You’re in the market for a new heating system for your Atlanta home and have it narrowed down to two options: heat pump or furnace. Which is the best option for keeping your Atlanta home warm this winter?
Each can heat your home effectively and keep you comfortable during the colder months, but each come with their own sets of advantages and disadvantages. Ultimately, the decision comes down to what is best for your home and unique needs.
Read on to learn how each system works, along with the benefits and potential drawbacks of each.
How Does a Heat Pump Work?
To heat your home, heat pumps remove heat from the air outside of your house using electricity and transfers it into your home. They’re comprised of two units: an exterior unit and an interior unit, which circulates warm air throughout your home.
Heat Pump Pros and Cons
Heat pumps have both advantages and disadvantages, including:
- Efficiency: Heat pumps don’t need a lot of electricity to heat your home. In fact, compared to furnaces, heat pumps reduce your electricity use for heating by approximately 50 percent.
- Eco-Friendly and Clean: Heat pumps run on electricity and never have to generate their own heat.
- Safety: Because they don’t burn fuel and require minimal electricity to move heat, heat pumps present no risk of fire or dangerous carbon monoxide leaks.
- Provides Cooling: Heat pumps are functionally air conditioners in reverse. For this reason, they can also cool your home in the summer by moving warm air from inside your home outside.
- Outdoor Temperature Limitations: Heat pumps are less efficient than furnaces when the outdoor temperature is much below 50 degrees.
- May Require Supplemental Heating: If the outdoor temperature drops too far below freezing, you may need a supplemental heat source such as electrical heat strips to keep your home warm.
- Lifespan: With proper routine maintenance, most heat pumps last around 10 to 15 years, which is around half as long as the typical furnace functions. This is because heat pumps are complex machines that typically endure more wear and tear from running most of the year, not just in the winter.
How Does a Furnace Work?
Whether gas, oil, or electric, a furnace is a standalone unit installed inside your home that uses fuel to generate heat in the unit’s heat exchanger, a metal chamber around which moving air flows. Once heated, warm air then circulates throughout your house via air ducts.
Furnace Pros and Cons
Consider these benefits and potential drawbacks of furnaces, including:
- Reliability: Because it makes its own heat, a furnace will heat your home in any condition regardless of outside temperature. No matter if it is 45 degrees or -5 degrees outside, a furnace will burn fuel and heat your home.
- Lifespan: Furnaces are less complicated machines than heat pumps, so tend to last longer. In fact, the average lifespan of a furnace is 15 years, but can be longer with good maintenance.
- Less maintenance: Most use a gas furnace for a few months out of each year and furnaces have fewer mechanical parts than a heat pump. In general, they have fewer maintenance requirements and malfunction less often.
- Efficiency: New furnaces operate at a minimum of 80 percent Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE). This means 80 percent of the fuel the furnace burns is considered useful heat, and the other 20 percent is wasted through your exhaust vent. Meanwhile, high-efficiency models can operate at as high as 98 percent AFUE.
- Safety: If you don’t schedule regular maintenance on your furnace, a gas leak or other malfunction could develop. Potential results include an explosion, fire or lethal carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Cleanliness: Furnaces produce heat through the process of gas combustion, which can produce soot and decrease your home’s indoor air quality.
- Doesn’t Provide Cooling: Furnaces can only heat air, unlike a heat pump. To cool your home in the summer, you’d also need to invest in an air conditioner.
We Can Help You Decide Between a Furnace or Heat Pump
If you need help choosing a heating system for your home, don’t hesitate to contact the HVAC professionals at Estes Services.
Call us today to schedule a free in-home consultation.
We assist homeowners throughout the Atlanta region, including Midtown, Buckhead, Fayetteville, Sandy Springs, Peachtree City and Virginia Highland. We also serve Marietta, Johns Creek, Dunwoody, Rowell, Decatur, Druid Hills and Kennesaw.