A common question asked of heating engineers is. What is best a Furnace or Heat Pump? The answer depends on the property the heating system will be installed in. Many factors can determine the most effective heat pump for a property. These include, the location and size of the property. The fuel supplying the heating system and even the type of soil on the property. When deciding on the best heat heat pump or furnace there is a lot to consider.
Where will the heating unit be installed?
The location of a property is very important when deciding on the best heating unit to install. If a property is in a location with a constant climate, that does not require excessive heating or cooling. Then a heat pump is the best and most economical choice.
If a property is In a cold weather climate then a good engineer will recommend a fossil fuel burning furnace. If a home is in a warmer climate then other factors need to be taken into consideration before recommending an economical option.
The only way an engineer can make a true determination and recommend the most economical option. Is through conducting a site visit.
Types Of Heat Pumps
Air Source Heat Pumps –Air source pumps have been used in properties all over the US. Until recently air source pumps had been seen as less effective used in properties based in cooler climates. Recent improvements mean some newer heat pumps are now effective.
Gas Furnace Ground Source Heat Pumps – These pumps should be used in properties located in areas with extensive sub zero freezing temperatures. Ground Source or Water source heat pumps are more effective in colder climates. A geothermal heat pump will reduce energy use by approximately 60%. A geothermal heat pump can only be used if the ground is not rocky and the lot the property is on, is of a sufficient size.
Technicians should check the soil type and lot size prior to making any recommendation for a geothermal heat pump.
Best Heating recommendations for Alternative Scenarios
A heat pump is not suitable for use in manufactured mobile homes. For a mobile home a specially designed system would have to be used. If installing a heating system in a mobile home. A particular type of duct system and specially designed vents will need to be used.
The Age of an existing Gas furnace
For gas furnaces manufactured before 1992. It is highly recommended that an upgrade is provided. Older gas systems are far less economical and will be costing a home owner significantly more in heating bills.
At first the cost of installing a new gas system will seem prohibitive to home owners due to the initial costs. Engineer should explain to home owners how in the long term a new heating unit will be much more cost effective. This is due to how economical they are. Engineers should show a home owner the savings that can be generated. Due to the significant reduction a home owner will see in energy bills. Installing an energy efficient gas furnace will save home owners a great deal of money each month on their utility bills.
A gas furnace manufactured before 1992 have an efficiency rate of less than 72%. Due to regulation changes the efficiency requirement of a gas furnace manufactured between 1992 and 2012. Are 78% more efficient than a furnace manufactured before 1992. These standards have been updated to 80% efficiency after 2012. Many new models of gas furnace exceed these minimum requirements with many achieving an efficiency rate of up to 98.5%. This increase in efficiency will give home owners extremely large savings each month on their utility bills.
Electric Only Homes
An electric furnace will not be as economical as a gas furnace. An electric furnace is highly efficient. But much more expensive to run than a gas furnace due to energy costs. As electricity must generate heat the costs are higher.
If a home owner has a preference to heat using electricity. A heat pump should always be recommended. The heat pump is the budget friendly choice for heating units that are powered through the use of electricity.
Natural Gas, Propane, or Oil Furnaces
For the cleanest burning of fossil fuels. A natural gas furnace should be used. Natural gas is more cost effective for home owners. During the peak months of energy use. The price of propane and oil will fluctuate making them more expensive than gas.
Natural Gas, Propane, or Oil Furnaces are all more expensive than using electricity. However they should be recommended for properties based in a cold weather climate. As they will heat the property more effectively than a gas option.
Size Of The Home
The size of a home will determine the correct size of heating unit to be installed. If a home has a larger living space. Then a larger unit is required. This will involve more duct work. But the use of a larger unit will provide a more comfortable and constant temperature through out the home. A smaller unit will have to work much harder to provide a constant heat through out the home. This will use more energy and be less cost effective for the home owner.
A larger unit will involve a higher initial cost for the home owner. But a larger unit will give the home owner significant saving on the cost of utility bills from day one. If a home owner complains that the temperature is not constant, leaving certain rooms colder than others. Then a larger unit with additional blowers should be recommended.
A well educated and informed heating engineer will be able to reassure a customer on the best type of heating unit to use. Technicians should be able to discus the local climate, environmental factors and the best type of fuel that should be used to power the furnace.
A good engineer should explain to a customer the long term savings that can be achieved through installing the correct heating system using the most cost effective fuel source for their needs.