Have you wondered what the difference is between a heat pump and a furnace? They are both used for heating, but when it comes to which option is better, the factors and comparisons can sometimes be overwhelming. Here are some basics for new homeowners to keep in mind when deciding between using a heat pump or furnace for your home.
What is a Heat Pump?
A heat pump uses outside air to heat and cool a home. It is a versatile product that works during the Summer and Winter. In addition to being flexible, heat pumps are an energy-conscious option, it efficiently moves air around your living space to where it is needed and not needed.
What is a Furnace?
A furnace burns fuel that distributes throughout your living space. Furnaces consist of four main components:
1.) Burners, to burn and deliver the fuel.
2.) Heat Exchangers.
4.) Flue, that acts as an exhaust for gaseous products.
Depending on where you live, you can choose gas or oil as a fuel or a duo that runs both.
Heat pumps are generally found in Southern states where the climate is milder. Winters with 30-40°F are perfect conditions for a heat pump since these areas have low electric rates.
Furnaces are generally found in Northern states where Winters are colder. Furnaces function better in freezing temperatures because they do not require outdoor air to convert to heat.
Pros and Cons of Both
Comfort: Gas furnaces produce heat that is warm and inviting. Meanwhile, the air from heat pumps still warms your home but blows out cooler air. In contrast, a heat pump circulates air naturally so it won’t dry out your skin as much as a furnace would.
Cold Weather: As said before location matters. A heat pump does not fair well in bitterly cold weather, so it will be harder to produce warm air like a furnace. There are supplemental systems that work with your heat pump on cold days, but they require a lot of energy.
Lifespan: In general, furnaces have a longer life span compared to a heat pump. With proper maintenance, a furnace can last 20 years, while a heat pump can sustain itself for 15. A gas furnace is only used a couple of times out of the month so it requires less maintenance.
Air Quality: Heat pumps don’t burn harmful gasses, so they are the more environmentally conscious choice since they don’t produce harmful greenhouse emissions. Recent innovations have made furnace models more efficient and environmentally friendly as well.
Energy Efficiency: Heat pumps are more energy-efficient since it only transfers heat instead of creating it. They transfer around 300% more energy and are powered by electricity so they save on fuel consumption. Furnaces, however are only 90% efficient.
Cost: Installation for gas furnaces are cheaper however, they will need to be accompanied by an air conditioner. In contrast, a heat pump can do both. In terms of cost, your home costs may be less with a heat pump, but the unit costs will vary.
To learn about any of our Trane products, including the Trane ComfortLink Thermostat, contact one of our specialists at Air Solutions. Servicing Southeast Texas from Beaumont to West Orange, we can get your HVAC system smarter in no time. Call 409.962.2476 or visit airsolutionstx.com.