The heat pump vs furnace question is not as subjective as others; Sure, preference has a say in every decision we make for our homes, but when talking about HVAC systems there are other things to keep in mind. Climate area, fuel availability, and costs determine the feasibility of a furnace vs heat pump system. Here are the most important facts everyone needs to know before deciding which acclimatization system is the right one for them:
Here is some ground info to get you started into the whole heat pump / furnace discussion:
Heat pumps are reversible acclimatization systems that can cool and warm an inside space efficiently. During the summer months, a heat pump will extract the heat from your house and eliminate it outside. There are two types of heat pumps based on their fueling system: Electric and gas. There are three types of heat pumps based on where they collect the heat from in the winter months:
Furnaces are only able to provide warmth, but they have no restrictions when it comes to outside temperatures. They use a variety of fuels like methane (natural gas), propane, etc. There are 4 types of residential furnaces, based on the principle behind them and their efficiency:
Modern residential furnaces can also be classified into one of the following 3 categories:
Although furnaces can use a multitude of fuels and resources to heat up your home, the gas furnace vs heat pump debate mainly refers to gas furnaces. They can either have a large tank that is to be refilled yearly or whenever needed, or be connected to the residential gas distribution system and be billed monthly.
Now that we know how the two systems work and which are their most important characteristics, let’s see how these pros and cons influence some important criteria everyone needs to keep in mind.
Here is a breakdown of the info we discussed in this article, which will hopefully make it easier to find the best acclimatization system(s) for your home:
The electric heat pump definitely wins this round, given that no combustion takes place inside your home. other than the refrigerant, no fumes can escape from a heat pump. They are also environmentally-friendly.
Operating costs generally tip the balance in favor of heat pumps for warmer areas. Installation costs are similar, but we need to take into account the fact that heat pumps can also cool off a house. If you choose to go with the furnace, you might also need an air conditioner for those hot summer months.
New gas furnaces can be up to 98% efficient – which is an impressive rate. However, a heat pump can be as much as 300% efficient if outside temperatures don’t drop too low. This is possible because heat pumps do not use fuel to heat up or cool off your home, but amplify the heat that is already present in the outside air, water, or ground.
In the heat pump vs furnace debate on efficiency, heat pumps win if talking about hotter climates or mild ones with few extremely cold days. Otherwise, a furnace will be the right choice. It is important to note that heat pumps register their highest efficiency rates when warming up the house.
Furnaces are more reliable for heating since they work well at any outside temperature. However, some heat pumps also incorporate an electric backup system for when temperatures drop below 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat pumps offer comfort all year around in areas with mild winters.
Gas furnaces have an average lifespan of about 15 years. Heat pumps generally have shorter lifespans since they are used twice as much as furnaces. This can also increase yearly maintenance costs to considerable amounts. However, if the capacity of the heat pump accurately matches the space it needs to acclimatize, these costs are drastically reduced.
Both systems can be easily operated and have multiple safety mechanisms; Nevertheless, furnaces should never, ever be operated by children.
The heat pump vs gas furnace debate is only controversial for areas where temperatures rarely drop below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. In the heat pump vs electric furnace debate, the heat pump will always prevail as the most efficient. If you live in the Southern part of the U.S. or on one of the coasts, a heat pump might be the best investment if you did not just replace your air conditioner.
Having a heat pump and an air conditioner is redundant and will drastically increase the energy costs, since air conditioners and heat pumps (when cooling the air) are big consumers. unlike ACs, however, heat pumps make up for these losses during the winter months.
All in all, a furnace is a good choice for those who do not need to cool off their homes or already have an air conditioner installed. They are highly functioning no matter the outside temperature and provide warmth and comfort throughout cold months. Heat pumps are great for areas with gentler winters and extreme summer temperatures.