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Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. Blog

Furnaces vs. Heat Pumps: Which is Right for You?

You’re ready to get rid of that old heater and install a solution for the next 10-15 years. You’re not limited to using the same type of heater you had before, though, and that’s what many homeowners don’t realize.

Furnaces remain to be one of the most common types of home heating systems, but they’re not your only option. When it comes to heating installation, you can opt for a heat pump instead. But what are heat pumps, and are they actually an upgrade? Let’s talk about that.

Pros and Cons of Furnaces

Furnaces have massive upsides, but there’s also safety concerns. It’s important to know about everything they offer, and if their downsides are deal-breakers for you.

  • Effective: Furnaces are effective. That’s different from efficient, mind you, but they operate in extremely low temperatures with little to no worry.
  • Integration-Ready: Furnaces can easily be integrated into existing central air conditioning ductwork. If you already have ductwork, it helps the process along.
  • Different Options: You have different kinds of fuel options available for furnaces, from electric to propane, natural gas and more.

While furnaces have their utility, there’s some issues with combustion-based heating systems as a whole. Let’s go over those before you decide which system works for you.

  • Safety Hazards: Combustion-based systems create carbon monoxide, a lethal gas that can leak into your home and contributes to hundreds of annual deaths in the United States.
  • Lower Efficiency: AFUE is a rating system to determine how efficient the fuel-to-output ratio is. Even high-end furnaces can’t achieve 100% AFUE, but electric heaters can.
  • More Tasks: Because we have a heat exchanger, pilot light, and more components as well, furnaces have more maintenance tasks than electric heaters like heat pumps.

Pros and Cons of Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are very different from furnaces. Partially because they don’t just replace your heater–but they can even replace your air conditioner. This is how.

  • High Energy Efficiency: Heat pumps simply use less energy than furnaces. In many cases, you can improve your efficiency by up to 50% with a heat pump over a furnace.
  • Replaces Heater and Air Conditioner: Heat pumps also cool your home. You only have one machine to handle both outputs, so it’s less to worry about throughout the year.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Heat pumps use less energy, so your carbon footprint is lowered. It also helps with lower bills, too.

Heat pumps are pretty great, but nothing is perfect. There are a few caveats you should keep in mind before you decide to get one installed.

  • High Upfront Cost: They aren’t cheap. Because they’re high-efficiency and replace both your AC and heater, they can cost a pretty penny.
  • Doesn’t Work Well in Extreme Cold: Compared to furnaces, heat pumps have an operability range where they simply don’t work. That’s around 5° F.

Really, You Can’t Go Wrong With Either One

Furnaces are excellent in the coldest winters, but have safety concerns. Heat pumps come with great energy efficient benefits, but they’re expensive. You can’t go wrong with either one, it’s just a matter of what makes the most sense for your family. We can help you figure that out.

Contact Polar Bear Air Conditioning & Heating Inc. today to schedule your heating installation as soon as possible.

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