Gas vs. Electric Heaters

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Gas vs. Electric Heaters

Having a reliable heater is essential in virtually every climate. Even in warmer areas, evening temperatures can still drop quite low and a heater is necessary for both comfort and safety. However, it is not always easy to choose the right type of heater. Most homes have either a gas heater or an electric heater, both of which are available from appliance retail shops or online from eBay. Both gas and electric heaters can be useful and reliable, but it is important to take into consideration the differences between them in order to choose the right one for any given situation.

Gas Heaters

Gas heaters can be a very effective way to heat a home. Many central heating units use natural gas as fuel. Natural gas heaters are generally quite cost effective to run, although the additional cost of professional installation can offset the overall savings.

Flued Heaters

A natural gas furnace that acts as the central heater for a home is a flued heater. These heaters must have some type of chimney in order to vent the fumes that come from burning natural gas. Often, this also means having various heating ducts and other ventilation throughout the dwelling. When dealing with heating ducts, professional installation is a necessity. This process can be quite costly and, therefore, may be out of reach for some homeowners.

Non-Flued Heaters

Non-flued heaters are a more affordable solution for those who want a natural gas heater. This type of heater does not require a chimney, but neither is this type of heater appropriate for heating an entire home. When using this type of heater, it is essential to ventilate the room properly, which may mean that some of the heat escapes along with the exhaust from the heater. Non-flued heaters are not appropriate for use while occupants of the house are sleeping as there is a danger of toxic fumes.

Electric Heaters

Gas heaters are not appropriate for every situation nor are they available in every area. Some homes, for example, may not have access to natural gas lines while others may be looking for a space heater to augment their central heating system. In these situations, electric heaters are a viable alternative to gas heaters. The two most common types of electric heaters are radiation heaters and convection heaters.

Radiation Heaters

An electric radiation heater has an internal heating element inside of a glass container. The heating element heats the glass, which in turn, releases infrared radiation. A reflector inside of the heater drives the heat out to heat the space surrounding the heater. Radiation heaters are well suited to be space heaters since they are effective at heating the space directly around the heater, itself. These types of heaters can present a danger because the focus of their heat is so intense that they can start fires in homes if not carefully monitored.

Convection Heaters

Convection heaters , such as ceramic heaters, use air circulation to provide heat. Air circulates through the heater, coming into contact with the internal heating element. When the air is heated, it naturally rises and cold air comes rushing in to take its place. This process continues as long as the heater is on. Because the air around a convection heater is in constant circulation, there is less risk of starting a fire with this type of space heater.

Gas Heater and Electric Heater Comparison Summary

Although gas and electric heaters provide essentially the same function, there are a number of differences between them. Generally, gas and electric heaters are simply best suited to different tasks. The chart below summarises some of the most important differences between the two types of heaters.

Type of Heater




Operational efficiency

More cost effective over time

Better for central heating

Proper ventilation and installation can be costly


Easy to install

No ventilation necessary

Better for space heating

Less efficient overall

Clearly, in order to choose between the two types of heaters, it is important to consider the purpose of the heater as well as the household's overall priorities. While a gas heater may cost more to install, for instance, if it lowers the heating bill for a home over a long period, it can be worth the initial investment.

Safety Comparison

When bringing any new appliance into a home, it is important to consider the safety ramifications. Gas heaters are less likely to start fires than electric heaters, which is certainly a benefit. However, gas heaters also must have proper ventilation or there is a danger of inhaling toxic gas fumes, which is also extremely dangerous. Homeowners should monitor electric heaters, particularly radiation heaters, at all times for fire safety, while convection heaters and gas heaters may usually be unattended without consequence.

Environmental Comparison

Finally, there are environmental considerations for both types of heaters. Electric heaters may seem initially more eco-friendly because they do not emit carbon monoxide fumes; however, natural gas heaters are environmentally-friendlier since they are much more efficient in generating heat. Furthermore, many electrical grids use coal-generated power, which creates a bigger environmental hazard than natural gas.

How to Buy Gas and Electric Heaters on eBay

Whether you have chosen to purchase a gas or an electric heater, searching on eBay is an efficient way to find the right heater for your home. Enter relevant keywords, like "portable heater" into the eBay search box located on every page of the site. Keep in mind that even a small space heater can be quite heavy. As a result, be sure to take shipping costs into account when shopping.

Keeping your home warm and comfortable is important, which is why it is a good idea to gather as much information as possible about the types of heaters that are available. When you have a reliable and affordable way to heat your home, you can better enjoy the time that you spend there.

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