Deciding Between a Heat Pump and a Furnace

Heat Pump vs Furnace in Mooresville, NC

A new heating system for your home is a big investment, so it stands to reason that you should ensure that you’re making the right choice before you commit. While gas-powered and electric furnaces are very popular and certainly have their benefits, not enough people consider investing in heat pumps for their homes. Heat pumps and furnaces both keep you warm and require professional installation, but there aren’t many similarities beyond those two. The two types of heating systems are different in terms of energy efficiency, amount of space required, installation cost, and even the method they use for warming you up. Before you decide what type of heater you want to go with, just make sure you’re looking at the pros and cons of each kind.

Heating Method

Instead of generating heat, heat pumps actually use pressurized refrigerant coils to pull the heat from outside of your home. After the pump absorbs the heat from the outdoors, it then redistributes it around your home via your ductwork and air vents. This method of heating is fundamentally different from the way that furnaces operate. Gas-burning furnaces create heat using a combustion process; during this process, a fuel such as propane or natural gas will be burned inside the furnace.

Alternatively, electric furnaces use the same method of heating that hair dryers use: they blow air over a hot element before circulating that heated air through your household.

One advantage this gives heat pumps is that they can also reverse their process to provide cold air. Therefore, owning a heat pump eliminates the need for you to purchase a separate air conditioning unit. This will use about the same amount of energy as an air conditioner would, but you’ll also save some money and home space by not having to purchase a second appliance.

Your Region Is a Factor

If you live in an area where the temperature regularly drops below freezing, a furnace may be a better choice for you than a heat pump. Because heat pumps have to take their heat from the outdoors, their jobs are easier to do when the weather is warmer. Granted, it will be able to successfully transfer heat either way, but doing so in the extreme cold requires much more exertion. As a result, your monthly bills go up, and the heat pump’s health declines. That being said, there are specialized geothermal heat pumps that pull their heat from below the ground. The temperature where they transfer heat from usually stays stable around 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit regardless of the weather. However, these geothermal pumps require special excavation as part of their installation process, so having one added to your home can cost as much as $25,000. If you live in a fairly moderate climate like Charlotte, NC, standard heat pumps and furnaces should both be viable options for your home.

Energy Usage

When it comes to energy efficiency, heat pumps have a distinct advantage over furnaces. This is mainly due to the fact that creating heat uses up far more energy than transferring it via refrigerant coils does. Granted, things like utility costs, the health of the appliance, and climate all factor into operating costs, but on average, your monthly bills will be much lower with a heat pump. Propane-burning furnaces are by far the most costly to operate whereas units that use natural gas and electric furnaces will be about 50% cheaper. Heat pumps, though, will only cost about one-third as much per winter. Granted, these figures do not include the variables that may affect your individual situation.

At Putnam Mechanical, we are a proud provider of heating, cooling, and electrical services for Mooresville, NC and the surrounding areas. Additionally, our skilled team can handle commercial refrigeration jobs as well. We first started as a two-man operation working out of a home garage, and we have grown significantly since then. Our company is family owned and operated, and we possess unlimited licensing in HVAC and refrigeration for both North Carolina and Florida. Some of the things we constantly strive for include showing up on time for every job, solving every problem on the first attempt, and delivering exemplary customer service.

Our team of skilled experts is always available to handle whatever job you need done. Contact us at Putnam Mechanical now to schedule an appointment.

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