What’s Better: a Heat Pump or Furnace?

Both heat pumps and furnaces do a great job of heating indoor space, but many homeowners wonder if one method of heating is better than the other. When it comes to choosing between a heat pump and furnace, determining which unit is “better” can depend on several factors. We’ll look at two of the most important, and more popular, aspects homeowners should consider when choosing between a heat pump and furnace: climate and cost. 
 
Climate
Unlike furnaces, which require fuel to produce heat, heat pumps do not actually generate heat; instead they move heat from one place to another. In the case of air source heat pumps, the most common type, warm air is extracted from outside and transferred indoors in the winter. In the summer months this process is reversed to cool indoor space. In climates like ours here in Minnesota, where the temperature can dip below 40 degrees for extended periods of time, heat pumps are generally not a great choice for providing efficient and continuous comfort. However, some newer models and geothermal solutions are available. For homeowners who do elect to install a heat pump, a backup source of heat can be used. Usually a furnace will serve this purpose, helping to maintain a more steady temperature when the air outside is dramatically cooler for extended periods of time. 
 
Cost 
Soaring energy costs coupled with a challenging economy often give pause to homeowners looking for a new heating system. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, if you heat with electricity, a heat pump can reduce the amount of electricity consumed for heating by as much as 30% -40%.  Since heat pumps do not require fuel to produce heat, they are often the more economical choice by offering greater energy savings. Again however, for persons living in areas where the seasonal temperature differences are more dramatic, a high efficiency furnace will offer greater savings to operate over time.   
 
When it comes to the upfront cost of purchasing a heat pump or furnace, the prices will vary depending on the size and efficiency rating of the unit. Federal and local tax incentives are available to offset the purchase cost of some units provided they meet current energy standards. 
 
For homeowners considering a new heating system, its best to consult with a professional. The technicians at One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning have the experience and knowledge to help you select the home heating system that is best suited for your home comfort needs and budget. 
 
Are you in the market for a new heating system? Are you curious about whether you should choose a furnace or heat pump for your home? One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning is your home heating expert. Contact us online today to learn more!

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