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!