Informational Guide

Does Air Conditioning Use Gas Or Electricity? (All Types)

HVAC systems consist of a large part of most utility bills. We explain which parts use gas and which use electricity.

by Josh M

Running your HVAC unit makes up a large portion of your utility bill, making people wonder, “Is HVAC gas or electric?” That leads to follow-up questions, like “Is AC gas or electric?” AC alone is electric, but your entire HVAC system generally uses both.

Read on for the explanation.

Does AC use gas? The simple answer is no, but there are some details to help you understand the nuance of this question. When you look at your electricity and gas charges, you might want to know, “Is central air gas or electric?”

Does central air use gas? Typically no—AC doesn’t often use gas. Instead, air conditioning units work by using electricity to cool the air. Then they pump it through the ducts in your home. Because electric furnaces now have pilot lights, as gas furnaces do, you might have to check the unit’s manual or contact an HVAC professional to find out for sure if your heating unit is gas or electric.

Does AC use electricity? Yes, as mentioned above, most air conditioners use electricity rather than gas to run.

People who own older homes might not have space for ductwork, which eliminates a central AC unit as an option. In the past, window units were the only available alternative, but new AC brands are more energy-efficient and affordable.

Looking for answers to “Is air conditioning electric?” leads you to mini-split systems. They are all-electric, ductless options you can install in each room. Since you can control the temperature in each room individually, mini-split systems are the most cost-effective choice.

Ductless Mini Split Air Conditioning System on a Beige Wall

Does HVAC Use Gas?

Many HVAC systems use gas, but they don’t run completely on gas. The condenser still needs electricity because only the furnace functions purely on gas.

The term “HVAC” stands for heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, referring to the entire unit. AC alone refers to air conditioning. Therefore, your HVAC system does use gas, but not only gas. The AC portion relies on electricity, while the furnace, or heating unit, needs gas.

Your AC unit uses a refrigerant to keep the air cool. In older models, this was freon gas, but environmental concerns pushed manufacturers to switch to HC-600a.

Electric heat pumps are great solutions for older homes that don’t have gas lines or use propane, which can get expensive to purchase.

How Do Gas HVAC Systems Work?

When you’re researching the question, “Does the house AC use gas?” you’ll find that gas systems are very straightforward. Burning gas produces heat inside of the furnace, which then funnels through the heat exchanger. The blower pushes the heated air through the ductwork, heating the house.

However, it’s very rare to see an HVAC that runs completely on gas. They almost always are powered by electricity. That doesn’t mean you can’t convert your HVAC system to become gas-powered, but it will take some modification. You’ll either have to install the gas meter yourself or hire a technician to do it for you.

Even if you’re familiar with the installation process, it may be easiest to hire someone as they’ll likely do all the paperwork and acquire the necessary permits for you. They can also remove the tank if you were using oil or propane previously.

Two HVAC AC Units

Switching Systems In HVAC Units – Can It Work?

People who are wondering, “Is AC electric or gas?” might want to switch their systems. You can switch systems in HVAC units because most use a combination of gas and electricity already. Both options use the same equipment: a condenser, a furnace, and ductwork.

Electricity To Gas

Using gas for your furnace will keep your utility bills lower in the winter. It’s also better able to heat your home even with the colder outside temperatures. Does AC run on gas? No, but you can switch the majority of your system to use gas and lower your bills.

Gas To Electricity

It’s entirely possible to switch from gas to electricity, and depending on your climate, it may even save you money in the long term. If you add solar panels to your property to generate some or all of the electricity you need, you’ll be saving money and the environment.

People Also Ask (FAQ)

Can AC work without a furnace?

Yes, the AC unit is independent of the furnace, so you can run the AC without the furnace. You can also replace the AC unit without having to upgrade your furnace, though it’s not recommended if your furnace is more than 15 years old. Anyone who wants to know, “Is central air gas or electric?” will appreciate that it’s electric and runs without a gas furnace.

How many months does HVAC gas last?

You need to refill gas-based furnaces as they run throughout the winter. The average use is three gallons of gas per day, which adds up to about 100 gallons per month during the coldest months. The refill frequency depends on the capacity of your unit as well.

How much does it cost per year to use gas on HVAC?

Heating costs vary according to the price of gas in your location. EnergyStar breaks down utility bills to show the percentage of costs, and heating is always the largest amount, which uses gas.

Conclusion

If you’ve wondered, “Is my air conditioner gas or electric?” then you know how you can find the answer. For those people who want to switch their unit from gas to electric, or vice versa, that’s possible. You should inspect your utility bill to see what option is most cost-effective for your home.

Last Updated on May 26, 2022

Josh M

My name is Josh and I am obsessed with the HVAC industry. I created this website to help HVAC techs of all levels get the best out of their heating & cooling systems. I have spent thousands of hours studying air conditioners, heaters and home air products so you can learn & buy with confidence. Learn more about the team here.

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