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There are four main components to a furnace: burners, heat exchangers, a blower and a flue that acts as the exhaust. Furnaces with proper maintenance can last 20 years or more. Furnace & AC Combo Many of our customers ask us about the difference between an air conditioner/furnace heating and cooling system and a heat pump system. A heat pump heater, on the other hand, removes heat from the outdoors and deposits it inside your home. Here’s a quick breakdown of each type of heat system, and some of the factors you should consider when making your decision, like location, energy efficiency, cost and reliability. There are generally two popular options available, namely, the furnace and the heat pump. Because furnaces don’t depend on outdoor air to produce heat, they produce much warmer air for homes located in cold temperature climates compared to heat pumps. To generate heat, furnaces burn oil or gas, while heat pumps run on electricity, drawing heat from outside air—even cold air—and transferring it indoors. I haven’t ever shared a side-by-side comparison of the two, though. Furnaces, which are typically installed indoors, can take up a lot of … Oil furnaces are one of the most common methods used by Atlantic Canadians to heat their homes. Get free, no-commitment repair estimates from licensed HVAC technicians near you. Both heat pumps and furnaces require direct wiring into a home’s main electrical panel, and most local building codes require a professional HVAC technician to connect a gas line to a furnace. At what temperature is a heat pump not effective? Furnace: Which One is Right for You. However, the indoor part of a heat pump system doesn't contain a furnace. And unlike furnaces, these are rated using Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) or Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF). Efficiently Heating Your Home – Pros and Cons of Heat Pumps vs Gas Furnaces Leaves are falling and so is the temperature outside. When you consider that a heat pump is also used to cool a home, you may save even more money by not having to purchase an air conditioner. Furnaces, which are typically installed indoors, can take up a lot of square footage because manufacturers and local building codes often require a 30-inch clearance on all sides for fire safety purposes. A heat pump works on a different thermodynamic principle: It draws heat from the outdoors (even if it’s cold outside) and transfers that heat to your home’s interior. In the heat pump versus gas furnace debate, climate is the biggest deciding factor. Because of how they work, heat pumps produce less heat than furnaces and work best in warmer climates (zones … Expert advice from Bob Vila, the most trusted name in home improvement, home remodeling, home repair, and DIY. A compressor takes heat from the outside and uses a refrigerant to convert it into gas. Because heat pumps transfer air with electricity, they’re very energy-efficient. While today’s furnaces are much more energy efficient compared to a decade ago, they still don’t compare to the efficiency of a heat pump. Get the Catalogue Since heat pumps use air from the outside, colder temperatures mean that your heat pump will struggle to generate warm air. Gas-powered forced air heating and cooling systems require warm or cold air to be generated via a furnace or air conditioner. In addition to being energy-efficient, heat pumps are typically easy to install and operate quietly. “Space heating is the largest energy expense in the average U.S. home, accounting for 45 percent of energy bills,” according to energy.gov . Heat pumps, which also have an average 15-year lifespan, have been around for more a century but didn’t become popular furnace alternatives until the 1970s. But in an older leaky home, a 30F to 35F outdoor-indoor delta is about the limit, depending again on size of heat pump vs. the home's heat load. Disclosure: BobVila.com participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for publishers to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. A heat pump is, overall, a better choice for most homes. Furnaces generate warm air and then distribute it throughout your home by burning fuel. @pbb Another comparison of heat pump tank water heaters vs. gas tankless water heaters is resilience. A heat pump typically harnesses heat energy from the ground (geothermal) or from the outdoors (air source) to heat or cool a home. Depending on the type of air handler that comes with your heat pump, you might be able to mount it high on the wall so the unit doesn’t encroach on any floor space. A heat pump doesn’t burn fuel to generate heat. Heat Pump vs. Glenda Taylor, Bob Vila, U.S. Department of Energy’s Climate Zone Map, 10 Home Heating Mistakes That Spike Your Bills, 10 Home Gym Must-Haves to Help You Lose the Quarantine Weight, The Best Heating System You’ve Never Heard Of, Unsound Sounds: 7 Noises You Don't Want to Hear From Your House, 15 Products to Help You Warm Up Every Corner of Your Home, Slash Your Electric Bill with 11 Savvy Hacks. If you live in an area with mild winters, a heat