Switching is one of the best decisions you can make—for your home, health, comfort, and the planet.
Is natural gas really the best way to heat your home?
If you’re using natural gas to heat your home, it’s likely you’re doing so with a furnace. They’re the most common way to heat a home in U.S. (1). In fact, there are over 47 million gas furnaces in households across the country (2).
And since gas furnaces are so common, there are plenty of tall tales out there about switching to electric heat.
In this guide, we’re going to do some myth-busting about electric heat vs. gas. You’ll cover:
- Why switching from gas to electric heat is a smart move
- The benefits of converting from natural gas to electric heat
- How you can heat your house without natural gas
- Top 4 myths about electric heat pumps debunked
- How much does it cost to convert from a natural gas unit to electric heat
- How to convert from natural gas to electric heat for no upfront cost
Outside of thinking through your heating bill costs, why does it matter what fuel you heat your home with?
You know firsthand that keeping your home comfortable in the winter can be really pricey. And natural gas prices fluctuate, which can be hard to keep up with…
But what you might not know is that converting from natural gas to electric heat is more efficient than ever before—but only if you do it with a heat pump.
Ready to learn why? And make the most of your home’s comfort?
Converting from a gas furnace to an electric heat pump is one of best, most efficient ways to switch to cleaner energy and cut your energy waste. And heat pumps make your home feel incredible and boost your indoor air quality, too.
Let’s dig in.
Converting from natural gas to electric heat is more efficient than ever before—but only if you do it with a heat pump.
Switching from gas heat to electric heat: Why would you want to convert?
For years, natural gas has been a reliable, cost-effective way to heat a house. But to the surprise of most homeowners, it’s no longer the most efficient—or the most comfortable—way to warm up your home on cold winter days.
But what type of system is the best way to heat a home? (We’re glad you asked.)
The modern-day, cold climate heat pump. And we like to call them the Tesla of HVAC for a reason.
Here are four big reasons to make the switch from natural gas to electric home heating via a heat pump:
- Your home will feel better.
- You’ll have better indoor air quality.
- Electric heating can be better for Mother Earth.
- Electricity is a more stable energy source.
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Reason #1: Your home will feel better.
When you switch to electric heat with a high-performance air source heat pump, your house will have a consistently even temperature throughout your home. (There’s no furnace kicking off and on all day and night in the winter—just consistent, warm temps and no annoying noises.)
Read more about why and how heat pumps make your home feel so comfortable in the Ultimate Guide to Heat Pumps.
81% say their home comfort has improved by replacing their fossil fuel heaters with heat pumps.Cool Products 2022 consumer analysis
Reason #2: You’ll have better air quality year-round.
We’ll talk more about indoor air quality benefits of electric heat later in this article, but overall, your home’s air will be healthier when you make the switch. (No more burning of fossil fuels in your existing home furnace! And no more pilot lights!) And heat pumps automatically filter the air, reducing the amount of allergens and dust in your home.
Another bonus? Say goodbye to carbon monoxide scares. When you transition out of using natural gas to heat your home, cook on the stove, and heat your water, you automatically reduce a big safety risk in your home.
And heating your home with a heat pump has zero carbon monoxide risk.
Reason #3: Electric heat can be better for Mother Earth
You might think you’re not burning through much fossil fuel in the winter on your own, but natural gas contributes quite a bit to fossil fuel consumption in the U.S.
Natural gas is one of the cleanest-burning fossil fuel options… but it is a fossil fuel, and that means we need to dramatically reduce its use for the health of our home and our planet.
Plus, if you have dreams of going completely off-grid one day, you won’t need access to natural gas piped in from a utility, so electric heat is definitely the way to go if that is your goal. But it’s important to know that electricity is generated by several different sources, including fossil fuels.
Many forward-looking homeowners are making the transition to clean energy solutions in their homes—or even transforming their house into a net-zero home (6).
So if you want the greenest, cleanest home possible, do a little research to choose the cleanest energy source possible in your area, and look into options like community solar. Check out our partners at Energysage to learn more.
And what if you want to sell your home? With the cost of energy rising and inflation concerns, more and more people are seeking energy-efficient housing.
Switching from natural gas to a super efficient electric heat pump could increase your home’s marketability, and it’s one of those energy-efficient home upgrades that could increase home value, too.
Reason #4: Electricity is a more stable energy source
Every single one of us has been impacted by the rising cost of… everything.
Even if you’re great at smart budgeting and cutting waste, the cost of fossil fuel home heating—like natural gas, propane, and heating oil—can fluctuate considerably due to geopolitical factors.
And you’ve probably noticed, but the price of natural gas has gone up significantly in the last couple years. (Read more about why in Why is natural gas so expensive?)
But there are things you can do in your home to mitigate the rising cost of energy. And switching to electric heat could be one of them (depending on energy prices where you live)—and optimizing your home to be super efficient with the electricity it uses is another.
