Is a heat pump better than a furnace?
Choosing between a furnace or a heat pump to heat your home is really less a matter of preference than it is efficiency. Which option is the most efficient, the most affordable, and requires the least amount of maintenance to run? To make the decision, you will need to consider your heating requirements, your budget, and the adaptability of either system to the existing climate you live in.
If you’re looking for expert advice regarding your home heating, The Comfort Group is your go-to choice. We’re available 24/7/365 days a year including after-hours, weekends, and holidays at no extra cost to you! Furthermore, if you’re interested in saving on your new furnace or heat pump system, ask us about our current discounts and financing options! You’ll also receive a complimentary new system purchase quote from one of our home comfort advisors during your free, at-home consultation appointment!
What is a Heat Pump?
Heat pumps are easily adaptable systems that can be used to both heat and cool. The heat pump is the central source of air, and it can be placed ducted or ductless. The heat pump typically includes an exterior and indoor fixture, as well as a refrigerant line that connects both units and has a reversing valve. Heat pumps work by transferring thermal energy from the outside air to the interior air using electricity. Once heated, the air flows around your home to achieve the temperature you choose, whether it’s colder in the summer or warmer in the winter. Your heat pump will also absorb moisture from the air and warm it, ensuring a steady supply.
There are more sturdy versions of heat pumps that can provide heat down to -30 C, but they often only provide enough heat to heat the home up to -15 C. To keep your residence as comfortable as possible, your electric baseboards or backup furnace (whichever is most applicable) would need to be activated.
What is the major disadvantage of a heat pump system?
There are a few disadvantages of a heat pump system, such as icing in cold temperatures. Some modern heat pumps will have automatic defrosting, but efficiency is very low at cold temperatures and you may end up using more electricity than you would like during the colder days.
Heat pumps also rely on electricity to operate, and so their carbon footprint may vary depending on how much electricity they use. If you want to be purely carbon-neutral, solar may be a better option for your home.
What is a Gas Furnace?
In British Columbia, gas furnaces tend to be more common, and are designed to generate heat through combustion. (It should be noted that an electric furnace uses electric coils.) Both types of furnaces are temperature sensitive, and as a result, they can offer consistent and comfortable heat. To keep a home cool during the summer months, furnaces will need to be supported by a separate cooling system, especially now that temperatures are becoming hotter as of late.
A gas furnace has four basic components: a blower fan to circulate heated air, a flue/vent that allows for the safer dispersion of heat, a heater exchanger that transfers heat, and an ignitor.
What is cheaper to run: a heat pump or gas furnace in British Columbia?
It depends. The upfront cost of a heat pump tends to be more, but gas furnaces often use more energy than heat pumps and therefore cost more to operate. Heat pumps often require less maintenance as well, and they can also be installed ductless. Furnaces require ducts, which can be expensive to install and retrofit.
However, furnaces do last longer in terms of overall lifespan. Plus, they can outlast colder temperatures much easier than heat pumps can, which can be the final selling point for many people. Also, it’s good to note that not all heat pumps or furnaces are the same, and different types may cost more or less. That being said, as British Columbia has a more moderate climate throughout the year, a heat pump can aid you in saving significantly during the winter and summer, given how energy-efficient these systems are. Ultimately, it will come down to your preferences as a homeowner.
Do furnaces last longer than heat pumps?
While heat pumps are more energy efficient and often considered to be relatively reliable, furnaces tend to have a longer lifespan and will give homeowners a better investment for the time that the system lasts.
Of course, there is still plenty of variability depending on the type of system, how well it’s maintained, and other factors. Even with the best maintenance and repairs though, all systems will eventually run their course.
Is it worth replacing a gas furnace with a heat pump?
Overall, heat pumps are a more energy-efficient, ecologically friendly, and cost-effective alternative to furnaces (which run on gas and oil). They produce no hazardous byproducts and are powered by electricity. Because the heat pump also has a cooling function, replacing a gas furnace with a heat pump requires less annual maintenance because there aren’t two different systems that need to be maintained. Heat pumps can also cut your energy consumption by 30% to 60%, resulting in lower overall energy expenses.
At the same time, a heat pump may not be as efficient as a gas or electric furnace in keeping your home warm and pleasant in the winter. If you reside in a location where the temperature often falls below -10 degrees Celsius, your heat pump may be insufficient. You’ll likely need to still have a backup furnace to provide supplemental heat.
Not sure whether to replace your current furnace with a heat pump? The Comfort Group can help guide you toward the right choice for your needs, home, and budget! We are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, including after-hours, weekends, and holidays, at no additional cost to you! In addition, if you want to save money on a new furnace or heat pump, inquire about our present discounts and financing options! During your free, in-home consultation, you will also receive a complimentary new system purchase quote from one of our home comfort advisors! Contact us today!