While many homeowners rely on oil or natural gas to heat their homes during the colder winter months, electricity is another option. For owners of small houses and mobile homes in more temperate climates or areas where oil and natural gas are not readily available, an electric furnace provides a safe alternative. Electric furnaces are generally smaller than other furnaces. They are recommended for smaller homes or homes located in climate zones 1 to 3, where your heating needs may not be as extreme.
The average electric furnace with installation costs $1,600 to $3,200, with most homeowners paying around $2,400 for a new installation of a 68,000 BTU unit for a 1,500 sq.ft. home in climate zone 2. This project’s low cost is $900 for a 35,000 BTU electric furnace replacement in a 1,000 sq.ft. home located in climate zone 2. The high cost is $4,000 for a new installation of an 80,0000 BTU electric furnace in a 2,000 sq.ft. home in climate zone 2.
|Electric Furnace Installation Cost|
|National average cost||$2,400|
An electric furnace is a compact unit containing both a heating element and a blower to circulate air over that element. This is a forced hot air unit. It uses electricity to heat air, which is forced through ducts to the rooms. It is designed to heat the entire home at once. Unlike heat pumps, furnaces can only heat your home, so you need a separate air conditioning unit if you also want to cool your home.
A modular blower is the blower portion of an electric furnace and does not include the heating element. A modular blower can be outfitted with a separate heating element to essentially become an electric unit. This is rare, and most people do not purchase their blower piecemeal but use them in a furnace.
Unlike the electric furnace, a heat pump does not use a fuel source to generate heat. Instead, it moves heat from one area to another, using electricity and coolant like an air conditioner. The heat pump takes heat from the ground or air in the winter, depending on the source. In the summer, it runs in reverse, removing the heat from your home and depositing it in the ground or air.
The costs below are for the different electric heating types for your home. These do not include installation or ducts for furnaces and modular blowers.
|Unit||Average Costs per Unit (Materials Only)|
|Modular Blower||$200 - $400|
|Heat Pump||$500 - $8,000|
|Electric Furnace||$700 - $1,100|
It is very important to choose the correct size unit for your home. A unit that is too small will run nearly constantly as it struggles to produce sufficient heat. This decreases the lifespan of the unit and increases your monthly energy bill. On the other hand, an oversized unit is also a problem because it will turn on and off frequently, causing more wear and tear on the unit and decreasing its lifespan. An oversized unit also leads to an unevenly heated home with some rooms that are too hot and others that are too cold.
The best way to determine your ideal size is to consult a professional HVAC company. They have the expertise to do a precise Manual J Load calculation, which takes into account variables like the number, type, and location of windows as well as sun exposure, number of occupants, number of floors, preferred temperature, ceiling height, building construction, and age of the home. The more details incorporated, the more accurate the final number.
Before calling the professionals, you can do a basic calculation yourself. This allows you to approximate the size you should budget for and determine if an electric unit will meet your needs.
Your home size and climate are two of the main determining factors when calculating the type of furnace and the correct size for your home. To do your calculation, you need to know the approximate square footage of your home and the climate zone your home is in.
First, consult the U.S. Energy Information Administration’s climate zone map and determine your zone number. Use the table below to find the recommended BTU per square foot output your unit should generate based on your zone. The recommendations are given in a range. Choose a number on the lower end of the range if your home is well-insulated or a higher number when installing it in an older, more poorly insulated location.
Electric furnaces are most cost-effective for full-time use in Zones 1 and 2. They can be used part-time in Zones 3 and 4. They are not generally recommended for use in Zone 5 due to the prohibitively high heating costs they would entail.
|Climate Zone||Recommended BTUs per Square Foot|
|Zone 1||30 - 35|
|Zone 2||35 - 40|
|Zone 3||40 - 45|
|Zone 4||45 - 50|
|Zone 5||50 - 60|
After determining your climate zone, multiply the selected BTUs per square foot by your home’s total square footage to get the BTU rating recommendation for your furnace.
Most units are sized based on their hourly British Thermal Unit (BTU) output capability. You may, however, find some that are sized in tons like air conditioning units. One ton is equivalent to 12,000 BTUs.
Their sizes come in 7,000 to 10,000 BTU increments, so the available sizes may not perfectly match your calculations. Choose the closest size, trying not to undersize by more than 10% or oversize by more than 20%. Keep in mind that the listed BTUs are the input rating, not the output rating. To find out how many BTUs of heat the furnace will actually put out into your home, you must deduct the percentage that is lost due to inefficiency. To calculate the final BTU output, multiply the unit’s BTU input by its efficiency percentage, otherwise known as its Annual Fuel Use Efficiency (AFUE) rating.
