Heat Pumps or Gas Furnaces: Which Are Better for Winter Heating?

Furnace and Heat Pump in Spring, TX

Homeowners all over the Spring, TX, area know that it gets cold enough here in the winter to make heating necessary. However, they don’t always agree on the best way to heat their homes. Some swear by their tried-and-true gas furnaces, while others insist that heat pumps are a better option. The truth is, however, that both options have strengths and weaknesses. Here are the pros and cons of both heating options so you can come to your own conclusion.

Furnace Advantages and Disadvantages

Modern gas furnaces are among the most efficient home heating systems available. At a minimum, a gas furnace sold today must have an AFUE rating of 80, meaning that it converts 80% of the fuel it uses into heat for your home. However, it’s possible to find furnaces that are 98.5% efficient, too.

On top of their efficiency, gas furnaces are a mature technology that’s relatively easy to maintain. They’re also quite reliable, and it’s reasonable to expect between 15 and 20 years of reliable heating from a new gas furnace.

Gas furnaces aren’t perfect, though. Since they burn natural gas or propane to heat your home, there’s always the possibility of a gas leak. Also, a malfunction in a gas furnace could lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide in your home. If you don’t catch it in time, it could be fatal to everyone inside your home. Fortunately, though, such problems are very uncommon, and most gas furnaces operate safely throughout their lifetimes.

Heat Pump Advantages and Disadvantages

Although gas furnaces are quite efficient, they’re nothing compared to heat pumps. An air-source heat pump can be as much as 300% efficient. That means it will produce 3 units of heat for every unit of electricity it consumes. The secret to that efficiency is that heat pumps don’t use fuel or electricity to produce heat, except when it’s extremely cold outside.

Heat pumps capture available heat energy from the outdoor air and carry it indoors to heat your home. The electricity a heat pump uses merely powers that process. As a result, heat pumps have very low operating costs compared to gas furnaces.
Another advantage of a heat pump is that it can cool your home in the summer. That means having a single HVAC system to use in all seasons. That can lower your household HVAC maintenance costs and help you recoup more of your initial costs over time.

One of the main disadvantages of heat pumps is their initial installation costs, which can be higher than that of a gas furnace. Also, if your home doesn’t have enough insulation, a heat pump might struggle to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. This is because heat pumps don’t generate air that’s quite as hot as a furnace might. That makes them less adept at overcoming cold drafts and other heat losses in your home. They work best when you set them at a single temperature and leave it there for the duration of the heating season.

Choosing Between Furnaces and Heat Pumps

In truth, both furnaces and heat pumps are excellent ways to heat your home. So, there’s nothing wrong with choosing either solution, depending on your personal preferences. If your home already has a gas furnace and it needs replacing, it’s often cheaper and simpler to buy a new furnace.

However, if you want a heating solution that offers maximum efficiency, you can’t beat a heat pump. Plus, since we typically don’t have very cold winters here in Spring, TX, heat pumps work especially well here. You’ll just need to have a professional installer make certain that your home’s insulation will support the use of a heat pump. If not, you’ll need to resolve the issue first.

Trust the Home Heating Specialists

The best news about all of this is the fact that no matter which option you choose, North Point Air Conditioning & Heating can help you install it. We’ve served the Spring, TX, area since 1978, and offer complete heating, cooling, and insulation services throughout the area. So, whether you opt for a new furnace or a heat pump, or if you’d like to keep the heating system you have operating at peak efficiency, North Point Air Conditioning & Heating is the place to turn.

For all of your furnace and heat pump installation and service needs, contact North Point Air Conditioning & Heating today!

Warning Signs of Furnace Replacement

Furnace Replacement in Spring, TX

As summer comes to a close, the condition of your furnace should be on your mind. That’s because people often tend to forget that they’ve had their furnace for years, and it may be time for an upgrade.

When your furnace begins to malfunction, it’s important to know the warning signs that indicate it’s at the end of its lifespan. These signs are sometimes obvious but often vague. So, to help you deduce the condition of your furnace, here are eight warning signs it’s time for a replacement.

1. Yellow Furnace Flame

Leaks and increased carbon monoxide could cause the flame coming from your burner to turn yellow. Ideally, the flame coming from your burner should be blue. So when your furnace flame turns yellow is not only a likely cause for a replacement but also potentially dangerous.

2. Rust

After years of wear and tear, your furnace could begin to develop rust or cracks. While it may not immediately cause your furnace to fail, it is a sure sign that it may be time to start considering an upgrade. Talk to a specialist about the symptoms of erosion and have them assist you in installing a new furnace.

3. Varying Temperatures

The inconsistency of temperatures in your home is another reason why you may want to consider a replacement. The temperature in your home should remain relatively consistent once you program your temperature setting. If you notice dips in your home’s temperature, there could potentially be a major issue with your furnace.

If the temperature changes from room to room, there are also several possible issues. Depending on the cause of the temperature changes, your furnace may only need a repair. However, your furnace may no longer be capable of heating your entire home.

4. Your Furnace Is Getting Old

Keeping up with the maintenance and repairs for your furnace could allow it to reach the peak of its lifespan. You can expect your furnace to last 15-20 years. Once you’ve approached the 15-year mark, it’s a sign that you should at least begin to search for a replacement. Also, the chance for increasing repairs becomes higher with each passing year, so it may soon become an expensive burden.

5. Loud Noises

The noises your furnace makes will tell you when something is seriously wrong. Strange sounds like popping, humming, and screeching indicate issues that will likely need repair soon or a replacement. Sounds like loud booming can be a sign that your furnace has a gas emission issue and is potentially dangerous to be around.

6. Increasing Bills

Anytime your energy bill begins to show an unusual increase, it’s a sign that there is an efficiency issue. That’s why it is necessary to keep track of how much you’re spending to keep your house warm. A steady increase will tell you that you have a potentially worsening issue that may or may not need a replacement.

Larger jumps in the amount you pay on your energy bill are a bit more alarming. Although several issues could cause a significant increase in your bill, they all point to the possibility that it might be time to replace your furnace with a new one.

7. Soot

Carbon dioxide has a higher chance of being produced by your furnace the older it becomes. When this becomes an issue, you may begin to see dust and soot around the air duct cover that regulates airflow, called the register. You may also see it on the grille and in other areas around your home.

8. Continuous Repairs

Another sign that you should replace your furnace is the increasing number of repairs needed. If you’ve noticed that your furnace is needing repairs more often over the last few months or years, that means that wear and tear have finally taken its hold. Perhaps you should put that money to more cost-effective use.

Upgrade Your Furnace

Located right off Rayford Road in Houston, North Point Air Conditioning & Heating has been serving the community for over 40 years. We know how to handle all of your heating, cooling and indoor air quality needs with efficiency and professionalism. Our stance on how we do business is trust, integrity, and customer satisfaction. That means that when you have your furnace needs taken care of by us, you’re in good hands. So, if you feel that you may require a furnace installment or repair, call us today.