Your home heating system is a very important element to help keep your family comfortable, healthy and happy all year round and choosing which system to get and install is just as important. However, having to make a decision on what is best for your home, much more for the family, is always a tough call. So, we noted down each of the benefits and drawbacks of each heating system to help you come up with a right and informed decision on what to purchase based on your specific preferences and the needs of your home.
Furnaces and heat pumps both effectively work to heat your home but in very different ways. So, let’s first get to know what a furnace or a heat pump is before we dig deep into their features and usage.
What is a Furnace?
In simple terms, a furnace burns fuel that’s either gas or oil and distributes it throughout the house.
- Lower Price
Furnaces, depending on the size and features, generally cost around $500 to $1000 which is less than the price of a heat pump. But this is only for the initial product price and does not include installation and ductwork which can even be more costly than installing heat pumps.
- Cozy heat
Furnaces produce hotter air that better warms a home, especially in colder Winters.
- Longer Lifespan
Heat pumps last for 14-15 years on average, while furnaces’ average lifespan is approximately 15-20 years.
- Less maintenance
Since furnaces are only used a few months every year when need be, it also requires less maintenance compared to heat pumps that are used all year long.
In most cases, an operational furnace just needs to be tuned-up annually before Winter. In a different blog, we discussed the importance of furnace tune-ups and how to do-it-yourself.
On account of mechanical parts, a furnace has fewer parts than a heat pump which means less chance of a component breakdown and equipment malfunction.
- Poor Indoor Air Quality
Furnaces tend to generate dry air especially during Winter which can cause serious potential health hazards and damage to your home and furniture. Aside from that, furnaces produce Carbon Monoxide as a natural byproduct of gas combustion which can result in dirtier indoor air.
Thus, it is beneficial to accompany a furnace unit with a home humidifier. Check out our wide selection of high-quality humidifiers to make your home extra comfortable.
- High Energy Usage and Fuel Cost
Even today’s modern and energy-efficient furnaces still use considerably more energy than heat pumps. Also, you can be looking at thousands of dollars a year on fuel costs alone.
What is a Heat Pump?
A heat pump, on the other hand, does not use fuel. Instead, it uses the heat from the outside air and distributes it to your home during winter and removes hot indoor air during summer to create a cool indoor environment. Thus, a heat pump is a flexible product that works both as a heater and an air conditioner.
Heat Pump Pros
- High Energy Efficiency
Unlike furnaces, heat pumps do not make heat but only simply move hot outside air to inside the home. In fact, heat pumps can transfer 300 percent more energy than it consumes, compared to highly efficient furnaces with 90 percent efficiency.
Also, heat pumps work as both a heater and air conditioner making it a more efficient choice on places with moderate climates.
- Better Air Quality & Safer To Use
Contrary to the hot dry air produced by furnaces, heat pumps circulate naturally humid air.
Also, there’s no carbon monoxide (CO) leakage or poisoning concern to worry about nor the uneasiness of CO production every time your furnace is operating. Moreover, in case of a furnace gas leak, there could be damaging explosion and fire.
- Lower Installation Cost
Heat pumps are relatively easier and less costly to install than furnaces. Furnaces require an extensive ventilation system to exhaust its gaseous by-products which can be very costly for houses not yet equipped with such system. Also, furnaces tend to cost more in the long run due to fuel cost and consumption.
- Lower Operating Cost
Electricity rates cost relatively lower than natural gas, meaning it costs less to operate a heat pump system than a furnace. And in the long run, you can save substantially on energy and fuel consumption making its large investment price cost less over time.
- Quiet Operation
Heat pumps do not make as much noise as furnaces.
Heat Pump Cons
- Cooler Air
Don’t get us wrong, heat pumps produce warm air but it’s not as toasty as the hot air generated by furnaces. Thus, heat pumps are not ideal for places with freezing Winters where the temperature falls below 40 degrees Fahrenheit because by then, it becomes harder for a heat pump to extract heat from outside to make your home considerably warm and comfortable.
Where you live matters, if you live somewhere with moderate climates and mild Winters, heat pumps are perfect for your home. If you Winters are just below freezing, you need a furnace without a doubt. The biggest pro of a furnace is that it will heat your home in any condition, regardless of the outside temperature.
Heat Pump – Average Winter Temperature > 40 Degrees Fahrenheit
Furnace – Average Winter Temperature < 40 Degrees Fahrenheit
Also, check the availability of natural gas in your area since it mostly depends on the infrastructure of your place. It would not be possible to purchase a furnace where there might be no gas available in your area. In case this happens and you live somewhere with harsh Winters, you can use a heat pump that has a hybridized approach in which an electrical strip heat source is incorporated for use if it is already too hard for the heat pump to extract hot outside air.
At the end of the day, go with whichever unit works best for your home and family’s needs. What your neighbour uses or what works for them may not necessarily be what is best for you. In addition, changing an existing unit and switching to a different heating system can be beneficial for you in the long run. We have laid the cards for you, now you’re equipped to make the smart choice.
At ACEHVACPARTS, we provide a comprehensive list of various types of furnaces and heat pumps so you can choose what best suits your needs in achieving and maintaining comfort. Browse our website to see all of our heating equipment, and HVAC parts and supplies for any of your heating application needs or requirements.
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