Although they’re both considered forced-air heaters, ductless heat pumps and furnaces couldn’t be more different. They both have a range of benefits but understanding their differences can make all the difference when it comes time to install a new heater. Keep reading to see how they compare in three different factors.
Convenience is something you’ll find in both furnaces and ductless heat pump installations, but the meaning of the word varies.
Furnaces are easier to install if you already have a duct system in place. Installation costs can be cut down without the need for a brand-new duct system. This is one of the reasons why furnaces are so commonly used in the nation—if you already have the ducts, why not use them?
Ductless heat pumps don’t need ducts at all, and they can be installed in any room of the home that you choose. They can also be installed in the garage, which is something that you’re legally not allowed to do with a duct system (due to the fact that harmful fumes can enter the home through the return vents). Plus, the amount of work it takes to install the wiring and refrigerant lines for ductless systems is far less work than what’s expected of installing a new duct system.
When it comes to HVAC systems, cost usually comes down to a battle of “upfront costs” vs “operational costs.” Not everyone has the budget for an expensive system, but at the same time, pricier systems are usually more efficient and worthwhile in the long-run.
Furnaces are certainly the less expensive option (again, this makes them a popular choice!), with the only exception being that you don’t have ducts already installed nor access to natural gas lines.
While the cost of installation is certainly cheaper, operational costs fall a bit more on the “average” scale. While a furnace won’t drive your heating bill through the roof, it’s also not always the most efficient to run in comparison to a heat pump.
Ductless heat pumps, on the other hand, are substantially more efficient. This is because heat pumps don’t create heat through combustion like gas furnaces do. Instead, they operate like an air conditioner in reverse, by transferring heat. This process is far more efficient.
But this does come at a cost. Specifically, a higher installation cost. Since ductless heat pumps require one indoor unit for each room, you’ll need to pay for each of those units separately.
You’ll also want to factor fuel costs into the equation. This can vary for you based on your area. If necessary, you should call up a heating pro in Phoenix, AZ to have them help you estimate costs.
Furnaces are most commonly used with natural gas. Why? Simply because natural gas is a cheap resource, no matter where you are in the states. The only problem is that not everyone has access to it.
Ductless heat pumps only use electricity, but as stated above, the way they use electricity is much more efficient than something like an electric furnace.