Have you ever wondered why some Houston homes have heat pumps, and others have furnaces? Which option is best for your home? Count on Air Specialist to help you compare the benefits and drawbacks of a heat pump vs. a furnace so that you can make an informed decision. Let’s explore the main differences between the two and look at their cost and efficiency when it comes to keeping you warm.
What is a heat pump?
A heat pump uses electricity to draw warmth from the outside air and transfer it inside. It consists of two components, an outdoor unit, and an indoor unit. The outdoor unit’s coils contain a refrigerant, absorbing heat and turning it from liquid to gas. The gas is then compressed inside the heat pump’s compressor, making it hotter. From there, the gas moves to the indoor unit coils, where the air circulates, producing the necessary heat to make your home comfortable.
As a bonus, most heat pumps work as air conditioners in the summer. Instead of bringing heat into the home, the unit pulls heat out of the indoor air, expelling it outdoors. Refrigerant gets hotter as it turns from liquid to gas in the winter now works in the opposite direction, condensing into a liquid used to cool your home.
What is a furnace?
A furnace relies on fuel — usually natural gas — to generate heat in your home. Your furnace includes a burner, or pilot light, which ignites the natural gas and sends it to something called a “heat exchanger.” Air is blown over the heat exchanger, making it nice and warm before it’s dispersed throughout your home by a blower fan. An electric furnace skips the pilot light and instead sends electricity through coils, heating the air before sending it into the living spaces of your home.
OK, so which one is better?
Well, that depends. A heat pump is more energy-efficient, especially in Houston, where temperatures are usually mild and stay above the freezing mark. Heat pumps continue to work in freezing temperatures, but they must work harder to pull the heat from the frigid outdoors, which raises energy costs. Heat pumps are cleaner than furnaces because they don’t burn fuel to produce heat, better for the environment.
On the other hand, Furnaces are good at warming up your home with cozy forced air. Heat pumps are usually less expensive than furnaces, but furnaces have a longer lifespan and typically need less maintenance. Furnaces tend to be quieter than heat pumps, too.
I’m still confused. Which one should I get?
We’re glad you asked. Some decisions require input from a professional, and Air Specialist is here to help you determine which heating option is best for you. If you’re in the market for a new HVAC system, call Air Specialist now at (713) 481-1305 or schedule an appointment online. With over 50 years of experience in the Houston area, Air Specialist is your heating and cooling expert.