The chart below shows the BTU and kilowatt-hour (kWh) range that a homeowner in Climate Zone 2 would shop for based on home size.
|Home Size||BTUs per Hour (Based on Climate Zone 2)||Kilowatt-Hours (kWhs)|
Your furnace size depends on your home size and climate. Most units work in zones 1 to 3 comfortably. They may also produce supplementary heat in zone 4. The following costs are for units based on average home sizes in zone 2 - the most common zone for installing an electric unit.
|House Size||BTUs||Average Cost (Materials Only)|
|1,000 sq.ft.||35,000 - 40,000||$600 - $1,000|
|1,500 sq.ft.||52,500 - 60,000||$700 - $1,100|
|2,000 sq.ft.||70,000 - 80,000||$900 - $1,400|
When furnaces are rated for efficiency, this rating refers to the percentage of fuel the furnace can convert to heat. Standard gas, propane, and oil units convert about 80% of their energy into heat, while high-efficiency units convert up to 98% of their fuel. The remaining fuel is burnt off as exhaust.
Electric units work differently. They use a heating element to warm the air and are not directly burning fuel. This means the unit converts nearly 100% of its energy into heat.
This does not mean they are eco-friendly. While they use nearly all their energy to make heat, that energy is produced using another material. Depending on where you live, your electricity may be produced through coal, hydropower, wind power, solar power, or another fuel. These units are extremely efficient, but they may not be the most eco-friendly option, depending on how your area produces power.
The price of similar-size units varies by brand. A higher-quality King furnace will be more expensive than a value-minded budget brand like Revolv.
Compare price, warranty, customer support, quality, and length of time you plan to own your home to help you make your decision. An entry-level unit usually lasts 15 to 20 years, and a higher-quality one can last 18 to 25 years.
The most commonly installed size of electric furnace is 20 kilowatt-hours (kWh) or approximately 68,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units). This size is well-suited for a 1,500-square-foot home in a temperate climate. The table below shows the average price a homeowner can expect to pay for a 68,000 BTU unit from some of the most common brands.
|Brand||Average Product Cost for a 68,000 BTU (20 kWh) Unit|
|Revlov||$600 - $850|
|Mortex||$700 - $900|
|Goodman||$800 - $1,000|
|Coleman||$800 - $1,000|
|Stelpro||$900 - $1,100|
|Winchester||$1,050 - $1,200|
|King||$1,100 - $1,300|
The cost of a Revolv electric furnace is $600 to $850. Revolv is considered a good-quality budget brand. They primarily make small furnaces and units designed for mobile homes. Revolv is one of the top manufacturers of mobile home electric units. Revolv is a subsidiary of Coleman, which is a subsidiary of the York company. Revolv is the line of products manufactured by Coleman to be used in manufactured homes.
The cost of a Mortex electric furnace ranges from $700 to $900. Mortex has been producing quality units since 1953. They manufacture units for modular and manufactured homes. This means homes built offsite and assembled on land or mobile homes. Mortex units are generally designed for smaller residences only. They are not made for large or traditional stick-built homes.
The cost of a Goodman electric furnace is between $800 and $1,000. Goodman is owned by the Daikin company, which also makes Amana products. Goodman is considered to be a good and dependable budget brand. They make units for all home types and sizes. While other low-cost manufacturers market solely to modular and manufactured homes, Goodman makes units for all construction. Their low cost and high quality make them a favorite among builders.
The cost of a Coleman electric furnace averages $800 to $1,000. Coleman is owned by the same manufacturer as Lennox and is considered the company’s budget brand. Coleman makes units primarily for manufactured or mobile homes. They are considered to be slightly better quality and highly durable options for mobile homes. Their units are generally very versatile to meet a wide range of needs for a small home.
The cost of a Stelpro electric furnace is $900 to $1,100. Stelpro is a family-owned Canadian company based in Quebec. Stelpro is considered a high-end brand. They have several features built into their products, making them exceptionally user-friendly and easy to install. This includes built-in temperature sensors 3 and state-of-the-art system controls. Their units modulate well, saving electricity while heating your home.
The cost of a Winchester electric unit ranges from $1,050 to $1,200. Winchester is produced by the York company. Their units are considered a high-end option for small homes, modular homes, and manufactured homes. They have a dedicated line of products designed for mobile homes. This includes some compact models and varying stage blowers to keep your home more comfortable and lower your energy bills. Winchester’s products have a good warranty and last longer than some other brands.
The cost of a King electric furnace averages $1,100 to $1,300. King is one of the few companies specializing in electrical products. They have been making these units in the Seattle area since 1958. They are well-known for producing very high-quality, compact units for homes of all sizes. They have a larger range of products than many other brands to find a better fit for your needs.
Labor costs to install an electric furnace typically average $1,000 to $1,500. The cost range for installations varies based on several factors that determine how complex and time-consuming the job is. The three main factors that affect installation costs are: whether it is a new installation or a replacement, the condition of the ductwork and vents, and the size and ease of access to the installation location.
