Furnace Or Heat Pump: Which Is Best?

When you think about the available heating solutions in an average home, the first thing you think of is likely to be a furnace. However, a furnace is not the only option you have available to you when it comes to heating systems. Heat pumps are another option, and depending on your home, they may be able to provide you with some significant energy savings.

Here is some information about these two options, from a company specializing in heat pump and furnace repair in Visalia, CA.

Operational differences

The vast majority of homes you’ll find in North America are heated with a forced air furnace of some type, usually one that’s powered with gas or electricity. A gas furnace has a sealed-up combustion chamber that generates heat, and electric furnaces have heating elements similar to the ones you’d find in an electric space heater, just scaled up to accommodate a much larger space. In each of these circumstances, there will be a fan that provides circulation over the heating elements and pushes the air through a series of vents in the home to deliver that heat.

A forced air heat pump does not actually produce any heat, but instead pulls heat out of the outdoor air, even if it’s cold outside. The heat gets condensed and then pushed through a fan system and into the home.

Other types of heat pumps use geothermal energy rather than trying to take the warm air out of the outdoor air, but this isn’t typically an option in most parts of the country.

Making the right decision

So what factors do you need to take into account when deciding whether you’ll get a furnace or a heat pump?

The biggest factor is the climate in which you live. If you have a mild winter, you’ll benefit much more from a heat pump in terms of energy efficiency. This is one of the reasons why they’re such a popular alternative to furnaces here in California—even in the northern parts of the state, it never gets particularly frigid.

Compare this to seriously cold environments such as many parts of the Midwest, in which heat pumps will have to go into overdrive to have any chance of keeping up. While there may be an auxiliary heat source that will kick in when it gets really cold, this still is going to be less efficient than a furnace in this circumstance.

If you live in the right environment, it’s not just the energy efficiency that will give you a big benefit. Heat pumps can also be used in reverse to cool the home, pulling air from inside your house and pushing it outside. This means it can be an effective sort of air conditioning system as well, though you’ll have to do a better job of staying on top of maintenance since you’ll be using the same system all year long.

For more information about your options for home heating, contact McGee Refrigeration about heat pump and furnace repair in Visalia, CA.

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