pump is a great option. This technology is the same used in refrigeration and air conditioners. One other thing to take into consideration is the experience. A traditional gas or electric furnace lasts about 15 years, but before you purchase a new one, consider if a heat pump would be a better choice. If you’ve been considering replacing your furnace, you’ve probably heard or read a lot about the heat pump vs furnace debate. For instance, furnaces generate heat by burning oil or natural gas while heat pumps use electricity. the backbone of most HVAC systems. Depending on how cold your winters are, you may not use this often. Heat Pump & Furnace Installation in Raleigh & Durham. Where you live plays a large part in whether or not a heat pump vs. furnace is right for your home. To ensure you make the best possible choice, check the various capabilities, features, advantages, and disadvantages of furnace vs. heat pump systems. Heat pumps typically produce less heat compared to furnaces, and may not be the ideal depending on how warm you like to keep your home. Here are 5 reasons to get a heat pump instead of a furnace: 1. To cool the home, it takes heat from the inside and pumps it outdoors. Most people are more familiar with furnaces than heat pumps. Though a heat pump performs the same function as a furnace and air conditioner, these systems accomplish their jobs in different ways. Instead of creating heat, like a furnace does, heat pumps move heat from one point to another. In short, if you live in a climate that doesn’t see long, cold winters, a heat pump is typically a better option. The difference between a heat pump and furnace can be summarized as: Heat pumps are used in many parts of the U.S. Both heat pumps and oil-fueled furnaces can be energy efficient, but both systems also have potential disadvantages. There are three types of heat pumps: air-to-air, ductless mini … A gas-fired furnace generally has a longer lifespan than a heat pump. This is also a better option if you’re in the market to replace your existing air conditioner, since heat pumps can double as both. To install the most common type of heat pump—an air-to-air model—you’ll pay an average of $3,500 to $4,500, depending on size and efficiency. A furnace heats your home through combustion. RELATED: 10 Home Heating Mistakes That Spike Your Bills. The compressor part of a heat pump, which is located outdoors but close to the house—in a similar manner to an air conditioner—requires a minimum 24-inch clearance around its outdoor unit. A furnace burns fuel to create and distribute hot air throughout a house. Pros of heat pumps: A heat pump, like an air conditioner, … By Glenda Taylor and Bob Vila. In such climates, heat pumps offer an energy-efficient option to air conditioners and furnaces. A heat pump basically acts as a reverse air conditioning unit and, for that reason, doubles as an air conditioner when in cooling mode. Because heat pumps make use of both an indoor and an outdoor unit, the installation process can be difficult and time-consuming and may disrupt your house and daily life. A heat pump uses less electricity than a typical electric furnace. Plus, heat pumps circulate humid air so it won’t dry out your skin like heat from a furnace can. And, I’ve talked a great deal about furnaces as well, i.e. It uses four main components: a burner, heat exchanger, blower and flue to produce hot and toasty temperatures inside the home during cold winter months. Electric Heat pumps are different from furnaces in one big way. Heat pumps operate as both heating and cooling systems, replacing the need for a separate furnace and central air conditioning system. Furnace: Heat Production. Heat pumps are generally more efficient than furnaces anyway, especially in mildly cold weather. If you have a heat pump that uses electric backup heat, it probably uses electric heat strips, which use a lot of electricity. They can act as an air conditioner by lowering the temperature of your home in the summer, or they can work as a heating unit to keep you warm and toasty during the winter. Furnaces are typically cheaper compared to heat pumps, but the price varies depending on unit size and features. Furnaces can also be powered by electricity. Some heat pumps even go as high as a 9 HSPF rating and SEER ratings reaching 16. The cost to have a gas furnace installed averages $4,500, and the cost to install an electric furnace runs about $4,000, but you could pay up to 10,000 or more for a high-efficiency model of either type of furnace. Heat pumps will cost more than either a furnace or an air conditioning system. A heat pump is actually a system that can be used to either heat or cool a home. Compare Heat Pumps vs Central Air Costs What is a Heat Pump? In terms of air quality, heat pumps don’t produce CO, so you don’t have to worry about carbon monoxide leaks. Using a heat pump vs AC is a more environmentally-friendly way of heating and cooling your house. Likewise, installation isn’t a DIY project. A furnace generates heat in a traditional way by burning oil or natural gas and sending the resulting heat into the home. You might think