A simple replacement of a same-size, same-type unit, meaning the same brand with the same setup, in an area that needs no modifications, and that has ductwork in good condition, will cost the least. Installing a new one and having new ductwork and vents run will take longer and increase costs. If yours is in a difficult location to access, it can increase costs as well.
The costs above are for a new unit installation without ducts. It covers the installation, wiring for the furnace, and any modifications that may need to be done to the area. If you need new ducts, this adds $1,900 to $6,000, making your total installation costs between $3,200 to $8,000, plus the cost of the unit.
The cost to replace an electric unit is generally much lower than a new installation, although costs still range depending on multiple factors. Labor costs for replacement start at around $300 to $600 for a direct replacement without repairs or modifications. This makes total costs between $900 and $2,000 on average for direct replacements. Costs can be higher, however, based on whether you change the unit size or type or if it needs new exhaust vents or changes to the ductwork to operate. A lot of the installation costs are in the initial setup - wiring, venting, and ductwork. Once those are in place, replacement is generally much faster and easier, resulting in dramatically lower costs overall.
All types of power for heating your home come with several considerations. Costs for things like oil and gas can fluctuate tremendously from year to year, for example, making them potentially more expensive at times than electricity. And for homeowners who have installed solar panels, making the switch to electric heat may be a way to help you save money on your heating bills each winter. Oil furnaces are also very high maintenance, while electric units are very low in maintenance, making this another consideration for converting to electric heat. The following costs are the total installed ranges for converting from an existing oil or gas unit to an electric one.
|Type||Average Costs (Labor Included)|
|Gas to Electric||$2,600 - $4,200|
|Oil to Electric||$3,600 - $5,200|
The cost to switch from gas heat to electric heat averages $2,600 to $4,200. These costs include disconnecting and capping off your gas line leading to the furnace and removing and disposing of the unit. This includes wiring for the new unit to your electrical panel. Costs also include the new one and any minor modifications that may need to be made to the area to accommodate an electric furnace. This project does not include the costs of completely removing a gas main line, but only capping the branch line to the unit. In some cases, you may need to upgrade your electrical panel to support the higher load, particularly if your home is older. Doing so can add another $1,500 to $4,000 to your total.
The cost to convert an oil furnace to an electric system is $3,600 to $5,200 on average. These costs include disconnecting and removing your oil line and oil tank from the property and disposing of the tank. Costs also include the removal and disposal of the unit itself. Oil tends to produce a lot of soot, so you will have higher costs for cleaning the surrounding area, vents, and ducts to get them ready for the new unit. The remaining costs are for wiring the new unit, making any necessary modifications, and installation. If you need a circuit upgrade to accommodate the new one, this adds another $1,500 to $4,000 to the total costs.
Purchase and installation costs are two factors to consider when purchasing a furnace. The third variable is operational costs.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, as of May 2021, the average price per kilowatt for residential electricity was 13.31¢. The average units uses between 10 and 50 kilowatts of power, so at 13.31¢, expect to pay $1.33 to $6.65 per kilowatt-hour to run your electric furnace.
Assuming the yearly average home furnace usage comes out to 40 kWh daily, which is the equivalent of running 4 hours a day during the 6 coldest months of the year, the operational costs would be $5.32 to $26.60 per day, $159.60 to $798 per month, and $957.60 to $4,788 per year.
To calculate how much it will cost to run yours, first divide your unit’s BTUs by 3,400 to determine your kilowatts per hour. Multiply that number by your electric company’s per kilowatt-hour rate. This gives you your per kilowatt-hour charge, which you can then multiply by the number of kilowatts you use.
An energy use calculator can also run the estimation for you if you enter your price per kilowatt-hour, the unit power used in watts (remember there are 1,000 watts in a kilowatt), and the yearly average number of hours used per day.
In colder climates, you may want to install both an electric furnace and a heat pump. The heat pump can provide supplemental heat on days when your furnace cannot keep up, while also providing you with the option of air conditioning in the warmer months of the year.
There are different types of heat pumps available, including air source and geothermal. Depending on the heat pump type you choose, this can have an enormous impact on the total cost of your project. The average range of costs for installing a heat pump is $5,000 to $30,000, depending on the system type and size. With a furnace, this would make a total cost range of $6,600 to $33,200.
Electric furnaces are most commonly installed in Zones 1 to 3, where there is also a great need for central air conditioning. It is very common to install a new furnace and a new central air conditioning unit at the same time because both systems use the same ducts.
The cost of adding central air conditioning is $3,750 to $9,800 without ducts, for a total of $5,350 to $13,000 with a furnace. Alternatively, you can also use a packaged HVAC system, which is an electric furnace and central air conditioner in one unit. These cost between $10,000 and $14,000 fully installed. If you also need ductwork, this increases costs by $1,900 to $6,000 in either scenario.
