Heat Pumps vs. Furnaces: The Pros, Cons, and Differences Between Them
As an Edwardsville, IL
homeowner, you have a choice to make on heating system options for your home. Since every home is different, you need to consider what will heat your house the most efficiently and keep your family comfortable regardless of whatever the winter weather can throw at you. So, what are your options?
You can choose to install a furnace, or you could opt for a heat pump. Either one will give your home a heating system that will warm your family. But how do you know which one will work best for your space?
Both have their good points, but it can be challenging to know which one would work better in your home. It’s essential to consider factors like operating costs, location, dependability, and energy efficiency.
To help you make your decision, here is a closer look at each one, along with a bit of information about how they work.
What’s the Difference Between a Furnace and a Heat Pump?
The main difference between these two heating system options is the way they heat your home. For example, a furnace produces heat by burning gas or oil. A heat pump, on the other hand, is powered by electricity. A furnace burns fuel to generate warm air, then distributes it throughout your home. The air coming out is toasty warm because heat uses fuel. Furnace design contains four major components: burners, heat exchangers, blowers, and flue. The burners generate the heat, while the fan distributes it throughout the house. The flue acts as an exhaust for the heating system. In contrast, a heat pump doesn’t burn fuel at all. Instead, electricity draws cold air from outside and functions as an air conditioner in reverse to heat your home.
The Pros and Cons of Using a Furnace
Furnaces have their positive points:
They Are Generally Less Expensive
Compared to heat pumps, furnaces tend to be cheaper. The cost of a furnace can vary, however, depending on what size unit your home requires and what features you want it to include.
The Air Coming Out Is Warmer
If you are one of those people who head for the heat source as soon as you enter the house, you might find a furnace more pleasing. Since fuel is burned, the warmth of the air is noticeably warmer than that put out by a heat pump. For those that love to warm their fingers and toes by the heater, a furnace is for you.
They Provide Dependable Heat for Your Family
When you are choosing a heating system for your home, you need to consider the harshness of the winters in your area. For those in an area that experiences lasting bouts of freezing temperatures, you may want to opt for a furnace.
They Require Less Maintenance than Other Heating System Options
A furnace has fewer moving parts than a heat pump, which means there are fewer parts to potentially break down, resulting in a smaller amount of maintenance issues
However, there are some downsides to using a furnace to heat your home:
They Do Come With Certain Safety Risks
With a gas furnace, there is always the risk of a gas leak. If you smell gas, get everyone out of the house immediately and call an HVAC technician for help.
They Can Dry Out the Air in Your Home
Because of the fuel-generated heat, the air in your home can get really dry. The dryness of the air can cause skin problems and other health issues.
They Can Only Be Used In Cold Weather
Because of the way a heat pump works, it can also function as an air conditioner. A furnace can only be used in winter, whereas a heat pump can provide comfort all year.
The Pros and Cons of Having a Heat Pump
First, a look at the good things about installing a heat pump:
They Provide Year-Round Comfort for Your Home
When you have a heat pump, there’s no need for a separate cooling unit. One system means you’ll have fewer repair worries.
They Are More Energy Efficient
Heat pumps require much less energy to work. Compared to a furnace, a heat pump is between two and three times more efficient.
They Can Lower Your Utility Bills
Not only does saving energy help the environment, but it can also significantly lower your monthly bills. Plus, there are no more ongoing gas connection charges.
With all this good, there are a few negative points to using a heat pump:
They Can Be Noisy
A heat pump has fans indoors, on the blower, and outdoors, on the condenser/compressor unit. The noise from some of the older models was louder.
They Are Not Always as Dependable in Winter as Other Heating Systems
In particularly frigid temperatures, your heat pump could struggle to keep your house warm enough.
They Are More Expensive
In the beginning, anyway, heat pumps cost more than a furnace. However, you should weigh in the savings you will get with a heat pump to get a better look at the big picture.