Furnace or Heat Pump? Which One Should You Choose?
The temperatures are dropping and there’s nothing better than coming into a nice warm house after freezing in the crisp, cold air. Some people LOVE winter and the icy temperature it brings, but nobody wants their house to be freezing. Deciding which is the best method to heat your house with can be difficult with all the new heating and cooling technology available on the market. At Wulf Brothers, we offer various solutions including heat pumps, furnaces, and geothermal heat pump capabilities. Each of these options has a few pros and cons when compared to the other, making it important to choose the right one for you.
What’s the Difference?
Unlike a furnace, a heat pump does not use fuel to generate heat. In fact, a heat pump doesn’t generate much heat at all. Instead, it pulls heat from the outside air, and warms your home more slowly. A heat pump also has the ability to work as an air conditioning unit to cool your home.
To understand how a heat pump works, consider that your air conditioning is not purely about blowing cold air into your home, but rather about removing the warm air from your home and replacing it with cooler air. In essence, a heat pump is an air conditioning unit that reverses its refrigeration cycle to fill your home with heat, instead of removing it.
Heat pumps are best for homeowners who live in climates that don’t see long, cold winters, but still experience short periods of cold weather. Other advantages heat pumps have over furnaces are that they typically cost less to install and operate more quietly.
A furnace relies on a fuel source and fan to heat your home. The fuel source, often oil or natural gas, burns in a combustion chamber. The hot air is then forced through your ductwork and into your home with a fan. Because a furnace uses flames to create heat, it blows much warmer air than a heat pump.
Furnaces are the most popular residential heating choice in the country, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. However, due to mild winters, heat pumps are more popular in much of the southeastern region of the country.
A furnace has fewer mechanical parts than a heat pump, meaning it’s at less risk of breaking down, requires less maintenance and has a longer lifespan on average. Furnaces are less energy efficient than heat pumps, but ideal for homeowners who use natural gas or want warmer air. Furnaces have become more energy efficient over the years, but homes with a furnace also require a separate air conditioning unit to cool the house.
Which One is Better?
When deciding between the two, there are several factors you must consider:
What sort of climate do you live in?
How energy efficient do you want your system to be?
Do you need to install underground piping?
Gas or electric?
With all of that in mind, the most important thing is how often the temperatures will be dropping below freezing in your area. In northern climates like in Door County, where the temperatures drop and stay below freezing, you will find that many homes are heating via a furnace. Because a furnace is kept out of the cool air, it has to work less in order to create the heat needed in your home. They are very stable and effective in very cold climates.
If you own a home in an area with warmer climates and milder winters, you may want to choose a heat pump. A large advantage of these is that they both heat and cool. These can be significantly more energy efficient in warmer climates, but can sometimes struggle to keep up in very low temperatures.
Other Heating Options
In addition to using a heat pump or furnace, you can also heat your home efficiently through geothermal heating.
Geothermal Heat Pumps
These geothermal heat pumps are run underground and can heat and cool your home. Some can even be used to heat water for your home and even a pool! Because the pipes are underground, they are kept at a constant temperature making it easier for them to create heat or cool air.
With all of these different options available to you, the experts at Wulf Brothers can guide you through the process of deciding which heat source is best for you, and make sure that we keep you nice and warm this winter!
Wulf Brothers. At your door when you need us: 800-743-5587