazards.

Environmental Impact

Electric furnaces produce no direct emissions, so they have a lower environmental impact than gas furnaces as long as they are powered by clean electricity. However, lifecycle emissions from gas extraction and transport enable methane leaks. Electric has an edge in renewable flexibility, efficiency gains, and avoiding indoor pollution, though local emission data provides clarity on specific gas versus electric tradeoffs.

Home Resale Value

When deciding between a gas or electric furnace, it’s natural to wonder about the impact your choice could have on your home’s resale value down the road. As long as your HVAC system is well-maintained and working properly, you probably don’t have to worry about a decrease in value with either option. However, investing in a new unit can increase home value by up to 10%.

Making the Right Choice

Ultimately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer regarding which furnace type is better. Choosing between a gas or electric furnace depends on your budget, home, lifestyle, and priorities. You should consider all the pros and cons unique to your situation. If you’re not sure what to select, consult with HVAC professionals to determine the best system for your needs.

Honest Air Conditioning is a reliable HVAC company in Mesa, known for our commitment to customer satisfaction and high-quality services. In addition to air conditioning and heating services, we offer a range of HVAC solutions to meet the unique comfort needs of our customers. These services include heating installation, maintenance, gas and electric furnaces, heat pumps, indoor air quality solutions such as air cleaners, packaged units, duct sealing, and duct sizing.

If you want professional help choosing the right furnace for your Mesa home, contact us at Honest Air Conditioning to schedule an appointment.