Gas Furnaces vs. Heat Pumps

If it’s time to shop for a heating equipment replacement, you want to research carefully and compare your options. Two popular methods for heating homes in Virginia Beach are gas furnaces and heat pumps. But, which one is right for your home? Compare the benefits of each one to help you decide:

Gas Furnaces

Gas furnaces are the most common type of heating equipment in the US. The benefits of choosing a furnace over a heat pump include:

  • Efficient operation at low temperatures – Furnaces convert a combustible fuel source into heat for your home. Their performance doesn’t suffer when the temperature drops outside, unlike heat pumps that are less energy-efficient when temperatures dip below freezing outside.
  • No need to defrost – All furnace components are located indoors, so they are never exposed to the elements. Heat pumps go into defrost mode when ice begins to form on the outdoor condenser, which redirects heat that belongs in your home back to the outside. This important function keeps the heat pump working well, but it involves temporarily abandoning your home. This is not the case with a furnace, which expends all its energy heating your home.
  • Hot temperatures at all times – If you love resting your toes on supply registers to warm them up, a furnace is right for you. It produces nice, hot air at all times for quick recovery periods and a warm, cozy environment. This is compared to a heat pump that produces a more lukewarm temperature to gradually increase the indoor temperatures.

Heat Pumps

While not as common as their furnace counterparts, heat pumps offer some tremendous benefits over furnaces. These include:

  • Year-round comfort – In the winter, heat pumps extract warmth from outdoor air and deposit it into your home. They also work in reverse to pull heat from your home during the summer and exhaust it outdoors. In this way, you only need one piece of HVAC equipment for all four seasons.
  • Safer operation – While it’s uncommon for a furnace to ever start a fire or leak carbon monoxide into the living space, these dangers don’t exist at all with heat pumps. This is because they use electricity to heat and cool your home, not a combustible fuel source. With no open flames or fumes to vent, heat pumps boast an impressive safety record.
  • Unmatched energy efficiency – When the temperature is relatively mild outside, heat pumps extract enough heat for your home to run at 300 to 400 percent efficiency! This is possible because the heat pump only consumes one unit of electricity for every three to four units of heat it pumps into your home. Efficiency only drops when the temperature dips and the backup electric resistance heater comes on to ensure continued warmth even with bitter outdoor conditions.

The varying benefits of furnaces and heat pumps make it clear why some homeowners prefer one over the other. If you’re still deciding which option is right for you, contact American Mechanical today for more information!


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