Furnace vs. Heat Pump: Which Should You Choose?
Purchasing any type of new appliance for your home is always an important decision. A new heating system is no exception, even in a warm area like Bastrop, TX. The Texas winters can get surprisingly chilly, and when the cold weather arrives, having a reliable heating appliance is a must. But how do you decide which type of heating system to buy? Between gas-powered furnaces, electric furnaces, and heat pumps, there are several popular options worth considering. All of these appliances offer certain pros and cons, and there’s not necessarily a wrong answer. However, one type of system may turn out to be a better fit for your household than the others. We’ll take a closer look at the main differences and similarities between heat pumps and furnaces. And with a clearer picture of your available choices, you can make the best possible decision for you and your family.
Creating Heat vs. Absorbing Heat
The first thing that’s important to realize about heat pumps and furnaces is that they’re fundamentally different in how they provide heat. Furnaces create new heat, which they then distribute around the house. Gas-powered furnaces create heat by igniting fuel, whereas electric furnaces blow air over a hot element. Heat pumps, on the other hand, absorb existing heat from outside using coils and refrigerant. Then, they move that warmth around the house. This may seem like a minor distinction, but it can make a pretty huge difference when comparing the performance and efficiency of these two types of heating systems.
The Climate Matters
Before deciding which type of heating system to purchase, it’s always prudent to consider the climate of your area. Particularly when it comes to heat pumps, the environment can have a major impact on the appliance’s effectiveness and energy efficiency. Because heat pumps work by pulling heat from outdoors, they aren’t as reliable in climates with extremely cold temperatures. When there’s less warmth outside, it’s much harder for the heat pump to absorb enough of it to heat an entire home. That leads to subpar comfort. In very cold climates, it’s usually advisable to purchase a furnace instead of a heat pump. Furnaces keep you warm even in freezing temperatures.
In an area like Bastrop, you shouldn’t need to worry about freezing temperatures negatively affecting your heat pump. In fact, because the climate is so warm, a heat pump should be able to run very efficiently all year long.
Which Appliance Is More Efficient?
Typically, one of the most important factors to consider in an HVAC appliance is energy efficiency. If you purchase a heating system with below-average efficiency, it will end up costing you quite a bit of extra money on electricity bills down the road. So, will a heat pump or a furnace provide you with better efficiency? In an area like Bastrop, the answer is almost certainly a heat pump.
Since heat pumps simply absorb heat instead of creating it, they don’t require as much energy to do their jobs. Most electric furnaces are significantly more energy-efficient than gas-powered furnaces. However, the majority of heat pumps still have both of them beat. Over the course of several years, the difference between having a heat pump and a furnace can equal several thousand dollars of money saved. Of course, multiple factors can impact a heating unit’s efficiency. For example, if you don’t take good care of your heat pump, it won’t retain its efficiency. On average, though, your heating bills will be significantly lower with a heat pump than with a furnace.
Which Appliance Costs More?
For most homeowners, the cost of buying a new appliance and having it installed is an important consideration. A brand-new heating unit is a big investment, and saving even a few hundred dollars can feel like a pretty big deal. And although heat pumps and furnaces are often close in price, there can sometimes be a large difference.
For a heat pump, the average price is between $4,000 and $7,500 to purchase one and have it installed. Typically, the models with the best efficiency ratings and the most features will be on the higher end of this range. As for a gas-powered furnace, the average price range is around $2,250 to $4,000. Finally, a furnace powered by electricity will typically cost anywhere from $1,200 to $6,000. As you can tell, the prices of these appliances vary quite a bit depending on their quality and efficiency. In most cases, though, you’ll need to spend more for a quality heat pump. However, there’s a good chance you’ll recoup much of that money through energy savings over time.
What About Cooling?
Heat pumps offer one significant advantage that many homeowners are unaware of. Despite what they’re called, heat pumps are not just heating systems; they can also work as air conditioners. When you have a heat pump, you can easily switch it to cooling mode as soon as the Texas weather starts heating up. That will cause the flow of refrigerant to be reversed within the system. So, instead of pulling in heat from outside, the unit will start taking heat from inside and expelling it from the house. Essentially, it works just like a standard AC unit. This means that if you buy a heat pump, you don’t need to worry about spending more money on a separate air conditioner. Additionally, you only have one system taking up space in your house.
Which System Makes More Noise?
If keeping your home quiet and peaceful is important to you and your family, you may want to consider the noise levels of these different heating systems. Typically, furnaces are very quiet. When a furnace is running smoothly, you usually won’t hear anything aside from the soft sound of whooshing air. And if you do start hearing loud noises, it’s a strong indicator that the appliance needs professional attention. Heat pumps are considerably noisier. Even when your heat pump is in good health, you’ll probably hear clicking and knocking sounds regularly. For some people, this can become extremely annoying. However, other people get used to it quickly. Either way, it’s something you should be aware of before making a purchase.
So, is a heat pump or a furnace the right choice for your Bastrop area home? There’s no denying that a heat pump can offer some significant advantages, and it should function smoothly and efficiently in the Texas climate. However, if you prefer a quiet appliance that you can have installed cheaply, a furnace will be a fine option as well. Ultimately, either system should serve you well; it depends on your priorities.
At Blue Ribbon Cooling & Heating, we offer indoor air quality services as well as heating and air conditioning installation, maintenance and repair services in the greater Bastrop area. Our expert technicians can install your brand-new heat pump or furnace. And as the appliance ages, we’ll service and repair it as needed, too! To learn more about our services or schedule an appointment, contact us at Blue Ribbon Cooling & Heating today.