What is a Heat Pump?

Heat Pump Cost and Efficiency

Purchasing a new central heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system is a rare and exciting decision. A new home or the remodeling of an existing home are occasions for this purchase. However, the most common reason for purchasing a new HVAC system is the replacement of an existing system.

From experience, we know that furnaces will remain useful for about 20 to 25 years, a good long time. However, a declining system can be very frustrating and unpredictable. Too many homeowners wait too long and try to repair an efficient, ailing system, requiring an emergency replacement.

During emergencies, decisions are made in haste of necessity, and a decision is made with only partial information. Here is further information, should you have more time to choose.

Three Central Heat Choices

Natural Gas Furnaces. Fire is an obvious choice for producing heat, and natural gas is the most abundant and efficient source of flame. Natural gas burns at 3,560 degrees Fahrenheit inside of a chamber called a heat exchanger.

A blower motor pushes plenty of air around the heat exchanger and inside the house. When the desired temperature is achieved, combustion stops, and air pushes the last bit of heat into the house.

Electric Furnaces. Electric furnaces use resistance rather than a flame. Good conductors, like copper, allow the free flow of electrons, but the heating element in electric furnaces uses an alloy designed to slow the flow of electrons.

This is called resistance, and resistance creates tremendous heat. A blower motor pushes a lot of air across the elements, and the warm air enters the home.

Heat Pump Furnaces. Understanding a heat pump furnace starts with understanding the air conditioning. It seems that air conditioners bring cool air into a home, but in reality, air conditioners move hot air from the inside to the outside.

Less heat equals cool. A heat pump furnace uses the same equipment and reverses the process; it moves heat from the outdoors to the indoors. The heat is collected in a chamber, and the blower motor pushes the heat into the home.

The Efficiency of Each Choice

The Cost of Each Choice

The cost of heating from each source depends upon the availability/cost of natural gas and electricity. In this region, natural gas is less expensive than electricity for heating.

The equipment and installation costs of natural gas systems are higher than that of electric systems.

Heat pump components are also the air conditioning components: the only additional equipment is a reversing valve. Heat pump components and installation do not affect the cost of either system.

If you are considering purchasing a dual-fuel furnace system, consider including a Smart thermostat that will toggle between the two furnace types depending on the outdoor temperature.

Interested in learning more about a heat pump, Northwind AC can help!

Northwind Air Conditioning and Heat can help you with your new heat pump installation and repair needs. Contact us and get the help you need.


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