While most homeowners you know probably have furnaces, they aren’t your only option when shopping for a new heating system. In many situations, a heat pump is a more cost-effective choice. Furnaces and heat pumps are fundamentally different in the way they do their jobs. Gas-powered furnaces use combustion to create heat; heat pumps use refrigerant coils to absorb warmth from outside. Alternatively, electric furnaces work by blowing air over a hot element. Each type of system has pros and cons, and with a bit of research, you can deduce which is the best fit for your household.
Comparing the Costs
In most climates, heat pumps are less costly to operate than furnaces. Since it requires more energy to create heat than it does to transfer it around, your household will be using far more energy with a furnace. Throughout one Kennesaw, GA winter, a propane-burning furnace may cost up to $1,000 more to operate than a heat pump. Usually, natural gas-burning and electric furnaces will be somewhere in between. Keep in mind that these figures vary depending on climate, utility costs, and the heating system’s condition.
Heat pumps will also save you money in installation costs. On average, a gas-burning furnace will cost about $500 more for professional installation, and a high-efficiency furnace can be as much as $5,000 more.
Heat Pump Utility
Heat pumps have one big advantage over other heating systems: They can double as air conditioners. These pumps work by drawing in heat from outdoors through pressurized refrigerant lines and distributing that heat through your home. When summer arrives, you can switch your heat pump to cooling mode, and it will reverse the pressure and flow of the refrigerant through its coils. Not only does this save you the money of purchasing a separate air conditioner, but it also opens some extra space in your house.
Comparing the Noise
If peace and quiet are a top priority for your household, you may want to go with a furnace. When a furnace of any type is operating smoothly, the only noise you should hear is the occasional soft whooshing of air. If you hear anything beyond that, such as a banging or whistling sound, it’s a sign that something’s wrong. Heat pumps, however, are quite noisy even when everything’s working perfectly. When a heat pump is running, its compressor is regularly circulating refrigerant through the coils, and this causes frequent clicking and knocking noises from the air handler.
Comparing the Space Required
When you add a furnace to your home, building codes require that you leave at least 30 inches of clearance on all sides to avoid a fire hazard. As a result, they take up a large chunk of your home’s square footage.
Heat pumps usually don’t require as much room. They consist of a compressor and an air handler; the compressor goes outside, and the air handler inside. The compressor requires a 24-inch clearance, but the air handler has no such requirement. With some heat pumps, you can even mount the air handler high on the wall, out of the way. If your home doesn’t have tons of extra space, this difference is worth considering.
Although heat pumps can absorb heat even if it’s freezing outside, it’s much harder on the system and requires more energy. That’s in contrast to furnaces, which use the same amount of effort and energy regardless of the weather. So, if you live somewhere that sees extreme winters, you may end up saving money on monthly bills by choosing a furnace.
However, this difference can be negated by special geothermal heat pumps, which use coils buried underground. Under the soil, the temperature stays relatively static even when it’s cold out, so the pump’s efficiency doesn’t suffer. Because of the excavation required to install them, geothermal heat pumps are prohibitively expensive for most households.
Your Local Heating Professionals
We at Controlled Climate Services offer trustworthy heating and cooling services to the greater Kennesaw, GA area. We’re a reputable company with a stable list of residential and commercial clients, and our other quality services include indoor air quality, refrigeration, humidifiers and dehumidifiers, and ventilation. With over 25 years of experience in the industry, we’re committed to excellent customer service with only the highest quality equipment. For more information, call us up at Controlled Climate Services today!