When you’re building a custom home, utilities are always an important consideration. Sometimes you have a choice; sometimes you don’t, especially in rural or poorly served areas. But when you do, understanding your options can have a massive impact on lifetime utility costs, efficiency, upkeep, and more!
The choice between gas and electric has several implications. For one, it’s the primary method of heating your home. For another, it opens the door to gas-powered appliances, which some at-home chefs swear by. Here are some considerations for your custom home build.
Generally, gas is cheaper than electric by unit. It also heats more area per unit. However, gas companies charge a flat fee even when gas is being used, typically $10-20 per month.
The cost difference mainly comes up front and in maintenance. While a gas furnace is cheaper to install, you have to install a separate air conditioner; a heat pump puts both heating and cooling in a single unit. That said, gas furnaces also have a longer lifespan, typically 20 years versus 15 for a heat pump.
Any fossil fuel is going to do some environmental harm, and gas is no exception. Gas lines leak methane, which is part of the reason that utility operators charge year round. That said, many electric companies produce their electricity with non-renewables like coal, so your carbon footprint may not change much either way.
One of the biggest advantages of gas heat is using it for appliances. A gas stove heats up quicker and is capable of higher temperatures, and a gas fireplace is far easier to use and maintain than a wood-burning one. You can also hook up a line to a built-in grill, perfect for entertaining.
Allergies and Home Environment
Heat from gas furnaces has a pleasant, toasty quality that can feel especially nice on a very chilly day. However, it is also very dry, which could trigger allergies in some folks. Heat pumps, like air conditioners, usually have moister air.