Electricity is often a more stable energy source because it’s generated by a variety of energy sources, including renewables (wind, solar, etc.), coal, natural gas, and nuclear (7).
Optimizing your home to be super efficient with the electricity it uses with insulation, air sealing, and heat pump upgrades is a wise move.
Is it worth switching from gas to electric heat?
Yes! In the majority of cases, switching to electric heat via a heat pump system is going to be worth it for two really big reasons (you know, in addition to the ones above).
To sum it up:
- First, high-efficiency electric heat pumps create a more comfortable home. Your home’s heating will be more even, you’ll feel better, and your indoor air quality will improve.
- Second, in the past, heating your home via electric heaters (think your toaster) was incredibly expensive, but with modern cold climate heat pumps, you can heat your home with more than 300% efficiency (yes, you read that right) compared to the 95% efficiency of gas furnaces (8).
The benefits of converting from natural gas furnace to an electric heat pump
An electric air-source heat pump is like having 4 top-of-the-line appliances in one.
- Heat your home in winter
- Cool your home in summer
- Dehumidify your too-humid house
- Filter the air year-round
And they’re experts at each function they perform.
But they also just make your home feel more comfortable. Period. And they have some incredible benefits.
Pros of converting from gas to electric heat with a heat pump:
- Your home will experience more even, consistent heat throughout the winter. Heat pumps don’t kick on and off like a gas furnace. They continuously circulate heated air throughout your house… and they’re super quiet.
- Air-source heat pumps are a customizable, flexible heating system option and can be installed in any home. You don’t even need existing ductwork to install a heat pump system. Which is a huge bonus, because it’s estimated that 20-30% of the heat you pay for is lost through duct leaks (12). But we can help you fix that. Check out How ductless mini splits work to learn more.
- No more worrying over if you smell gas in your home. And no more “furnace smells like burning” late night internet searches. Plus, there’s no risk of explosion or carbon monoxide off-gassing with heat pumps, either. (That’s always a win.)
- Total, complete control with zoned-heating. With some heat pump models, you can enjoy room-by-room temperature control. No more overheating the kitchen while everyone’s freezing in the living room. High-performance heat pumps allow you to create customized zones in your house, something that you can get more precise with with a mini-split ductless heat pump system.
- You’ll get a figurative high-five from future generations. Having a heating and cooling system that runs on clean energy is a smart move. One that gets you closer to your energy-efficient—and maybe even net zero—home goals!
- Increase your home’s air quality on Day 1. After you install your heat pump, your home’s air will be healthier; they automatically filter the air for allergens year-round. And those respiratory issues you get every winter from “dry heat” in your home? Heat pumps don’t do that. They don’t “cook” or “burn” the air to make it warm, and they’re experts at maintaining appropriate humidity levels in your home.
- Get two big upgrades at once. Heat pumps don’t just work to keep you warm, they also cool it in summer. And when you switch to a heat pump, you’re getting the best air heating and air conditioning system on the market.
- You’ll reduce the energy you use to heat your house. And this is the big winner, obviously.
Check out the pros and cons of heat pumps vs furnaces for a deeper dive.
How can I heat my house without natural gas?
If you’re ready to heat your house without natural gas, electric heat is the way to go.
As mentioned above, in the past, heating your home with electricity wasn’t very efficient and definitely not as comfortable. But converting to a modern-day cold-climate heat pump is the most efficient way to heat a house, and it makes the most of the modest amount of electricity it uses to keep you feeling warm and cozy all winter long.
Switching to electric heat vs gas with a cold climate heat pump: Common heat pump myths
If you’ve been a gas heating customer for years, you might have some concerns about switching over to new heat pump technology.
That’s totally understandable—breaking up is hard to do.
Here, we’ll debunk the top 3 myths about converting from gas heat to electric heat pump:
- Myth 1: Heat pumps require a gas heat backup system.
- Myth 2: Heat pumps can’t handle cold temperatures.
- Myth 3: Heat pumps are way too expensive to install.
Myth #1: You have to use a heat pump with a gas furnace backup
Here’s the big electric heat vs gas question: Do you need a backup heating system if you switch to a heat pump?
It’s a pretty popular myth that you need gas backup heating (also called a dual-fuel system) with a heat pump.
But it’s just that: a myth.
In the majority of American homes, you don’t need a backup heating system—especially with today’s modern day heat pumps. Cold-climate heat pumps are geniuses at transferring heat from the atmosphere, even in below-zero temps, into your home to keep you warm.
If you have concerns about whether or not you need a backup heating system, you can give Sealed a call at 888-985-7481.
Learn more about how heat pumps work in freezing cold here.
Myth #2: Heat pumps stop working on super cold winter days
In the past, heat pumps struggled to keep up when temperatures dropped below freezing. Not anymore!
The electric air-source heat pumps of today are ready to take on the coldest of winter nights.
