Electricity vs. Gas for AC: Pros and Cons Decoded

Ever wondered what powers your trusty AC unit on scorching summer days? It’s a common conundrum that many face. Picture this: you’re sweating buckets, flipping the switch, but are left pondering whether it’s electricity or gas that fuels your cooling oasis. The answer might surprise you, but fear not – we’ve got you covered!

Understanding how AC works

Have you ever wondered how your AC unit works? Let’s break it down for you:

  • Your AC unit uses electricity to operate.
  • The electricity powers the compressor, which pumps refrigerant through the system.
  • As the refrigerant moves, it absorbs heat from inside your home and releases it outside.
  • This process continues until the desired temperature is reached.

Fun Fact: According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating and cooling your home typically make up about 48% of your energy bill annually.

Electricity usage in AC units

When it comes to cooling your space, AC units primarily use electricity. This electricity powers the various components of the unit to efficiently cool the air inside your home. Here’s a breakdown of how electricity is utilized in your AC system:

  • Compressor: This crucial component is powered by electricity to pressurize the refrigerant, creating a cycle that absorbs and releases heat.
  • Blower: Responsible for circulating the cool air, the blower motor runs on electricity, pushing the freshly cooled air into your living areas.
  • Thermostat: Connected to your AC system, the thermostat operates on electricity to monitor and regulate the temperature in your home.
  • Fan: The outdoor fan, which expels the absorbed heat outside, is also powered by electricity to aid in the cooling process.
  • Overall Consumption: AC units run on electricity from the moment you switch them on until they reach the desired temperature, making them significant consumers of electricity.

Understanding the role of electricity in your AC unit’s operation can help you appreciate the energy consumption involved in keeping your living space comfortably cool.

Gas-powered AC units

So, you might wonder, do AC units ever run on gas instead of electricity? The answer is yes, they do, but it’s quite rare. Below, we’ll delve into Gas-powered AC units to give you a better understanding of how they work.

  • Gas-powered AC units are mainly used in commercial settings and older residential properties.
  • These units typically operate using natural gas as a fuel source, which can be more cost-effective than electricity.
  • Instead of using electricity to power the compressor and other components, Gas-powered AC units rely on combustion to cool the air.

You’re probably wondering about the efficiency of gas-powered AC units compared to their electric counterparts. Let’s break it down:

Gas-Powered AC Units vs. Electric AC Units
Gas-powered units are generally more energy-efficient since they use gas combustion.
The initial installation cost of gas-powered units can be higher, but they can lead to long-term savings on energy bills.

Understanding the differences between gas and electric AC units can help you make an informed decision when it comes to cooling your space.

Remember, maintenance for gas-powered units may differ from electric ones, so always consult with a professional for the best advice.

Pros and cons of electricity vs. gas for AC

When comparing electricity and gas as power sources for your AC unit, it’s important to consider the advantages and disadvantages of each option to make an informed decision.

Electricity for AC


  • Widely Available: Electrical power is accessible in most areas, making it a convenient choice for many homeowners.
  • Ease of Use: Electric AC units are simple to operate and require minimal maintenance compared to gas-powered systems.
  • No Emissions: Using electricity produces no direct emissions, which can be more environmentally friendly.


  • Higher Running Costs: Electric AC units typically result in higher energy bills, especially during peak usage months.
  • Dependence on the Grid: Any power outages in your area can affect the cooling capabilities of an electric AC unit.

Gas for AC


  • Cost-Effective: Gas-powered AC units can be more cost-effective in the long run, offering potential savings on energy bills.
  • Efficiency: Gas units tend to provide efficient cooling using natural gas, which can lead to lower operating costs.
  • Works During Outages: With a gas-powered system, you can still enjoy cool air even if there are electricity outages in your area.
  • Limited Availability: Gas lines may not be accessible in all areas, limiting the feasibility of gas-powered AC for some homeowners.
  • Higher Installation Costs: Gas AC units may have higher initial installation costs compared to electric units.

Considering these pros and cons can help you determine whether electricity or gas is the better option for your AC cooling needs.


You now have a clearer understanding of the differences between electricity and gas as power sources for AC units. Electric units offer convenience and eco-friendliness, while gas units provide cost-effectiveness and reliability during power outages. Consider your priorities and local availability when choosing between the two options for your cooling needs. Make an informed decision that aligns with your preferences and budget.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are electric AC units more eco-friendly than gas-powered ones?

Yes, electric AC units are considered more eco-friendly due to their lower carbon emissions and lack of combustion byproducts compared to gas-powered units.

2. Do gas-powered AC units save more on running costs?

Gas-powered AC units are generally more cost-effective to run compared to electric ones, as gas is often cheaper than electricity in many regions.

3. Can electric AC units work during power outages?

Electric AC units rely on the grid for power, so they may not function during power outages unless supported by a backup generator.

4. Are gas-powered AC units widely available?

Gas-powered AC units may have limited availability in some areas compared to electric units, so it’s essential to check local suppliers.

5. Which type of AC unit has higher installation costs?

Gas-powered AC units typically have higher installation costs due to additional requirements like gas lines and ventilation systems.

Charlie Thomson is Appliance Mastery's expert on laundry appliances. With a degree in mechanical engineering and over 8 years of experience in the appliance repair industry, Charlie is a go-to resource for homeowners who want to tackle common issues with their washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers.

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