Most homes will have either a furnace or a heat pump installed. While both have their benefits and drawbacks, either can provide you with ample heat for your home. Of course, they do generate heat differently: furnaces use fuel, while heat pumps use electricity. If you have a furnace installed but you’re not sure if you should upgrade to a heat pump, it’s important to understand how each heating system works to determine which will work best for your home. Our heating and air conditioning experts at Perfect Degree HVAC share their insight below:
Comparing Furnaces & Heat Pumps
You’ll find many older homes are equipped with furnaces to provide heat during the winter months. Furnaces work by burning fuel such as oil or natural gas. Because of this, they tend to blow much warmer air compared to heat pumps.
Meanwhile, heat pumps don’t burn fuel to generate heat. Instead, they use electricity to pull in air from the outside and transfer heat from the air into your home. They essentially work as reverse air conditioning systems, with many models doubling as normal air conditioners when in cooling mode.
Should You Upgrade to a Heat Pump?
Ideally, a heat pump can transfer up to 300 percent more energy than it consumes. This is because heat pumps are powered by electricity, so there’s no need for fuel consumption unless you want a dual-fuel system for your home. Some heating repair and replacement contractors also recommend heat pumps because they’re more eco-friendly than furnaces, but keep in mind that they tend to fall short when producing heat in cold climates. Since heat pumps use air from the outside, the colder temperatures during the winter can make it hard for them to generate warm air.
Should You Stick With Your Furnace?
You can count on your furnace to generate heat even on days when the temperature is below freezing. Furnaces also have a longer lifespan than heat pumps, as they can last 20 years or more with proper care and maintenance. However, in terms of energy consumption, even a high-efficiency furnace is only around 95 percent efficient compared to a decent heat pump. The generated heat can also dry out the air in your home, which may cause skin and other health issues.