In fact, heat pumps can work below -13 degrees. They have been tested in freezing Minnesota and Maine winters, and are the top-selling heating system in Northern European countries like Norway, Switzerland, Finland—all places that deal with seriously freezing cold winter weather.
And if your house is properly insulated and professionally air sealed, you’ll be making the best of your heat pump by stopping heat from escaping your home and increasing your heat pump’s lifespan over time.
Myth #3: Heat pumps are way too expensive to install
Heat pumps work to heat your home in winter and cool your home in summer, so when you convert from gas heat to an electric heat pump, you’re also getting a top-of-the-line energy-efficient AC system.
Because of this, heat pumps are usually more expensive to install than a new gas furnace since they are two appliances in one. But many homeowners qualify for utility energy upgrade rebates or Inflation Reduction Act heat pump tax credits, which can help you make the switch.
And depending on where you live, you can convert from gas to electric heat for no upfront cost with Sealed. Learn how the payment program works.
Many homeowners qualify for utility energy upgrade rebates or Inflation Reduction Act heat pump tax credits and rebates, which can help you make the switch to electric heat.
How much does it cost to convert from natural gas heat to electric?
Switching from gas heat to an electric heat pump is a big upfront investment. This is the one con we’ve found to heat pumps.
They’re worth it long-term, but the best way to know how much it will cost you—since every home is unique—is to get an estimate from a professional.
The cost of converting from natural gas heat to electric will be based on a few factors, including:
- The square footage of your home
- Professional installation costs in your area
- If you have ductwork installed
- If your ductwork needs repair
- Local permitting costs
- Size and type of air-source heat pump needed
- The current capacity of your electric panel
And the above equipment and installation pricing considerations don’t include the costs for optimizing your house for a heat pump.
Heat pumps perform their absolute best—and you’ll get maximum comfort and efficiency—when your house is well-insulated and air sealed.
When installed together, insulation, air sealing, and heat pump upgrades can reduce a home’s energy use by 50%!Sealed analysis
Overall, switching from natural gas heat to an electric heat pump can have a large upfront cost… but don’t panic! We have some great news: We came up with a unique solution.
If your house qualifies to work with Sealed, you can convert from natural gas to electric heat—and get an energy-efficient heat pump, too—for ZERO upfront cost.
You pay us back for the upgrades based on the energy you save. Essentially, you reinvest what you were spending on energy waste into the health, comfort, and value of your home. If you don’t save energy, we don’t get paid. Learn more.
Bonus: Sealed makes it hassle-free to understand what rebates and tax incentives may apply to your project.
How difficult is it to convert from gas heat to a heat pump?
Although the initial costs can be a hurdle, for most homeowners, switching from gas heat to an electric heat pump is a straightforward upgrade that is managed and installed by a professional.
(You don’t want someone messing around with gas lines and connections in your home who isn’t licensed to do this kind of work.)
Heat pumps can be integrated into the existing electrical system in your home, although some older houses might need an electrical wiring or electric panel upgrade. There are rebates and incentives for that work, too, if it’s necessary.
A certified technician will expertly install your new electric heat pump; there’s usually a 3-5 day working period for this project. Your heat pump can also be easily integrated into your ductwork if it’s in good condition (and if you’re not opting for a ductless mini split system).
And if you want to optimize your home for maximum heat pump efficiency, you should definitely weatherize your home with insulation and air sealing upgrades. This kind of work can be completed alongside your heat pump install, usually in 1-3 days.
Switching from gas to electric heat doesn’t usuall require weeks of work like a big home renovation, although there might be a bit of a waiting period before your install since it’s a sought-after upgrade.
And it’s a smart upgrade, too. It makes your home more comfortable, healthier, and less wasteful.
Converting from gas heat to an electric heat pump is hassle-free with Sealed
Depending on where you’re located, you may be able to switch from natural gas heat to electric with Sealed at no upfront cost.
Here’s how Sealed works to make your home healthier and more comfortable: Think of us as your home’s energy-efficiency concierge and project guru.
- Plan your customized energy efficiency upgrades and comfort solutions
- Help you understand your rebate eligibility and possible tax credits—and their impact on project costs (this is, after all, a ton of work and can be a logistical nightmare)
- Negotiate, hire, and manage expertly vetted local contractors for your home upgrades (we only work with the best of the best!)
- Make sure contractors secure local permits needed to do the job
- Monitor your home’s energy usage after your project
- Stay accountable to the performance of your upgrades
…all while paying the upfront costs on your behalf. We stand by our work, too: You only pay us back for the work done if you save energy. Learn more about the payment plan.
With Sealed, you’ve still got money in the bank and the efficient home upgrades (like a high-performance heat pump!) you want and need.
It’s the best of both worlds—and you get to leave the hassle behind.
Take this two-minute quiz to see if your house qualifies.