Each type of heating system has its pros and cons. One isn’t necessarily better than the other because it depends on the person’s needs. If you’re trying to choose between a heat pump and a furnace, we can help you make the right decision. You’ll want to consider the facts below before buying a new heating system for your home. Making the wrong choice could not only affect your indoor comfort but your energy bills, too.
Do You Have an AC?
Whether you have an existing air conditioning system setup influences your decision to install a heat pump or a furnace. If you don’t have an AC, then you may need to consider the cost of one in addition to a furnace. Heat pumps provide both heating and cooling capabilities, so one of the benefits of choosing a heat pump is you won’t need to install an AC.
A heat pump is capable of providing both because of the technology that it uses to operate. To heat your home, it gathers heat from outside and pushes it inside your home. Refrigerant within the system aids in heating or cooling the air as needed. During summer, the heat pump removes warm air from your home to cool it.
How Cold Does It Get Where You Live?
Climate plays a big role in what type of heating system you should install. In general, furnaces are better for cold climates like that of Dartmouth. This doesn’t mean that you can’t choose a heat pump, though. We have customers in the Dartmouth area who are happy with their heat pumps.
Heat pumps begin to struggle in below-freezing temperatures. They will still supply heat, but it puts more strain on the system. The colder it becomes outside, the less warmth the heat pump can draw upon. Furnaces, in contrast, create heat using a fuel source like gas or electricity in order to keep your home warm.
Older versions of heat pumps couldn’t gather heat when it dropped below freezing outside. However, their technology has improved over the years. They can still warm your home now, though it won’t be as effective or as energy efficient as a furnace.
Do you often feel cold? If you are always reaching for a sweater, a furnace is the better choice for you because it delivers more powerful heat. If you are always warm, then you may find that a heat pump works for you.
Noise is another factor that you must consider when it comes to determining which type of system you’ll find more comfortable. Some people don’t like the sound of a heating system running and will want to find the quietest model possible. Furnaces are quieter than heat pumps, so you may want to choose a furnace if quiet operation is a must-have.
Evaluating the energy efficiency of heating systems isn’t as straightforward as checking the numbers. You must take fuel prices where you live into consideration. Based on specs alone, electric furnaces are more energy efficient than gas furnaces, but in areas where natural gas is cheap, a gas furnace would heat your home more efficiently because of the high cost of electricity.
You’ll find energy-efficient options for both heat pumps and furnaces in Dartmouth, although gas furnaces will likely produce the lowest heating bills. For those who live in a warm climate like that found in Florida, a heat pump is more energy efficient.
Heat pumps have an energy efficiency of 300% under ideal conditions, which are essentially warm to moderate outdoor temperatures. As the ideal conditions decrease, the energy efficiency also goes down. Furnaces are much more efficient today than they were a decade ago. You can find gas furnaces with an efficiency as high as 95%. Thus, the energy efficiency of the two systems isn’t such a major difference in Dartmouth.
Is the System Immediately Compatible With Your Home?
The structure of your home influences what type of heating systems are most affordable for you. Furnaces often require a gas supply, so you’ll need to consider the cost of installing a gas supply if you don’t already have one. Heat pumps require ductwork. If the existing ductwork needs repairs, then that increases the cost of installing a heat pump.
We can provide an estimate on how much each type of system will cost you after an assessment of your home. It’s helpful to know what’s compatible with your home and what improvements, if any, are needed in order for the heating system to work correctly. An incompatible system may cause problems like inadequate heating and excessive energy use.
Furnaces have longer life spans than heat pumps, but remember that heat pumps are a two-in-one system. Heat pumps will need to be replaced every 10–15 years, assuming that they are maintained well. You need to schedule maintenance for heat pumps twice a year. Because furnaces only provide heating, they need maintenance only once a year.
How long a furnace lasts depends on what type it is. Gas furnaces have a life span of 15–20 years. Electric furnaces last 20–30 years. Remember to take the cost of installation into consideration based on the expected life span, too. The most affordable option isn’t always apparent when it comes to heating systems.
Because furnaces generate their own heat, they require a certain amount of clearance around all sides of them. This means a furnace installation will take up more space. Heat pumps have an outdoor condenser that does need clearance around all sides, too, but the air handler that is installed indoors doesn’t require as much space. Some heat pump air handlers can be installed high up on the wall to avoid taking up floor space.
Heat pumps are often praised for being energy-efficient systems, but you may find that it’s not as energy efficient as you thought because of the cold climate in Dartmouth. In a moderate to warm climate, the energy savings of heat pumps are better. However, there are energy-efficient models available, and they can still make great systems for Dartmouth homeowners. If you prefer a cooler indoor temperature, then this difference between heat pumps and furnaces might not matter to you.
The cost of each system with everything taken into consideration is about the same unless your home isn’t equipped for one or both of the systems. For a more accurate answer on which system is cheaper for you, you’ll need to request an estimate from a heating installation company.
Shines Energy is a locally owned and operated heating and cooling company in Dartmouth. We have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. When you choose us, you can rest assured we’re the ones working on your system; we don’t hire subcontractors. Our company is a Lennox Premier Dealer and can work on all brands of heating systems. In addition to heating and cooling installations, we offer repair and maintenance of heating and cooling systems. Other services that we provide include indoor air quality assessments, HVAC zoning and air purification. Contact Shines Energy for more information.