Need a New Heating System? Consider a Heat Pump

When you’re ready to replace your old furnace, don’t assume that a new furnace is your only choice. This may be the default choice for most North American homes, but heat pumps are steadily growing in popularity. Still, the question remains: Is a heat pump the best choice for you? Explore several compelling reasons to try 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 Does a Heat Pump Differ from a Furnace?

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

Modern condensing furnaces feature high annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratings, which is understandably appealing. But this only relates to the furnace’s ability to convert fuel to heat—it doesn’t account for the whole energy footprint involved in the process of extracting, refining and transporting the fuel.

By comparison, a heat pump’s efficiency is measured by its heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF). While it’s challenging to compare these numbers at first glance, be aware that heat pumps typically perform better than furnaces.

Top Reasons to Install a Heat Pump

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

1. Lower Energy Bills

The operating cost is one of the first things homeowners worry about when contemplating a new home appliance. Furnaces can be quite 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 three times as efficient under ideal operating conditions. This budget-friendly performance leads to reduced utility bills.

2. Eco-Friendly Heating

Your household’s environmental footprint could be much smaller with a heat pump. While electric furnaces can be found, traditional gas-fired furnaces run on natural gas or oil, the production and distribution of which negatively impacts the planet. A heat pump operates without burning fuel, reducing your home’s environmental impact, particularly if you also have solar panels to produce green electricity from the sun.

3. Heating and Cooling Dual Functionality

One of the most notable features of a heat pump is its versatility. It’s an effective heating system in the winter and doubles as your air conditioner for the summer. Thanks to a simple 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 is highly desireable to many homeowners.

4. Quiet Operation

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

5. Easy Transition

If your home is already equipped with 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 be suitable for every situation. Heating efficiency is much more limited in severe cold, making heat pumps less effective in regions with harsh winters. At the same time, advancements in cold-climate technology are making heat pumps more consistently effective in colder climates, so be on the lookout for models designed to continue working in these kinds of climates.

It’s also worth noting that the initial cost of purchasing a high-quality heat pump is often higher than a traditional furnace. However, it means you don’t have to buy an air conditioner. If both systems are noticeably less efficient, you may actually save money up front by upgrading them with a heat pump. Plus, you’ll recover any investment cost through lower energy bills over time.

If your home lacks the necessary ductwork, installing it adds to your up-front costs. But furnaces need ductwork too, so this doesn’t necessarily prefer 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.

Finally, a heat pump’s efficiency benefits diminish if you live in an area with exceptionally high electricity costs. You can mitigate this by putting up 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 ideal for you? Consult Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, and our Experts can help you decide if a heat pump matches your heating and cooling needs. Then, whether you opt for a heat pump or a traditional furnace, we can set up your new system above and beyond your expectations. Contact us today to request a free installation estimate.

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