Need a New Heating System? Consider a Heat Pump

If it’s time to replace your old furnace, don’t presume that another furnace is the only option. This may be the go-to choice for most North American homes, but heat pumps are becoming increasingly popular. Still, the question remains: Is a heat pump the right fit for everyone? Explore several convincing reasons to choose a heat pump, how it differs from a traditional furnace and whether a heat pump is the best choice for your home comfort needs.

How Is a Heat Pump Different from a Furnace?

The underlying technology between a heat pump and a traditional furnace is fundamentally 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 have high annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) ratings, which is understandably appealing. But an AFUE rating only measures the furnace’s ability to convert fuel to heat—it won’t account for the full energy footprint involved in the extraction, refining and transportation of the fuel.

In 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, know that heat pumps often perform better than furnaces.

Top Reasons to Choose Heat Pump Installation

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 one of the first things homeowners worry about when contemplating a new home appliance. Furnaces can be highly effective, but they max out at around 98% efficiency. On the other hand, heat pumps are capable of generating 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 cost-effective performance leads to more manageable utility bills.

2. Eco-Friendly Heating

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

3. Heating and Cooling Capabilities

One of the most impressive features of a heat pump is its flexibility. It’s an effective wintertime heater and doubles as your air conditioner during the summer. Thanks to a straightforward built-in switch, the heat pump changes its operation and draws out warm air from your home, just like a standard AC unit. This dual-purpose solution is highly desireable to many homeowners.

4. Quiet Operation

Heat pumps run with less noise than traditional furnaces since they don’t have to burn fuel to generate heat. No combustion means reduced noise, resulting in a quieter living space.

5. Easy Transition

If your home already has 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 as simple as that.

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 ideal in regions with harsh winters. That being said, advancements in cold-climate technology are making heat pumps more consistently effective in the far north, so keep your eye out for models designed to work in such settings.

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

If your home doesn’t already have the necessary ductwork, adding it adds to your up-front costs. But furnaces need ductwork too, so this doesn’t necessarily prefer selecting 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 start to fall off if you live in an area with exceptionally high electricity costs. You can mitigate this by installing solar panels, which generate electricity from the sun to power your heat pump and many other electrical systems.

Choose Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing

Still not sure if a heat pump is right for you? Consult Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, and our professionals can help you decide if a heat pump meets 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 ask for a free installation estimate.

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