When it comes to heating your home in the winter months, you need a home heating system that you can rely on. Two trendy choices on the market today include heat pumps and furnaces. Understanding how both perform in the wintertime can help you better decide which is best for your home environment.
How Do Furnaces Work?
Furnaces are the most popular residential heating system used throughout the United States. They work in all different environments and are commonly fueled by oil or gas. Furnaces will utilize a pilot light or igniter to ignite its inside burner for combustion. This heating system will burn gas or propane to create heat. This heat is then forced throughout the ductwork in a home through all the different rooms.
How Do Heat Pumps Work?
Heat pumps run solely on electricity. Instead of using the process of combustion to burn fuel and create heat, a heat pump relies on the transportation of existing heat from one location to another. For example, heat pumps will transfer heat from the outdoors into your home in the wintertime. It’s important to note that heat pumps also work as a cooling system in the summertime. They transfer heat from the inside of your home back to the outdoors.
Climate is one of the biggest factors that play a role in determining whether your home should have a furnace or a heat pump. Heat pumps work well in milder climates that don’t reach below-freezing temperatures. When heat pumps are installed in colder climates that receive below-freezing temperatures regularly, they rely on their auxiliary heating function to heat your home.
This is similar to an electric baseboard heater, which relies heavily on electricity to create heat. This makes heat pumps much less energy efficient when temperatures are below freezing, and they are in the auxiliary mode as compared to their warmer temperature heat-transfer mode.
A heat pump is extraordinarily energy efficient. A heat pump can transfer 300% more energy than it uses, while high-efficiency natural gas furnaces have up to 98.5% efficiency ratings. This is because a heat pump isn’t expending energy to heat the air. Instead, it transfers heat from one location to another.
Dual Heating Systems
If you live in a colder climate, then a heat pump is not likely going to be the best sole option for heating your home. However, you can still capture its high efficiency at above-freezing temperatures alongside its cooling capabilities in the summertime by having a dual heating system installed.
Dual heating systems consist of heat pumps and another heating unit like a furnace. Your heat pump can run throughout the summer and the milder winter days. Whenever temperatures drop below freezing, and your heat pump normally goes into an auxiliary mode, a dual heating system will switch it over to the furnace. This will help to keep your energy bills in check on those days when temperatures are below freezing.
When Should You Consider Only a Furnace?
Just because a dual heating system with both a heat pump and a furnace is going to provide the best energy-efficient configuration possible, that doesn’t mean that every homeowner can afford it. Heating systems can be relatively expensive for the average homeowner.
If you live in a colder climate and already have a centralized cooling system installed in your home, it may not make a whole lot of sense right now to have a heat pump installed. In fact, it can be quite costly to do so, and the energy savings you’ll reap aren’t compensate for the cost of installing a new heat pump. In this type of situation, you’re typically better off investing in a furnace that can handle the much colder temperatures in your region of the country.
Expert Heating Services
TS Heat & Air offers expert professional services for Oklahoma City and the surrounding communities. We can assist with your heating and cooling installation, repair, and maintenance needs, indoor air quality products, new construction, and packaged unit needs. Contact TS Heat & Air today to schedule your next service appointment with one of our highly skilled HVAC technicians.