Last Updated on March 9, 2021 by Filip Poutintsev
Throughout history, people have come up with various ways to protect themselves against the major drop of temperature in cold winters. From using woods for the fire to the advanced heaters, the process of heating has significantly evolved.
Electric Heaters and Gas Heaters
The two most common choices when it comes to heating houses are electric heaters and gas heaters.
As of today, Electric heaters are cheaper, sustainable, easy to install and does not require an installment of the chimney, unlike gas heaters.
However, when comparing the operational cost, gas heaters cost a lot cheaper. Both electric and gas heaters have their pros and cons but which one is better? In this article, we’ll compare the advantages and disadvantages of electric and gas heater to assist you while you take on the task of deciding the better option for you.
Types of Electric and Gas Heaters
Types of Electric Heaters
- Radiation Heaters: Radiation heaters generate infrared radiation which travels out as electromagnetic radiation and gets absorbed by objects in the path. These are popular with heat bathrooms. An example of it is an infrared heater.
- Convection Heaters: Convection heater warms the air. So, the hot air rises and the cold air fills the gap and heats. This means that there’s a constant flow of heat. There are three types of convection heaters which are conductive heater, convection heater, and radiant heater.
Types of Gas Heaters
- Flued gas Heater: Flued gases have a flue that discharges water vapor and carbon monoxide outside the house. These need to be installed at a proper height to emit all the gases.
- Non-flued Gas Heater: Non-flued gases don’t have flue and convey combustion gases and water vapors into the house. So, it requires a proper ventilation system.
Evolution of Heaters
One of the earliest methods of heating was used around the 44,000 BC by the people of Neanderthals, now known as Ukraine. They build hearths inside of structures or with mammoth bones to cook and warm themselves up.
This method was used until the 14th century. Around 1000 BCE, underfloor heating was introduced. A certain underfloor heating system called ondol was famous in Korea, where a wood fire was burned under a heat-absorbing floor and transferred into the home.
Then, around 500 BCE, the heating system which was introduced by Roman settlers was used, which used brazier to heat the homes. Finally, around the 12th century, the invention of the chimney enabled people to build a fireplace inside their homes. In 1857, first gas heaters were introduced and the 19th century brought the modernized electric and steam heating method.
Comparing Electric heaters and Gas heaters
The primary concern when purchasing anything is its cost. Comparatively, the installation cost of gas heaters is more expensive because using gas heaters require a proper ventilation system.
If your house doesn’t have a proper chimney or flue to vent out the harmful carbon monoxide and excessive water vapor, you need to hire a professional to install those pipes and vents. While the upfront cost of electric heaters is roughly around $900-$1200, installing gas heaters can cost from $4800-5200.
Gas prices per unit are comparatively cheaper than the electricity price per unit. This means that in the long run, using gas heaters, on a daily basis, might be a lot cheaper. Electric heaters end up costing more even though the initial installation cost is a lot less.
Gas heaters transfer heat through pipes. Thus, when the heat is being transferred, the pipes absorb some amount of heat. Even if you want to heat one radiator, the boiler will have to heat the whole tank of water, making gas heating less energy efficient.
With electric heaters, there’s no loss of heat between the power source and heat output. Electric heaters are 100% efficient whereas gas heaters are only 80-90% efficient.
Both electric heaters and gas heaters carry some risks. If you’re using electric heaters, you need to make sure you don’t run it continuously for a long period of time. As it could potentially start an electric fire.
Whereas with gas heaters, lack of proper ventilation can suffocate you and remove moisture from the air causing skin problems such as eczema. In the case of flued gas heaters, fumes are distributed through pipes but fuel-less gas heaters require a proper ventilation system.
Size and Portability
One of the other advantages of electric heaters is its portability and along with that, it’s available in various designs, shapes, and sizes. You can choose designs that are suitable for your house. However, gas heaters are bulkier and take more space. Plus, you don’t have many design options.
Gas heaters last between 10-20 years which is comparatively much shorter. A good electric heater has a longer lifespan of about 20-30 years.
Electric heaters take a longer time to heat the room and it is designed to warm small rooms such as your bedroom. Whereas, gas heaters heat the room efficiently in a shorter time and usually is best for larger space.
If you’re deciding whether to buy electric or gas heaters, you need to consider your lifestyle, requirements and your budget. If you don’t want to pay a huge upfront cost then the best option for you is electric heaters. These are 100% efficient and are suitable to warm smaller spaces. However, in the longer run, gas heaters are much cheaper and convey heat faster even in larger spaces.