Heat pumps or furnaces? Which is better? That depends. Are you thinking about replacing your old furnace with a more energy-efficient system? Are you looking to save money? While researching your options, you’ve probably come across a lot of articles about heat pumps vs. furnaces. What’s the difference? What’s the better choice? Let’s break down the differences between a heat pump and a furnace and what heating system our AirWorks Solutions Mom-Approved System Designers think would be best for your home!
What is the Difference Between a Heat Pump and a Furnace?
Heat pumps and furnaces are the most common type of heating systems you’ll find in most U.S. homes. If your home is older, you most likely have an electric or gas furnace in place. If you find that your current heating system is on its last legs and repair requests are becoming frequent, you might be due for a replacement. Deciding what kind of heater to have installed is a tough choice if you don’t know the differences between your options. As your Mom-Approved heating experts, we can guide you through the pros and cons before you make a decision. Class is in session!
What is a Heat Pump?
First, let’s tackle heat pumps. A heat pump is an alternative to a traditional furnace that moves warm air from one area to another by compressing and expanding. In the wintertime, a heat pump will take cold air from outside, filter it inside, and turn it into warm air. During the summer, your heat pump will do the reverse. Despite being called a heat pump, it can actually produce cool air when the temperature outside is hot!
Heat pumps work on electricity. Instead of producing its own heating and cooling, the system transfers it from the air outside. Because of this, heat pumps are usually more energy-efficient. Energy efficiency is always a plus because not only does it save the environment a little at a time, but it can save you money long term!
If you’re still unsure about heat pumps, you may be surprised to know that they’re becoming more and more commonplace throughout the United States. If you want more information, you can always ask one of our Mom-Approved AirWorks Solutions System Designers or see if you know anyone that has a heat pump now!
Cons of Owning a Heat Pump
One con of having a heat pump is that this system needs to go into “emergency power mode” in order to keep working after temperatures drop below freezing. If this keeps happening, it may be a good idea to have a backup heating system so your home can stay warm continuously. If you live somewhere where this happens, like the Midwest, a natural gas system may be a better option as your home’s main heating source. However, here in Southern California, the average low temperature is about 46 degrees, so our community doesn’t run into this issue.
What is a Furnace?
To put it simply, a furnace is an integral part of your home’s HVAC system that warms each room when set to heat. Furnaces are the traditional default heating system you’ll find in most homes, especially if they’re older. The thermostat is directly connected to the furnace so you can quickly adjust the temperature or turn it on and off. Furnaces can operate on natural gas or electricity in order to transport warm air throughout your ductwork and into each room.
An electric furnace produces a current of air and uses it to move heat throughout your home. Electric furnaces tend to be small in size, so installation is simpler than others. A natural gas furnace uses heated gas jets to move through a burner, which then heats the surrounding air circulating throughout your home. We find that they are a more energy-efficient heating system when it comes to furnaces.
Another great thing about furnaces is that they are less vulnerable to damage than a heat pump. Furnaces, by far, have more longevity, and when properly cared for and maintained, your furnace can have a lifespan of 15 to 30 years! Furnaces don’t get used year-round, unlike some heat pumps.
Cons of Owning a Furnace
Furnaces, by far, are less efficient. Heat pumps can actually produce more heat than necessary. A furnace pales in comparison when it comes to the energy efficiency of the heat pump. Furnaces require more energy in order to heat your home, making in a far less green solution. The more energy used to produce power means more money out of your pocket long-term. The furnace system may be reliable, but as far as energy consumption goes, it’s living in the past.
A furnace doesn’t require indoor and outdoor components but rather, it has a central unit and ductwork that make the system work. However, furnace units do require about 30 inches of space around the system, so if your home isn’t accommodating of a traditional furnace, you may need to seek other options.
Heat Pump vs Furnace?
In the end, you may have to decide between energy efficiency and longevity. It’s kind of like comparing dogs and cats. Heat pumps require more maintenance and attention, and their lifetime is shorter, while furnaces don’t require as much maintenance during their life and will last longer. Heat pumps are more energy conscious and can save you money, but they do require more attention. Furnaces can operate pretty independently without much attention but when they do operate, they need more power.
Furnaces are the traditional heating system for a family-sized home. Furnaces are reliable and can produce enough heat to keep you and your loved ones comfortable even when the temperature outside is freezing. Did you know that gas furnaces (as well as oil and propane furnaces) can last through a power outage should you need it? They require more power to produce heat, but they can last much longer. If you’re looking for less work on your end then a system that will last longer, like a trusted furnace, might be for you.
Heat pumps are overall more energy efficient, can operate as a heating and cooling system in one, and can save you money long term. The downside is that heat pumps don’t last nearly as long, even if they are more efficient. They also require indoor and outdoor components in order to work. If you’re looking for efficiency in performance and are willing to try something new, even if it needs more attention, a heat pump may be the best choice for you!
Choose AirWorks Solutions to Install your Heat Pump or Furnace!
Whether you’re voting for Team Furnace or Team Heat Pump, our Mom-Approved technicians at AirWorks Solutions can go over your budget and present you with all your options before making a final decision! We’re the homegrown, family-owned, and Mom-Approved HVAC leaders here in Camarillo, CA. We value honesty, integrity, value, and our relationships with our customers. We’ve been providing great service to our community for about ten years now, and our customers know they can rely on us for their HVAC needs for life!
Our Mom-Approved technicians are consistently learning and adjusting to the ever-growing HVAC industry with new technology and techniques. We’ve received hundreds of positive reviews and are NATE certified. Additionally, we’re proud to say we’re a Rheem Pro Partner. AirWorks Solutions is a Fujitsu Elite Contractor, but we also provide Bosch Heat Pumps, Nest Thermostats, and Energy Star. We believe in the power of great work, customer satisfaction, and above all, that ever-important Mom-Approval!
If you need help deciding on a new heating system, require repairs, or need a tune-up, call our team at AirWorks Solutions today!