that it is not very easy to choose between them at first. Instead, external heat, pulled from outside or the ground, flows into the home. Whether you need furnace repair, heat pump replacement, new system installation, or comprehensive maintenance for your home’s heating system, you can rely on … When the temperature drops below freezing, there's not enough heat in the air to sufficiently heat the home with the pump alone, so the backup electric or gas furnace kicks in to provide warmth. Heat pumps both heat and cool homes by moving warm air in or out, while furnaces burn fuel to create and distribute warm air throughout a home. Do heat pumps live up to the hype? If you prefer hot, toasty temperatures inside your home, a furnace might be the better option for you. Since heat pumps work on the same principle as air conditioners during the summer months, the costs to cool your home with either will run about the same—$300 or more, depending on your climate. You agree that BobVila.com may process your data in the manner described by our Privacy Policy. There is only one type of heat pump. A unit that’s too small won’t keep you warm on the coldest days and will force the unit to work overtime, which can reduce its lifespan and increase the need for repairs. Homes with a furnace also require a separate unit for air conditioning, while heat pumps act as a two-in-one. We are here to help: we will work with you to determine whether a furnace/air conditioner combo or heat pump is best for your home based on your budget and efficiency needs. Your climate is extremely important when choosing between a heat pump vs. furnace. During hot weather, a heat pump operates in an identical manner to an air conditioner, by reversing the pressure and the flow of refrigerant through its coils. Your climate is extremely important when choosing between a heat pump vs. furnace. A unit that’s too large will cycle on and off frequently, which can result in indoor temperature variations. We want you and your family to be comfortable in your home all year long. While heat pumps are more energy efficient, furnaces have fewer moving parts, which means there’s less heating repair and maintenance involved and fewer pieces that could potentially malfunction. There is no pilot light or combustion involved. Generating heat requires a lot of fuel, but because a heat pump doesn’t generate heat, it only needs enough electricity to circulate the refrigerant through its pressurized lines. Geothermal heat pumps can be especially energy-efficient. Run through these eight comparisons—furnaces vs. heat pumps—to find out which one is best suited to your heating needs. Instead, it uses electricity to pull air from the outside and transfer heat into your home. If you live in Climate Zones 1 through 3 (check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s Climate Zone Map), a heat pump might be a good choice, but if you’re in zones 4 through 7, a furnace will probably be your best bet. Essentially, a heat pump just moves heat from one location to another. So while a heat pump will not generate heat, it is able to absorb heat via pressurized refrigerant lines and then release that heat into your home. Keep in mind that beyond the limit, the heat pump continues to product the lion's share of the heat, sloping off as outdoor temps drop further. You can also consider the overall cost, air quality and reliability. This allows you to enjoy a comfortably heated home knowing that your heat pump could contribute to a lower energy bill during the colder months. While a furnace is designed to generate only heat, a heat pump warms your home in winter and cools it during the summer months. Copyright © 2021 Acton Media Inc. All rights reserved. However, a heat pump can provide both heating and cooling which makes it less expensive than having to buy a furnace and an A/C solution. This often worries owners of a new heat pump until they realize the noise isn’t a symptom that something is amiss. As homeowners prepare to settle in for the long Massachusetts winter, more and more are considering making the switch to an all-electric Ductless Heat Pump system. While both furnaces and heat pumps can grind, clank, and screech when having mechanical problems, a heat pump is typically the noisier of the two when both are operating as they should. During the summer months, your heat pump can also act as an air conditioner, making this a more versatile product compared to a furnace. Heat that’s generated through a furnace could dry out the air in your entire home, which can cause skin and other health issues. A heat pump provides a very efficient pathway to household heating. The biggest difference between a furnace and a heat pump is the method in which they heat your home. Heat pumps move heat instead of generating heat. Forced Air vs. Heat Pump. While exact operating costs depend on the climate where you live, the unit’s efficiency, and local utility costs, for a single winter season, heating costs run an average of $1,550 for a propane furnace, $850 for a natural gas furnace, $900 for an electric furnace, and just $500 for a heat pump. When it comes to