Canadian-made Forced Air Electric Furnaces Compatible with Heat Pumps & Air Conditioners
Upgrading to a modern, high-tech heat pump system but want the added security of having supplemental or back-up heating for those cold days? No (reliable) supply of natural gas or propane, but you want the added comforts of a central forced air heating system? No matter your reason for considering an electric furnace or air handler, BPH Sales has you covered!
What is an electric furnace?
An electric furnace is a forced air heating system that heats or cools the air by passing cooler air over coils that convert electrical energy into thermal energy (kind of like your toaster works). The heated coils warm the air as it is passing over, and this heated air is then distributed by the blower fan throughout your home duct system.
Electric furnaces are also commonly (but maybe not completely correctly) referred to as forced air electric furnaces, heat pump air handlers, high efficiency electric furnaces, or electric air handlers.
When should I consider an electric furnace?
The most common scenarios for upgrading to an electric furnace include:
- Installation of a central heat pump system with the added security and comforts of a supplemental or back-up electric heating system
- Replacing an existing gas furnace installation with an electric furnace due to the rising costs of natural gas or propane
- Upgrading from baseboard or zoned electric heating to a more comfortable forced air heating system
- No supply of (natural) gas to the home but grid-supplied electricity is available
Off-the-grid living with electric heating, most times with a large solar installation.
Why are electric furnaces also sometimes referred to as Electric Heat Pump Air Handlers (AHU)?
Electric furnaces can serve multiple functions, which is why they are often referred to as Electric Air Handlers or Air Handling Units (AHU). Electric forced air furnaces, as with most other types of forced air furnaces, can be used as an Air Handling Unit paired with a central heat pump system to provide a hybrid heating solution.
In this scenario, the furnace would primarily function as an AHU, and when the heat pump cannot keep up (such as in cold weather) or loses power, the furnace will start heating. With an electric furnace, this heating is provided by the heating coils changing electrical energy into thermal energy while air is passed over these electrical coils, transferring heat energy from the hot coils to the cooler air. The heated air is then circulated by a furnace blower (fan) throughout your homes duct system.
How much does an electric furnace cost?
The upfront purchase costs for an electric furnace are very similar to the costs of upgrading to a modern high-efficiency condensing gas furnace. However, if you are planning to replace an existing gas furnace with an electric furnace, you will also need to consider that your home’s electrical system may require upgrades to cope with the increased electrical power draw required for an electric furnace.
If your home is already outfitted with an electrical system that can deal with the increased capacity needed for heat pumps or electric heating, then an electric furnace is definitely a suitable, cost-and-environmentally conscious upgrade to make!
What are the monthly operating costs for an electric furnace?
A question we often get is whether it is cheaper to operate an electric furnace or a gas furnace. Well, the answer is not so simple. There are many factors to consider, the most important of which is the fluctuating cost of electricity versus the cost of natural gas or propane.
Is an electric furnace more efficient than a gas furnace?
Yes, because converting electricity into heat energy is a very efficient process, most times reaching close to 100% conversion efficiency and 95% to 99% overall unit efficiency (how much of the heat is transferred to the passing air). Meanwhile, the highest efficiency condensing gas furnaces currently reach 97% percent or so efficiency.
No, because the electricity needed to run your electric furnace still needs to be generated somewhere, somehow, and then transported to your home and furnace. Transportation of anything, electricity included, takes energy and causes efficiency losses.
So, although an electric furnace may be more thermally efficient, it may or may not be the most cost efficient choice for you to make, depending on the vastly varying electricity and gas rates across the country at any given point of time.
What sizes of electric furnaces or electric air handlers are available?
Our lineup of Stelpro furnaces and Nortron electric furnaces are available in sizes from 10 kW up to 23 kW, or roughly 34,000 BTU/hr up to 78,000 BTU/hr.
Where are electric furnaces available?
Electric furnaces are available across Canada!
Can I use an electric furnace for heating and cooling my home?
Absolutely, but you will need a separate evaporator coil installed in your ducting for your air conditioner.