Need a New Heating System? Consider a Heat Pump

If it’s time to replace your old furnace, don’t move forward thinking a new furnace is the only option. This may be the default choice for most North American homeowners, but heat pumps are steadily growing in popularity. Still, the question remains: Is a heat pump the best choice for you? Explore several persuasive reasons to consider a heat pump, how it differs from a traditional furnace and whether a heat pump is the ideal choice for your home comfort needs.

How Are Heat Pumps Different Than Furnaces?

The underlying technology between a heat pump and a traditional furnace is inherently different. Furnaces burn combustible materials like natural gas, oil or propane to generate heat. On the other hand, heat pumps use electricity and refrigerant to move heat. This key difference affects the equipment’s efficiency, environmental impact and versatility.

Modern condensing furnaces feature high annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratings, which is certainly appealing. But an AFUE rating only relates to the furnace’s ability to convert fuel to heat—it can’t account for the full energy footprint involved in 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, be aware that heat pumps frequently outperform furnaces.

Top Reasons to Install a Heat Pump

Here’s why more and more homeowners are looking into a heat pump for their year-round heating and cooling needs.

1. Lower Energy Bills

The operating cost is the first thing that comes to mind when contemplating 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 moving three times the heat energy than the electrical energy consumed throughout the process. In other words, heat pumps can be 300% efficient under proper operating conditions. This cost-efficient performance leads to lower utility bills.

2. Eco-Friendly Heating

Your household’s environmental footprint could be more reduced with a heat pump. While electric furnaces exist, traditional gas-fired furnaces run on natural gas or heating oil, the production and distribution of which has a detrimental effect on the planet. A heat pump operates without burning fuel, reducing your home’s environmental impact, particularly if you also have solar panels to generate environmentally friendly electricity from the sun.

3. Heating and Cooling Capabilities

One of the most innovative features of a heat pump is its flexibility. It’s an effective wintertime heater and doubles as your air conditioner for the summer. Thanks to a straightforward built-in switch, the heat pump changes its operation and extracts warm air from your home, similar to a standard AC unit. This two-in-one solution appeals to many homeowners.

4. Quiet Operation

Heat pumps operate less noisily than traditional furnaces because they don’t have to combust fuel to generate heat. No combustion means reduced noise, resulting in a more peaceful living space.

5. Easy Transition

If your home has existing ductwork, transitioning to a heat pump is a fast, easy process. The air handler goes where your furnace is currently located, and the outdoor unit replaces your air conditioner. It’s just that easy.

Are Heat Pumps Right for Everyone?

While heat pumps are innovative and energy efficient, they may not suit every situation. Heating efficiency declines in severe cold, making heat pumps less suitable in regions with harsh winters. That being said, advancements in cold-climate technology are making heat pumps more viable in the far north, so be on the lookout for models designed to continue working in these kinds of climates.

It’s also worth mentioning that the up-front cost of investing in a high-quality heat pump is often higher than a conventional furnace. However, it also means you won’t have to buy an air conditioner. If both systems are getting older, you may actually save money up front by replacing them with a heat pump. Plus, you’ll recover any investment cost through lower energy bills over time.

If your home is missing the required ductwork, installing it contributes to your up-front costs. But furnaces need ductwork too, so this doesn’t necessarily lean toward 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 decrease if you live in an area with exceptionally high electricity costs. You can counteract this by installing solar panels, which generate electricity from the sun to power your heat pump, light bulbs, electronics and more.

Choose Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing

Still not sure if a heat pump is the right choice for you? Consult Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, and our professionals can help you figure out if a heat pump meets your heating and cooling needs. Then, whether you opt for a heat pump or a traditional furnace, we can install your new system above and beyond your expectations. Contact us today to ask for a free installation estimate.

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