heating, most homes have a choice between a heat pump or a furnace. A gas furnace generates heat by burning combustible fuel, such as gas or propane, while an electric furnace generates heat in much the same manner that a hairdryer would, by blowing air over a hot element. For this section we’ll look at a heat pump vs. gas furnace and a heat pump vs. oil furnace as those are the predominant furnace types in Central Virginia. When it comes to selecting either a furnace or a heat pump, make sure to have a professional heating-and-air technician measure the volume of air in your living space, factor in your climate zone, and consider your budget to help you choose the right size furnace or heat pump for your home. Geothermal systems are very efficient. That doesn’t mean the outdoor temp needs to be balmy—a heat pump can draw warmth from air that’s below freezing—but as the temperature drops, heat pumps become increasingly less efficient. Safety . A heat pump uses much less energy than an electric or gas furnace. Unlike a furnace that creates heat at the source via a flame, a heat … Heating Fenwick is your trusted name in heating services offering an unmatched level of service. Heat pumps don’t generate heat from a … In the heat pump Vs the electric furnace, the heat pump should still be ideal for you. There are systems that work alongside heat pumps to generate warmth by moving the air over heating coils, but they typically use a lot of energy. In addition, heat pumps aren’t as efficient if temperatures reach below freezing. Heat Pump vs. And now that you understand both systems, the reasons will make more sense! Maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature is a priority for homeowners all year round, but in winter you’re bound to be even more aware of how well your heating system is working—and what to replace it with should it give out. Heat pumps are notorious for clicking and knocking as the compressor that circulates the refrigerant through the lines powers up or shuts down, producing sounds from the air handler (the part of the heat pump that installs inside the home and emits warm air). A furnace burns fuel to create heat. Furnaces can run on natural gas or oil, and depending on where you live, there are hybrid options available that can use both. A conventional air source heat pump will operate effectively between 25-30°F. So the space conditioning costs less compared to using a conventional cooling or heating system. A heat pump extracts heat from the outside air (even if it’s cold) to move warm air through your home. Because furnaces use fuel to create heat, they blow much warmer air compared to heat pumps. A heat pump does not generate heat; instead, it moves heat from one place to another. Read on, or learn more about heat pumps in our product catalogue. Heat Pumps vs Gas Furnaces for California Homes: The Basics I’ve talked about how to troubleshoot heat pump problems in the past, as well as plenty of other topics about them. This can be a big benefit for homeowners who would otherwise need to purchase a separate air conditioner. © 2021 HVAC.com – a Red Ventures Company, All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell My Info | Terms and Conditions. Heat Pump vs. Gas Furnace Efficiency vs. Heat Pump Efficiency According to Energy Star, the average American household spends over $2,200 annually on energy costs. A Heat Pump vs. A Central AC & Furnace: Main Differences. A heat pump condenses heat present in the outside air -- usually down to about 30-degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the region and the amount of moisture in the air -- and pumps it into the home. Furnace installation can range between $2,000 to upwards of $7,000, depending on the furnace and company you are using to install the unit. Since heat pumps draw warmth from the outdoors, the warmer the outside air, the more heat they’ll provide. Heat Pump Vs Furnace . In the heat pumps vs gas furnace competition, heat pumps have quite a few advantages, the most notable of which is their energy efficiency (not to be confused with their cost to operate), with modern heat pumps ranging from SEER values of around 14 to over 21 SEER. Heat pumps operate most efficiently in warmer climates with mild winter months, while furnaces thrive in colder climates with temperatures that reach below freezing. Heat pumps are suitable for areas that have moderate cooling and heating needs. If you experience incredibly cold winters with temperatures below freezing, a furnace is the best option for you. A gas furnace provides heat more quickly. A heat pump system looks a lot like an air conditioner (outdoor unit) and furnace (indoor unit) combination. Southeastern climates are ideal for heat pump use. Heat pumps require less space. If you live in zones 4 through 7 and you want to install a heat pump, you’ll need a geothermal model. Although they both accomplish the same goal of heating your home, they do so in different ways. Get the catalogue a heat pump is a more environmentally-friendly way of heating and cooling your house ) to warm! 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