Whether you’re installing a heating system in a brand new house or replacing your existing heating unit, you should understand which type of heater is best for your home. Many homeowners assume a furnace is their only option, and though furnaces are undoubtedly popular, they’re not necessarily the best option for everyone.

Below, the experts at Steve’s Plumbing & Heating explain the pros and cons of furnaces and heat pumps to help you determine which heating system is right for you.

Furnace Advantages

Furnaces can operate using gas, oil, or electricity, depending on system type. They produce warmth through a metal heat exchanger, which transfers heat to the air that passes through the unit. As the air moves through the heat exchanger and becomes warm, a blower motor and a fan then push the heated air into a network of air ducts and out through various vents around the home.

If you’re thinking about installing a furnace in your home, consider the advantages of this type of heating system, which include:

●        Ductwork. The ducts that circulate heat from a furnace can also circulate cold air from a cooling system.

●        No plumbing. Since a furnace doesn’t use water to create heat, there’s zero risk of frozen pipes or leaks that can interrupt heating performance.

●        Cost. Of all the heating systems in this article, a furnace is the least expensive to install. Generally, furnace repair and furnace replacement are also reasonable in comparison to the cost of repairing or replacing other heating systems.

Furnace Drawbacks

Despite the widespread popularity of household furnaces, they’re not without a few potential drawbacks. Again, if you’re considering installing this type of heating system in your home, consider the disadvantages, too, which include:

●        Air movement. Since a furnace heats a home by circulating forced air through ductwork and vents, it can produce heat that feels somewhat drafty. In some homes, furnace heat may also be inconsistent from room to room.

●        Air filters. For optimal performance, every furnace requires routine maintenance and frequent air filter replacement. In most households, filters should be replaced every 90 days. However, in households with allergy sufferers or pets, filters may need to be changed more often.

●        Allergens. Without routine cleaning, ductwork can harbor large amounts of dust, dander, pollen, dust mites, mold, and other allergens. As such, this type of heating system may not be the most suitable option for allergy sufferers. 

Heat Pump Advantages

There are three types of heat pumps: air source, water source, and ground source (geothermal). All of them work by collecting and transferring heat from one place to another, but each type of pump transfers heat from a different source.

Air source pumps transfer heat between the air inside and outside of a home. Water source pumps transfer heat from a body of water outside of the home, through a network of pipes, and into the air inside the home. Ground source pumps transfer heat from the ground outside a home into the air inside a home.

Because each type of heat pump operates using the same basic principles, they share similar advantages. If you’re contemplating a heat pump installation in your home, consider their benefits, which include:

●        Energy efficiency. Heat pumps are highly energy efficient because they collect heat rather than produce it. Under ideal conditions, they can transfer up to 300% percent more energy than they use to operate.

●        No central cooling necessary. A heat pump doesn’t just collect and transfer heat into a home; it also cools the home by collecting and transferring heat out of it. Essentially, it eliminates the need for central air conditioning.

●        Functions as a water heater. Many new models of geothermal heat pumps have a secondary heat exchanger and pump called a desuperheater. This component pulls water from a home’s water heater, pumps it through the heat exchanger to warm it, and then transfers the hot water back into the water heater tank. A desuperheater should be used as a secondary water heater, not a sole source of hot water.

Heat Pump Drawbacks

Heat pumps may be an attractive heating option for those looking to improve their household energy efficiency, but they’re not without a few drawbacks. This is especially true for homeowners in cold climates. Potential disadvantages include:

●        Supplemental heating may be necessary. Homes in very cold climates will need some form of supplemental heating for the coldest months of the year. Heat pumps do not provide adequate heating when outside temperatures fall below 25 degrees Fahrenheit.

●        HVAC equipment may be necessary. Certain types of heat pumps require air-handling units and a compressor/condenser.

●        High cost. Heat pump installation can be pricey, but because this type of heating system is highly efficient, the long-term energy savings ultimately offset the setup costs.

Talk to a Heating and Cooling Expert Today

Is it time to replace your existing heating system? Do you need to install a heating system in a new house? Get in touch with our team at Steve’s Plumbing & Heating today. We specialize in the installation, repair, and replacement of furnaces, heat pumps, and boilers, along with a wide range of other heating and plumbing services for Central Wisconsin residents. To learn more, get an estimate, or schedule an appointment, give our Wisconsin Rapids office a call today at 715-421-1800 or contact us online.