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Are Heat Pumps Really More Energy Efficient Than Furnaces?

Heat pumps vs. furnaces; for a long time in the HVAC industry, debate has gone on about the differences between these two systems. Yet one way in which heat pumps have gained an edge is through their supposed efficiency.

While it’s not inaccurate to say that heat pumps are more energy efficient than furnaces, it is somewhat of an oversimplification. Traditional furnaces usually run on gas or oil, using fuel to heat your home. Heat pumps, meanwhile, operate sort of like a reverse air conditioner, heating your space by transferring hot air outside into your house. Because furnaces require limited maintenance and need little electricity, they traditionally operate with efficiency ratings in the mid to high-90 percentiles. Heat pumps, conversely, tend to be more expensive to maintain, as well as install, and they use a lot more electricity.

So, conversation over, right? Furnaces are actually way more efficient. Except here’s the thing: heat pumps are often the superior choice in in places like Florida, because of the warmer temperatures here. Gas furnaces tend to be more common in colder climates, where indoor spaces require more heat. Yet in markets where gas or oil are cheaper, or the weather is hotter, you may get a lot more bang for your buck with a heat pump, as your system won’t have to push itself to heat your whole home.

Because heat pumps don’t rely on a traditional fuel source, and because they don’t generate as much heat, their efficiency levels are ridiculously high. In fact, some systems have tested up to 300% for overall energy efficiency.

There’s also the environmental aspect to consider when discussing efficiency. Because heat pumps rely on electricity, rather than gas, they are generally the greener choice, and preferred by homeowners trying to cut down on their energy emissions.  

Here’s a very basic way to think about it: because heat pumps don’t require a traditional fuel source, they expend less energy. Because they expend less energy, they don’t heat as much of your space. However, because they don’t have to work as hard to heat your space, they are also far more efficient.

It might sound like the choice here is between more heat and less efficiency and more efficiency and less heat, but the good news is that both heat pump and furnace technologies are getting more energy efficient all the time. While furnaces continue to provide more heat than is required in the state of Florida, it’s not worth going out and replacing one with a heat pump either, as long as your unit still works well. And although your heat pump may seem to cost you more in maintenance and electricity, your dollar is going a lot further when it comes to the price of heating.

Fortunately, whatever system you have, our Palm Beach County HVAC experts at Phoenix Air Conditioning, LLC are here to serve you. From heater repair, to heater installation, to heater replacement, our skilled technicians have got you covered. Florida may be warm, but if when it comes to heating, it’s better to have it than to be in danger without it.

Call now for heat pump and furnace work at (561) 270-6181, or click here to request service online.