During the winter months, you want to make sure that you have a reliable system for your home. But, how do you know which heating system is best for your home? Here at O’Brien Service Company, we offer many different options to heat your home. Two of the more popular heating systems are a heat pump or a furnace. When you hear those two systems, many people aren’t aware of what the differences are between a heat pump and a furnace. Here is a description of each, and how they vary from each other.
To learn the difference between a heat pump and a furnace, first, you must learn the basics of each system. A heat pump is a cooling and heating system that matches an outdoor condenser with an indoor unit called an air handler. While a furnace is a system that will only heat your home. It will need to be matched with a cooling system for the warmer months. Heat pumps use electricity to run and heat your home. While furnaces use electricity to run and another source such as gas, or oil to provide heat to your home.
Which one is more efficient to operate? In different instances, a heat pump can be either cheaper or more expensive to run. A heat pump doesn’t generate heat, it only transfers it. So, as the outside temperature goes down the efficiency of the system drops as well. Therefore, if you live in a climate with mild winters, and a heat pump can handle heating your home to the desired temperature it will be more efficient than a furnace. However, if you like your home extra warm or live in a colder climate a heat pump may not be able to keep up. The heat strips (emergency or auxiliary heat) will have to assist your heat pump to heat your home. This uses more energy and will cost more.
The outdoor temperature does not affect a furnace’s efficiency since it produces heat by burning gas or oil to heat your home. Meaning, they can be more efficient than a heat pump that is running on auxiliary heat. For the most part, because our temperatures are pretty mild in Wilmington NC, a heat pump should be able to efficiently provide enough heat for your home.
Which system will last longer? Because a heat pump is used to heat and cool a home the lifespan can be a little shorter than a furnace. If a furnace or a heat pump is properly maintained both will provide you years of efficient service.
Dual Fuel Systems
Can’t decide which system you like better, choose both! Trane offers dual fuel systems. You can use a heat pump to cool and heat your home, and the furnace will assist in heating your home when the temperature is unreachable by the heat pump alone.
Both systems do a great job of keeping your home toasty during the cold winter months. As mentioned above a heat pump and a furnace have different benefits. When deciding between them, make sure you have an O’Brien professional to help you choose the best system for your home. We offer complimentary in-home evaluations when it’s time to replace your heating system.