If you’d like to replace your old furnace, don’t move forward thinking a new furnace is your only choice. This may be the go-to choice for most North American homeowners, but heat pumps are steadily growing in popularity. Still, the question remains: Is a heat pump your ideal heating system? Explore several persuasive reasons to choose a heat pump, how it is distinct from a traditional furnace and whether a heat pump is the best choice for your home comfort needs.
The core design between a heat pump and a traditional furnace is inherently different. Furnaces burn combustible substances such as natural gas, oil or propane to generate heat. On the other hand, heat pumps use electricity and refrigerant to move heat. This fundamental difference impacts the equipment’s efficiency, environmental impact and versatility.
Modern condensing furnaces have high AFUE ratings, which is certainly appealing. But an AFUE rating only illustrates the furnace’s ability to convert fuel to heat—it won’t account for the full energy footprint involved in the process of extracting, refining and transporting said fuel.
By comparison, a heat pump’s efficiency is measured by its HSPF. While it’s not easy to compare these numbers at first glance, be aware that heat pumps frequently outperform furnaces.
Here’s why more and more homeowners are considering a heat pump for their year-round heating and cooling needs.
The operating cost is one of the first things homeowners worry about when considering a new home appliance. Furnaces are very effective, but they max out at about 98% efficiency. On the other hand, heat pumps are capable of providing three times more heat energy than the electrical energy consumed in the process. In other words, heat pumps can be three times as efficient under proper operating conditions. This cost-efficient performance leads to more manageable utility bills.
Your household’s environmental footprint could be much smaller with a heat pump. While electric furnaces are available, traditional gas-fired furnaces run on natural gas or heating oil, the production and distribution of which negatively impacts the planet. A heat pump operates without burning fuel, limiting your home’s environmental impact, particularly if you also have solar panels to generate green electricity from the sun.
One of the most innovative features of a heat pump is its versatility. It’s an effective heating system in the winter and doubles as your air conditioner for the summer. Thanks to a straightforward built-in switch, the heat pump reverses its operation and pulls out warm air from your home, similar to a standard AC unit. This two-in-one solution is highly desireable to many homeowners.
Heat pumps run less noisily than traditional furnaces as they don’t have to combust fuel to generate heat. No combustion means reduced noise, resulting in a more peaceful living space.
If your home is already equipped with ductwork, transitioning to a heat pump is a fast, easy process. The air handler will end up where your furnace is currently located, and the outdoor unit replaces your air conditioner. It’s .
While heat pumps are remarkable, they may not suit every situation. Heating efficiency is much more limited in severe cold, making heat pumps less effective in regions with colder winters. That being said, advancements in cold-climate technology are making heat pumps more consistently effective in the far north, so be on the lookout for models designed to continue working in these kinds of climates.
It’s also worth pointing out that the initial cost of investing in a high-quality heat pump is frequently higher than a conventional furnace. However, it also means you won’t have to buy an air conditioner. If both systems are noticeably less efficient, you may actually save money up front by swapping them with a heat pump. Plus, you’ll recoup any investment cost through lower energy bills over time.
If your home doesn’t already have the required ductwork, adding it contributes to your up-front costs. But furnaces need ductwork too, so this doesn’t necessarily favor opting for a furnace over a heat pump. In fact, ductless heat pumps are available for older homes and additions where ductwork isn’t present.
Lastly, a heat pump’s efficiency benefits start to fall off if you live in an area with higher than average electricity costs. You can counteract this by installing solar panels, which generate electricity from the sun to power your heat pump and many other electrical systems.
Still not sure if a heat pump is ideal for you? Consult Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, and our Experts can help you determine if a heat pump suits your heating and cooling needs. Then, whether you opt for a heat pump or a traditional furnace, we can put in your new system above and beyond your expectations. Contact us today to seek a free installation estimate.
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