Gas vs Electric. Which one is better for the environment?

Despite all the promises of renewable energy, it’s still a long way off meeting today’s society’s needs. The inefficiency of solar panels means it would require covering half the continent with them to replace coal, gas and other traditional power sources. But you can choose between an array of utility companies and energy sources to find a more eco-friendly source of energy for your home. The most economical choices are gas and electric. But which one is better for the environment?

The Case for Electric Heat
Utility companies invest in large, efficient solar farms that produce more power per hectare than the solar cells available to home owners. Or alternatively, they may build solar concentrators that harness solar heat to power steam turbines, after the heat is used to boil water stored in the system. One of the best features of electric heat is its accessibility, as you’re able to connect to the conventional power grid to get it. You can also pay a little more for wind, solar or other forms of renewable energy created by the utility company.

When the day finally arrives and we have entirely green energy sources, whether wave energy or nuclear, your electric home will have a very small carbon footprint. Electric heating is certainly the more environmentally friendly solution for those inside your home. Burning wood releases smoke. Gas could leak and pose a suffocation hazard. Almost every other fuel source is
harmful in some way when you’re converting it to heat.

Another positive in favour of electric heat, is the fact that nearly every home has electrical outlets in it. Your home is probably already wired for electric heating for the whole house, and you can add smaller heaters or fans as necessary. If your home is entirely electric, it’s cheaper to stay electric. Converting your home from electric to gas may require getting gas service for your home. Then the gas has to be piped to the gas meter and the gas furnace, which isn’t a cheap process.

The Case for Gas
Suppose you have a gas connection to your home already. Converting to gas is as simple as buying and installing a gas heater. You could upgrade to a gas water heater and oven while you’re at it. Gas has a number of benefits if it’s available to you. Firstly, it’s one of the cleanest sources of energy that burns fossil fuels, so it may be more eco-friendly than heating your home with electricity.

Gas heating is also typically cheaper. Even the less energy efficient gas furnaces on the market are more effective than the average electric furnace. To compare gas and electric prices, visit iselect. Another benefit in favour of natural gas, is the fact that we have far greater reserves, so we aren’t at risk of running out of it any time soon.

A less obvious benefit of gas heating is that it will typically work even if the power is out. The furnace will continue to burn gas, though you may need to run a generator to get the furnace to start. Assuming you’ve switched to gas appliances, you can also cook food in your oven and enjoy hot water when the power’s gone out. Just make sure that you maintain the burners and have adequate ventilation. We recommend carbon monoxide detectors for any home that has gas.

There isn’t a significant difference between gas and electric heating, since each have their pros and cons. The biggest determining factors are the costs you may incur implementing it and what energy sources are available to you via the local utility company.


The Yucatan Times

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