If your household is ready for a new heating system, you’ll have to decide which type of appliance you want to go with. Furnaces and heat pumps both have pros and cons associated with them and deciding which is the right one for you comes down to a number of factors. The climate you live in, the size of your home, and the budget you’re working with all come into play when deciding between the different types of heaters. The appliance that you choose is likely to be with you for the next 10 to 15 years, so it isn’t a decision that you want to take lightly. By learning the key differences between your options, you’ll be better equipped to make an informed decision.
Generating Heat vs Transferring Heat
Heat pumps and furnaces are very different, and those differences start with the method they use of warming up your home. With a gas-burning furnace, the heat that you receive is created by a process of continuous combustion happening within the appliance. Electric furnaces also generate heat, except that they do it using a different method. These furnaces blow air over a heated element, which warms the air up before it’s circulated throughout your household.
Heat pumps, however, operate under a completely different thermodynamic principle. This kind of heating system comes with pressurized refrigerant coils that are set up outside of your home. These coils absorb heat from the outdoors, and then the heat pump pushes that heat to the different parts of your home.
Because of the way that they work, heat pumps are typically not the best choice for people living in an especially cold area. Although they are able to transfer heat from outside regardless of the temperature, doing so during extremely cold weather puts far more strain on the system. This results in higher energy costs as well as much more wear and tear on the pump.
The exception to this is a special type of pump called a geothermal heat pump. With these specialized pumps, the refrigerant coils are below ground as opposed to above it. Because the temperature is much more stable below the soil, the pump’s operation isn’t affected by cold weather. Keep in mind that having one of these geothermal pumps installed can cost up to five times as much as a typical heating system.
Heat Pumps in the Summer
One unique benefit to having a heat pump is that it can essentially double as an air conditioner. By reversing the pressure and flow of their refrigerant coils, heat pumps are able to cool you down when the weather heats up. As a result, you won’t have any need to spend money on a completely separate air conditioning unit, which will also save you some space inside your home.
Furnaces Make Less Noise
When everything’s working properly with a furnace, it typically will make almost no noise. There may be a soft whooshing of air, but usually, the furnace will be tucked away out of earshot in your basement or utility room anyway. Heat pumps, on the other hand, are pretty noisy, even when they’re running smoothly. The powering on and off of the pump’s compressor tends to cause regular clicking and knocking sounds, which can be bothersome for homeowners who prefer a quiet house.
Heat Pumps Cost Less to Operate
Most of the time, generating heat is going to use up quite a bit more energy than transferring it from the outside will. For this reason, furnaces will usually cost quite a bit more to keep running than heat pumps. There are many variables that should be accounted for, but on average, a propane-burning furnace will cost nearly three times more in energy costs than a heat pump will.
Furnaces that use natural gas or electricity won’t cost as much as those that use propane, but they’re still quite a bit more costly to operate than a heat pump. Typically, a heat pump will be a better choice for homeowners on a strict budget, especially if they live in a moderate or warm climate.
For anyone looking for quality heating and cooling services in the Festus, MO, area, we at Bone Heating & Cooling can always be counted on for reliable service. We have been proudly serving the area since 1978, and we also offer services concerning indoor air quality, sheet metal fabrication, new construction, and water heaters. Contact us at Bone Heating & Cooling today for more information on our services.