What Type of Electric Heater Is Most Energy Efficient?

A woman thinking with an electric heat pump installed behind her.

If your heating system is nearing the end of its service life, you’re probably already on the lookout for a replacement. Of course, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the number of home heating systems on the market. There are so many makes and models to choose from — so it can be difficult to find the right one for your household’s needs.

When researching a new heating system replacement, it’s important to have a few criteria in mind. For example, you may have narrowed your search down to units that run on electricity. You might also want to choose a system that has high energy efficiency.

So, what type of electric heater is most energy efficient? We’ll answer this question below.

Why Is Energy Efficiency Important?

Before we can discuss the most efficient electric heating systems currently on the market, it’s crucial to know why so many people care about efficient heating and cooling systems. Homeowners, HVAC companies, and the Department of Energy all stress the importance of energy efficiency.

Learn more about energy efficiency and its benefits:

The Importance of Energy Efficiency infographic

The Efficiency of Furnaces

If you’re looking for the most efficient electric heating systems, it makes sense to start with furnaces. As you may or may not know, furnaces are some of the most popular heating systems among homeowners. These units are known for providing fast heat — but they’re also widely championed for their energy efficiency.

Electric furnaces all have an AFUE of 100%. AFUE, which stands for “Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency,” measures how efficiently a heating system can transform energy into heat. Since electric furnaces have 100% AFUE, all of the electricity they use is transformed into heat.

Despite this, it’s important to mention that gas furnaces can sometimes be more efficient than their electric counterparts. For example, you’re likely to reap more efficiency benefits from a gas furnace if you live in a colder climate.

If you’re feeling unsure whether a gas or electric furnace is right for you, don’t hesitate to contact a professional HVAC technician for assistance. Before you schedule a heating service in Dallas, TX, a technician can discuss options with you to find the most suitable solution for your needs.

The Efficiency of Heat Pumps

When discussing the most efficient electric heating systems, it’s near-impossible not to mention mini-split heat pumps. These HVAC systems have two main components: a wall-mounted air handler and an outdoor compressor. In most cases, the compressor can be connected to more than one air handler at once.

Heat pumps are slowly but steadily growing in popularity among homeowners for their easy maintenance and dual functionality as heating and cooling systems. Of course, they’re also well-known for their high energy efficiency.

Why are heat pumps efficient? When it comes down to it, these heating systems don’t create heat. Instead, they simply collect heat from the outdoors and bring it into your living spaces. There are various types of heat pumps to choose from, and each type has its own way of heating a home.

Let’s take a look at air-source, water-source, and ground-source heat pumps.

Air Source Heat Pumps

As the name suggests, air-source heat pumps pull heat energy from the outdoors, where it is then transformed into warm air for you and your family to enjoy. Air-source heat pumps are probably the most popular option for homeowners, but they’re not necessarily the most efficient. This is especially true if you live in an incredibly cold climate.

All-in-all, electric heat pumps are a great option for those living in a more moderate climate. Although these heating systems can work in colder regions, they can waste more energy in their attempt to meet your comfort needs.

Water Source Heat Pumps

As you can probably tell from the name, water-source heat pumps use the heat from water to warm up a home. When it comes to energy efficiency, these units tend to be pretty on par with air-source heat pumps.

Ground Source Heat Pumps

If you want to know what type of electric heater is most energy efficient, don’t overlook ground-source heat pumps. Sometimes called “geothermal” heat pumps, these systems are often referred to as the most efficient out of the bunch. These units use the heat from within the earth to heat a home.

Why are geothermal heat pumps more efficient than their air-source counterparts? The temperatures within the earth tend to remain warm, while the air outside can change constantly, going from warm to cold. The hotter the temperature, the more energy efficient the unit will be.

Although efficiency is worth considering, there are many factors that you should keep in mind as well. For example, geothermal heat pumps can even be used to create hot water.

The Efficiency of Radiators

Although you might not hear radiators referred to as the most efficient electric heating systems, these units are still worth mentioning. Ceramic radiators, for instance, use up less energy to produce heat than oil-filled radiators.

The Efficiency of Space Heaters

When learning what type of electric heater is most energy efficient, you might be wondering: where are space heaters on this list? 

Electric space heaters are energy efficient since 100% of the energy they consume is used to create heat. Some of these units even come with “eco modes” for maximum energy savings. Despite this, electric space heaters aren’t as efficient as your typical furnace or heat pump.

However, it’s important to be aware of the fact that these heating systems are not among the most convenient — nor are they the safest.

Many energy-efficient space heaters tout that they’re cool to the touch, have various heating settings and have automatic shut-off capabilities as a safety feature. Nonetheless, you can’t leave them on when you aren’t home. These heating systems can pose a fire hazard when you trip over the cord, or if the automatic shut-off safety features don’t work correctly.

Find the Right Heating System With Help From Tempo Air!

So, what type of electric heater is most energy efficient? All-in-all, you have many options when it comes to high-efficiency units. If you need help finding the best solution for your home, turn to Tempo Air!
Our team of experts can discuss electric heating systems with you. Once you find the right solution for your needs, we’ll provide you with a top-tier installation. If you’re ready to schedule a heating service in Dallas, TX, contact us today!

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