For decades in the U.S., the entire HVAC industry has been dominated by furnaces and air conditioning units. However, nowadays there are a lot of different options for consumers. Chief among these new innovations is the heat pump. In this blog, we’ll explain how heat pumps work and why they might be worth it for your home.
How Does It Work?
Heat pumps transfer heat between outdoors and indoors. They use electricity and refrigerant lines to transfer heat between two separate, but connected units. This allows the system to heat and cool your home depending on which direction the heat is moving.
Heat pumps are able to compete as an option against established systems like furnaces and air conditioning because of their unique benefits. We want to go over some of them, so you can see where heat pumps shine when compared to the more established systems.
Cheaper to Run
Heat pumps will generally save you money on a week-to-week basis. As it turns out, it is much easier to transfer heat than it is to generate it, essentially from scratch. Furnaces, for example, often waste money on generated heat that never really transfers to your home. Until recently, it was common for furnaces to only be about 50% fuel-efficient. Even with a top-of-the-line furnace, you will end up wasting some energy with ductwork which many heat pumps don’t even need in the first place. This energy efficiency is also great for the environment because it leads to fewer emissions overall.
Furnaces are slightly more risky to have in your home. The primary reasons for this are gas leaks and carbon monoxide as well. These can show up due to poor maintenance or sometimes at random. Whether you have a furnace or not, it’s a good idea to keep your carbon monoxide detectors up to date.
However, heat pumps are not the perfect solution for every family. This is why the other options are still so common. We want you to feel comfortable in whichever decision you make for your new installation.
Large Installation Costs
Across most home services industries, it costs more to install more efficient units. It’s true in this case as well. Heat pumps are a bit more difficult to install than some more traditional units.
Lack of Power
Heat pumps can only transfer heat. This is why they aren’t quite as powerful as a furnace, which burns fuel to create heat. In horribly cold weather, heat pumps can have a difficult time extracting heat from the air and transferring it. Something like a blizzard or a prolonged cold snap might be tough to get through if you only have a heat pump. Still, even a cold winter can be overcome by a heat pump, it will just take more time than a powerful furnace.
Overall, heat pumps are a solid choice. It has added functionality in the summer months, especially if you don’t have an air conditioner in your home. Even in winter, a heat pump can keep your home just as warm as a furnace if you’re willing to wait a bit longer for the system.
Essig Plumbing & Heating is here as an essential business for the community during this time. If you’re interested in a heat pump, or a traditional furnace, we’d love to help set you up. Feel free to give us a call at (610) 557-3302 or fill out an online contact form to set up an appointment for any of your plumbing or HVAC needs.