If you’d like to replace your old furnace, don’t presume that another furnace is the only option. This may be the preferred choice for most North American homes, but heat pumps are becoming increasingly popular. Still, the question remains: Is a heat pump the best choice for you? Explore several persuasive reasons to consider a heat pump, how this equipment compares to a traditional furnace and whether a heat pump is the ideal choice for your home comfort needs.
The core design between a heat pump and a traditional furnace is essentially 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 influences the equipment’s efficiency, environmental impact and versatility.
Modern condensing furnaces feature high AFUE ratings, which is understandably appealing. But an AFUE rating only illustrates the furnace’s ability to convert fuel to heat—it can’t account for the whole energy footprint involved in the extraction, refining and transportation of said fuel.
By comparison, a heat pump’s efficiency is measured by its HSPF. While it’s difficult to compare these numbers at first glance, know that heat pumps frequently offer stronger performance than furnaces.
Here’s why more and more homeowners are looking into a heat pump for their year-round heating and cooling needs.
The operating cost is the number one priority when considering a new home appliance. Furnaces are very efficient, but they max out at around 98% efficiency. On the other hand, heat pumps are capable of generating three times more heat energy than the electrical energy consumed throughout the process. In other words, heat pumps can be 300% efficient under ideal operating conditions. This cost-effective performance leads to lower utility bills.
Your household’s environmental footprint could be more modest with a heat pump. While electric furnaces are available, traditional gas-fired furnaces run on natural gas or oil, the production and distribution of which negatively impacts the planet. A heat pump operates without burning fuel, reducing your home’s environmental impact, especially if you also have solar panels to generate environmentally friendly electricity from the sun.
One of the most notable features of a heat pump is its flexibility. It’s an effective wintertime heater and doubles as your air conditioner in the summer. Thanks to a straightforward built-in switch, the heat pump reverses its operation and extracts warm air from your home, similar to a standard AC unit. This two-in-one solution appeals to many homeowners.
Heat pumps run with less noise than traditional furnaces since they don’t have to combust fuel to generate heat. No combustion means less noise, resulting in a calmer living space.
If your home is already equipped with ductwork, transitioning to a heat pump is fast and easy. The air handler goes where your furnace is currently located, and the outdoor unit replaces your air conditioner. It’s .
While heat pumps are impressive, they may not suit every situation. Heating efficiency declines in extreme cold, making heat pumps less suitable in regions with long, cold winters. That being said, advancements in cold-climate technology are making heat pumps more viable in the far north, so stay alert for models designed to work in such settings.
It’s also worth pointing out that the initial cost of purchasing a high-quality heat pump is frequently higher than a conventional furnace. However, it means you don’t have to buy an air conditioner. If both systems are noticeably less efficient, you may actually save money up front by upgrading them with a heat pump. Plus, you’ll gain back any investment cost through lower energy bills over time.
If your home doesn’t already have the required ductwork, installing it adds to your up-front costs. But furnaces need ductwork too, so this doesn’t necessarily prefer selecting a furnace over a heat pump. In fact, ductless heat pumps are available for older homes and additions where ductwork isn’t present.
Finally, a heat pump’s efficiency benefits decrease if you live in an area with exceptionally high electricity costs. You can counteract this by adding solar panels, which generate electricity from the sun to power your heat pump, light bulbs, electronics and more.
Still not sure if a heat pump is right for you? Consult Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, and our installers can help you determine if a heat pump meets your heating and cooling needs. Then, whether you opt for a heat pump or a traditional furnace, we can set up your new system above and beyond your expectations. Contact us today to ask for a free installation estimate.
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