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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 becoming increasingly popular. Still, the question remains: Is a heat pump your ideal heating system? Explore several persuasive reasons to try a heat pump, how it is distinct from a traditional furnace and whether a heat pump is the most efficient choice for your home comfort needs.

How Is a Heat Pump Different from a Furnace?

The core design between a heat pump and a traditional furnace is fundamentally different. Furnaces burn combustible substances such as natural gas, oil or propane to generate heat. On the other hand, heat pumps use electricity and refrigerant to move heat. This key difference impacts the equipment’s efficiency, environmental impact and versatility.

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

In comparison, a heat pump’s efficiency is measured by its heating seasonal performance factor (HSPF). While it’s not easy to compare these numbers at first glance, know that heat pumps typically outperform 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 are very efficient, 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 in the process. In other words, heat pumps can be 300% 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 exist, traditional gas-fired furnaces run on natural gas or heating oil, the production and distribution of which negatively impacts the planet. A heat pump operates without burning fuel, limiting your home’s environmental impact, especially if you also have solar panels to produce cleaner electricity from the sun.

3. Heating and Cooling Dual Functionality

One of the most striking features of a heat pump is its dual heating and cooling functionality. It’s an effective wintertime heater and doubles as your air conditioner in the summer. Thanks to a straightforward built-in switch, the heat pump changes its operation and pulls out warm air from your home, similar to a standard AC unit. This two-in-one solution appeals to many homeowners.

4. Quiet Operation

Heat pumps operate with less noise than traditional furnaces as they don’t have to ignite fuel to generate heat. No combustion means less noise, resulting in a more peaceful 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 as simple as that.

Are Heat Pumps Right for Everyone?

While heat pumps are remarkable, they may not suit every situation. Heating efficiency is much more limited in extreme cold, making heat pumps less effective in regions with long, cold winters. However, advancements in cold-climate technology are making heat pumps more efficient overall in colder climates, so be on the lookout for models designed to continue working in these kinds of climates.

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

If your home doesn’t already have the necessary ductwork, putting it in increases your up-front costs. But furnaces need ductwork too, so this doesn’t necessarily prefer choosing 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 decrease if you live in an area with higher than average electricity costs. You can mitigate this by installing 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 the right choice for you? Consult Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing, and our installers can help you decide if a heat pump suits 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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