Electric furnaces are a popular choice for mobile homes since they do not need the venting a gas unit would, and they do not pose a carbon monoxide risk. In a mobile home, narrow ductwork is generally run in the floor rather than the ceiling. This means you need a downflow installation and blower.
They are also sized well for smaller spaces, making them a natural fit for a mobile home. When sizing it for a mobile home, consider the size of the furnace storage closet in addition to the home’s total square footage. There must be enough room to install the furnace with proper ventilation and clearance around it. Many manufacturers produce units that are specifically designed for mobile home use. The average mobile home unit costs $600 to $1,000 for the unit only. Installation adds another $600 to $1,500, depending on the installation type and size of the space, for a total cost range of $1,200 to $2,500 for a new mobile home furnace, fully installed.
An annual inspection from a licensed furnace contractor is one of the most important ways to keep yours operating properly. The inspector will check the function of your system and go over the findings and action items with you. Expect to pay between $250 and $400 for most inspections. In addition to this scheduled visit, there are several maintenance tasks that you can perform yourself.
For optimum performance, the U.S. Department of Energy recommends cleaning your filters monthly and replacing them regularly per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Also, make sure that your furnace’s air vents are not obstructed, and remember to clean the air blower, including the blades. You can also follow this checklist put out by Energy Star, ensuring your system is operating at peak efficiency.
Both electric and gas furnaces have pros and cons. When comparing gas vs electric furnaces, the best choice for your situation will depend on your climate, house size, the price and availability of electricity and gas, and your personal preference.
An electric furnace is quicker and easier to install than gas. It also has a lower purchase and installation cost. With an electric one, there is no danger of a fuel leak or carbon monoxide poisoning. They run quieter and last 15 to 25 years. The main downside is their higher operational cost due to electrical rates. They are generally considered a better choice in warmer climate zones and for smaller homes.
Gas furnaces are more expensive upfront than electric ones. Not only is the purchase price higher, but since they are more time-consuming and complicated to install, labor costs are also higher. They run louder and have a shorter 10 to 20-year lifespan. Homeowners must also be alert to the potential for fuel leaks and carbon monoxide emissions. The advantages of gas furnaces are their lower operational cost thanks to inexpensive fuel, their rapid heating capability, and their efficiency in very cold temperatures. Gas furnaces can be used successfully in larger homes and in colder climates, better than electric ones.
Because gas furnaces are primarily used in colder climates, they tend to be larger than electric units. This, plus their more complicated installation, means that overall they are more expensive than electric furnaces, both for parts and installation. Below are the average costs of both systems, fully installed, without new ducts.
|Type||Average Costs (Installed)|
|Electric||$1,600 - $3,200|
|Gas||$3,000 - $8,000|
There are many things you can add to your furnace to make the air in your home more comfortable. HEPA filtration systems and central humidifiers are two such systems. HEPA filters help clean the air as it passes through your system, while central humidifiers add moisture to the air. The cost of each of these systems ranges between $600 and $1,000 on average.
When replacing your existing furnace, the old one will need to be removed. Some companies remove and dispose of the old unit at no cost as a courtesy. Others charge between $50 and $200 for this service. Always ask upfront to find out what the company offers.
Ductwork is the pathway that heated air travels throughout your home. When replacing your furnace, you may be able to use your existing ductwork, but it is advisable to have a professional inspect the ductwork and note its condition. Investing money in a high-efficiency unit does not make sense if the ductwork is in poor condition, allowing heat to leak out. If your ductwork cannot be repaired, it may need to be replaced. Expect ductwork costs to be around $1,900 to $6,000 for new ducts, fully installed.
Expect it to last between 15 and 25 years with proper maintenance and upkeep. Every furnace may be different, and usage, size, and brand can play a role in longevity.
New units have an Annual Fuel Use Efficiency (AFUE) rating of 95-100%, meaning they are all high-efficiency, and their heat loss is 5% or less as long as the ductwork is in good condition. Keep in mind that the U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the fossil-fuel burning process used to create the electricity is only 30% efficient. To determine true efficiency, you need to know how your area’s electricity is produced.
On average, a new unit costs around $1,600 to $3,200 with installation. If you need new ductwork or a circuit upgrade to support the furnace, your costs will be higher.
They run an average of 10 to 25 kWhs. Divide a furnace’s BTU output by 3,400 to calculate its expected kilowatt usage per hour.
They can be, but several factors go into this determination. The cost of electricity in your area, furnace size, and how large your house is all play a role in how much you pay to run an electric furnace. Because of their expense, most people install them in warmer climates where they are not needed as often as in colder climates.