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Cool Touch Air Conditioning and Heating Blog

The Heat Pump vs. The Electric Furnace

Deciding on central heating can be tricky for some homeowners. The most common type of heating system used in the country is the natural gas furnace, but this is not an option for the many homes in our area which do not have natural gas. For many decades, the only alternative was to have an electric furnace put in. But now the heat pump, which serves as both an air conditioner and a heater in a single installation, offers a different option. 

So, is there a clear winner between these two choices when it comes to home heating in Mesa, AZ?

The simple answer is no, and that’s because no two households have the same requirements. But we can make it clear what the two systems excel at, which can help you focus on what may be best for you. We recommend you always work with professionals before making a final decision—our professional installers will see that they put in the system that works best for you.

Heat Pumps Are Good at Saving Money

A heat pump is a heat transfer system. It doesn’t consume fuel to generate heat, but instead uses electricity to power components that move heat from one place to another. In heating mode, a heat pump is moving heat from outside to inside. 

This is an inexpensive way to provide comfort to a house, especially in the mild winter climates of Arizona. The heat pump has access to plenty of thermal energy outside on even our coldest days, and it doesn’t have to work as hard to raise the indoor temperature. A heat pump can use up to 50% less electricity compared to direct heating through the electrical resistance of an electric furnace.

Electric Furnaces Are Good at Delivering High Heating Levels

An electric furnace can reach a higher level of heating than a heat pump, usually delivering air that’s heated to 120°F. (This doesn’t mean it will make the house 120°F, because it quickly disperses.) A heat pump, by comparison, delivers heat that’s between 90–90°F during the colder days when it’s harder to obtain heat from outside. This is why you may sometimes hear from people that a heat pump doesn’t seem to feel as warm as using a furnace. However, this is more likely to be an issue in areas with far colder winters than we experience. In general, we think that the heat pump’s advantage comes out on top here.

The “Cooling Mode” Factor for Heat Pumps

What about the other major heat pump advantage, which is that it also works as an air conditioner? That may be the deciding factor for some homeowners—but not always toward purchasing a heat pump. For a home that’s ready to replace an old AC and electric furnace, a heat pump is a great option. But if a homeowner is only planning to replace the old electric furnace and not the AC, then a heat pump isn’t the better choice: a heat pump must work in both modes to justify its cost. 

To find out more about your choices for heating your home the best way possible, reach out to our technicians. Relax, we’ll keep you warm (and cool).

Call on Cool Touch Air Conditioning and Heating: HVAC Contractors in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area.

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