Basics on Heat Pumps Versus Furnaces

The furnace remains the most common and reliable provider of basic warmth to homes and buildings everywhere, but modern technology has introduced a few interesting alternatives. One such option is the heat pump, which works very differently from a furnace and may provide better efficiency for people in some situations.

At All Hours Plumbing, our HVAC services include a full range of heating and cooling installations and repairs. Let’s go over some of the ways heat pumps differ from standard furnaces in the ways they work, plus why we don’t recommend heat pumps for the colder Utah climate during the winter.

Furnace Vs Heat Pump Functionality

The vast majority of homes and buildings that require heating in North America receive it through a furnace, which operates using forced-air technology and is generally powered by either gas or electricity. Gas furnaces use sealed combustion chambers to create their heat, while electric models use heating elements similar to those you’d find in a space heater – just with more power. In both cases, a basic fan is then used to circulate this warm air through your vent and duct network.

A heat pump, on the other hand, functions very differently. It still uses a forced-air format, but the goal here isn’t to create any new heat whatsoever. Rather, heat pumps are designed to pull heat from outside air – even if there isn’t a ton of warmth in that air overall. The heat it pulls will then be condensed and pumped into the home using a fan similar to those found on a furnace. Alternative heat pump formats use geothermal energy to pull air from below the ground through a circuit of pipes.

Cooler Temperatures

If you’re considering a heat pump for your Utah home or building, you may want to think again. This is because climate plays a big role in the effectiveness of a heat pump – in colder temperatures, heat pumps simply aren’t as efficient despite their ability to pull warmth from seemingly cold air. Many models come with additional heat sources that kick in when the cold air isn’t providing enough, but this dramatically lowers efficiency.

Utah isn’t the coldest state in the union, but it’s also not a tropical paradise during winter. Heat pumps are liable to cost you far more than a basic furnace would, and they often lead to significant maintenance issues due to more wear and tear being placed on the pipe system. These systems absolutely may have benefits in certain places, but in this climate, we don’t recommend them.

Speak to the Pros

If you’re thinking about heat pumps or any other alternative form of heating or cooling for your home, always be sure to speak to our pros in advance. We can give you professional advice on whether a given system or technology makes sense given you HVAC needs and preferences.

To learn more about this or any of our heating and air services, speak to the staff at All Hours Plumbing today.

2018-10-30T09:20:50+00:00November 20th, 2018|Blog|