Updating Your HVAC Unit

Should You Install A Heat Pump Or A Furnace?

Winter is approaching fast, so if the heating system in your home isn't operating properly, it's probably time for your to think of a solution. Both furnaces and heat pumps efficiently provide homes with heat, but how do you decide which is the best option for your house? In order to make an informed decision, you need to understand the difference between a furnace and a heat pump and take a few things into consideration.

Difference Between Heat Pumps and Furnaces

The main difference between a heat pump and a furnace is the way that heat is generated. Furnaces use a fuel source, such as natural gas, propane, or oil to create a flame that warms up the metal heat exchangers inside your furnace. The fan inside your furnace helps warm the air in your home by forcing it over the heat exchangers and out through your house's vents. Heat pumps are powered by electricity, which is used to heat the coils inside the heat pump. In order to heat your home, the heat pump extracts air from outside your home, pushes it over the coils to warm it, and then, forces it through the vents in your house. Also, a heat pump pulls double duty, as it will also cool your house during the summer months. Unfortunately, a furnace can't do this without the addition of an air conditioner.

Risks to Consider

Both furnaces and heat pumps pose a risk for a house fire -- the furnace from burning fuel and the heat pump from the electrical arc needed to generate power. However, when you operate a heat pump, you don't run the risk of pumping carbon monoxide into your home like you do when you run a furnace because carbon monoxide is created when natural gas or oil is burned. Of course the risk of house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning is lower when you have your heating system inspected annually, replace the filters on a regular basis, and have fire and carbon monoxide alarms installed in your home.

Climate Considerations

The climate that you live in could be a deciding factor as to whether you should use a heat pump or a furnace to heat your home. It's difficult for a heat pump to compress heat from the air outside when the temperature drops below 40 degrees Fahrenheit, so if you live in an area that's prone to freezing temperatures and harsh winter weather, a furnace could be a better option for you. However, if you live in a milder climate, a heat pump would provide plenty of heat for your home.

Cost Considerations

Whether or not it's cheaper to operate a furnace or a heat pump depends on the cost of utilities in your area. If you live in an area with low electricity rates, you could save money by installing a heat pump. However, if your area's electricity rates are high, you'd probably save more money installing a furnace.

Ultimately, whether a heat pump or a furnace is the best option for your home is up to you. As long as you know the differences between the two options as well as take your area's climate, electricity costs, and the potential risks into consideration, you shouldn't have a problem making an informed decision.

For professional HAC services, contact a company like D & R Service Inc.