A heat pump or a furnace can heat your home but they work differently. This section will help you determine which heating system is right for your home.
How does a heat pump work?
A heat pump is a component of a central heating and cooling system that uses outdoor air to heat and cool a home. This means that a heat pump acts as an air conditioner in the summer and as a heater when the weather is cold. This makes a heat pump a very flexible and worthy investment. It is also energy-efficiency.
In winter, a heat pump extracts heat from the outside air or ground and distributes the same throughout the house. In summer, it extracts hot air inside the home to create a cool indoor temperature.
Disadvantages of using a heat pump
You can use a heat pump only when the temperature is around -5 to -10 degrees C before your furnace needs to augment the heat in your home.
How does a furnace work?
On the other hand, a furnace converts fuel into heat that is distributed throughout the house. It has 4 principal parts – a burner for burning and delivering fuel, 2) a heat exchanger, 3) a blower, 4) a flue that eliminates gas by-products. You can choose gas or oil systems, depending on which is more convenient in your area.
Compare Cost, Energy-efficiency, Installation, and Air Quality
In determining which system is better for your home, you can consider cost, energy efficiency, installation and air quality.
Cost of heat pump or furnace installation
The cost to install a furnace, heat pump, or a dual fuel system will be affected by your existing set-up. Some homes may not have available natural gas which makes it more ideal to choose an air-conditioner and furnace installation. Homes that are not wired for additional heating from a heat pump may have added costs. An HVAC contractor is your best resource for determining which type of system is ideal for your home.
The average price for a new furnace, including installation, is around $2,500. A high-efficiency furnace with 2 stages can cost from $3,000 to $5,000.
On average, installing a heat pump costs from $5,600 to $7,200, depending on the size and type of system you choose. Mini-split systems can cost as much as $14,000 while geothermal and solar systems cost from $6,000 to $40,000.
A heat pump can transfer 300% more energy than it utilizes. A furnace is 95% energy-efficient. Because heat pumps use electricity, you can save on fuel. In a majority of temperate climates, heat pumps are efficient in serving as a heating and cooling system.
You can maximize your home’s air quality by using air cleaner or fresh air ventilators.
Generally, heat pumps use various ductless units in the home with different filters to eliminate irritants, pollutants and allergens. HVAC contractors also provide cleaning services for heat pumps. Furnace air filters should also be cleaned and replaced periodically to minimize dust and other pollutants.
Level of Comfort
Air from heat pumps is not as hot as air from a gas furnace. It warms your home but it blows a bit cooler. Some people may not be satisfied with that. Heat pumps circulate naturally humid air so it does not cause skin dryness as much as hot air from a furnace.
Lifespan and Ease of Maintenance
Gas furnaces have a longer life span than heat pumps. When maintained properly, a furnace can last 20 years while a heat pump has a life span of 15 years.
Because gas furnaces are used only for a few months each year, the required maintenance is less than a heat pump.
Not all homeowners want the same thing when it comes to their heating system. Areas with bitterly cold winters and temperatures often below freezing may be more suited to a furnace because outdoor temperatures are not used to convert heat.
In Winnipeg, many homeowners use heat pumps to reduce the use of their furnace and air conditioner and save on using oil or electric furnaces.
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