What if I have a Gas Furnace?

What to do With Your Gas Central Heat

If you only heat your home with natural gas then keep reading.

If you heat your home with gas then it’s likely a ducted system, meaning you have metal boxes running through your home delivering hot air to each room.

Now, place yourself in one of two buckets, you either have an old dying gas heater that needs replacing or you have a newer one that has many years of life left in it. 

If your gas heater is old and dying then now is probably a good time to switch to heat pumps. Your local utility and the federal government will provide incentives to make the switch more affordable. If your ducts are in good condition then you can remove your gas heater and install a heat pump that uses those existing ducts. Now you have fully switched off of gas to electric heat and you have added air conditioning. When adding back-up power to this system you can use batteries but you’ll need a lot of them to power the heat pump, or you can add a gas generator to power the heat pump when the grid is down, either way by moving fully to a heat pump you will need a lot of power to use that heat pump for heating or cooling when the grid is down. When you get into these complexities of how to manage your home the best thing to do is talk to an expert. Universal Electric & Solar PNW is here to help, we ask every customer about how they heat their home and bring it into context of all the other energy decisions they are making so a well balanced solution is what defines your project when you sign up with us.

If your gas heater is working just fine and has 10+ years left in it then consider adding mini-split heat pumps to your home. The mini-split system provides a heater unit in each room that you choose, you wont get a unit in every room but you want them in important rooms like the living room and bedrooms. The fewer units you get the lower the cost, which means that for some people a big problem can be solved for less than the cost of switching your entire home off of gas heating. The question to ask though is, why would I want both? The reason is that when the weather is mild the heat pump can reduce your energy cost because it can heat your home for a lower cost than the gas heater, then when it is cold outside the gas heater is the lowest cost way to heat your home. Then, heat pumps add both air conditioning and air filtering without bringing in air from the outside, which is what you want on a hot day with forest fire smoke in the air. On top of that, when the grid goes down on a cold day the gas heater just needs the fan and the electronic controls powered up and you’ve got a warm home during a winter storm that knocked out the grid. To back up your gas heater a small battery system can suffice which reduces the cost of providing back up power to your home. This hybrid approach to transitioning off of gas instead of quitting cold turkey will probably work better for most homes. This is why at Universal Electric & Solar PNW we talk to all of our customers about heat pumps so we can build the optimal plan matched to your unique needs before we quote new technologies like solar and batteries. 
Electrifying your home while keeping up with its maintenance optimizes government incentives and reduces overall cost of the updates that you already have to make, so before you make another major decision about your home contact Universal Electric & Solar PNW to get the best advice. www.universalelectricpnw.com.

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