When you’re ready 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 right fit for everyone? Explore several convincing reasons to choose a heat pump, how this equipment compares to a traditional furnace and whether a heat pump is the most efficient choice for your home comfort needs.
The core design between a heat pump and a traditional furnace is fundamentally different. Furnaces burn fuel—including 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 feature high annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratings, which is certainly appealing. But this only measures the furnace’s ability to convert fuel to heat—it won’t account for the whole energy footprint involved in the process of extracting, refining and transporting the fuel.
By comparison, a heat pump’s efficiency is measured by its HSPF. While it’s difficult to compare these numbers at first glance, understand that heat pumps typically offer stronger performance than 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 the number one priority when deciding on a new home appliance. Furnaces are very efficient, but they max out at approximately 98% efficiency. On the other hand, heat pumps are capable of providing three times the heat energy than the electrical energy consumed during the process. In other words, heat pumps can be 300% efficient under the best operating conditions. This cost-effective performance leads to more manageable utility bills.
Your household’s environmental footprint could be more reduced with a heat pump. While electric furnaces exist, traditional gas-fired furnaces run on combustible natural gas or heating oil, the production and distribution of which negatively impacts the planet. A heat pump operates without burning fuel, shrinking your home’s environmental impact, particularly if you also have solar panels to produce green electricity from the sun.
One of the most impressive features of a heat pump is its versatility. It’s an effective wintertime heater and doubles as your air conditioner in the summer. Thanks to a simple 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 with less noise than traditional furnaces since they don’t have to burn fuel to generate heat. No combustion means less noise, resulting in a quieter living space.
If your home has existing ductwork, transitioning to a heat pump is fast and easy. The air handler will end up where your furnace is currently located, and the outdoor unit replaces your air conditioner. It’s as simple as that.
While heat pumps are impressive, they may not suit every situation. Heating efficiency is much more limited in severe cold, making heat pumps less effective in regions with harsh winters. However, advancements in cold-climate technology are making heat pumps more consistently effective in the far north, so stay alert for models designed to work in such settings.
It’s also worth mentioning that the initial cost of buying a high-quality heat pump is generally higher than a forced-air furnace. However, it means you don’t have to purchase an air conditioner. If both systems are starting to show their age, you may actually save money up front by upgrading them with a heat pump. Plus, you’ll recover any investment cost through lower energy bills over time.
If your home lacks the required ductwork, adding it contributes to your up-front costs. But furnaces need ductwork too, so this doesn’t necessarily lean toward choosing 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 start to fall off if you live in an area with higher than average electricity costs. You can mitigate 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 professionals can help you decide if a heat pump matches 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.
Are you searching for a new heating and cooling system? A high-efficiency heat pump could be precisely what you need. Most people know less about heat pumps than they do about furnaces or air conditioners, but modern heat pumps models can split your heating costs in half. They also provide cooling... Continue reading
It can be quite frustrating when your heat pump’s not cooling or refuses to switch into heating mode. Fortunately, there are techniques to find the cause of the problem and maybe even resolve the issue on your own. While challenging problems are best left to Experts like the team at Service... Continue reading
If you’re shopping for a new home comfort system, odds are you’ve heard about the efficient, cost-effective and eco-friendly features of heat pumps. These systems have been sought after in warm climates for decades. But considering they absorb heat from the outdoor air and transfer it... Continue reading
© 2023 Service Experts, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, and the Service Experts logo and design are registered trademarks of Service Experts LLC and used under license by SE Canada Inc. All Rights Reserved. *Not applicable to the Advantage Program. See your signed Advantage Program Agreement for full details and exclusions. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is subject to certain restrictions and limitations as set forth in the applicable Terms and Conditions.