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In Dover, DE, having a reliable and efficient home heating system is a must, especially once the temperatures start dropping. Homeowners deciding between a furnace or a heat pump may need help to pick one over the other. Here are some key differences to help you make the best decision possible.

How Furnaces Work

A furnace is a heating system that utilizes oil or gas to generate heat. Although their designs differ, furnaces normally have four main parts. They are:

  • A blower motor (commonly seen in older furnace models) delivers the heated air through ducts within your home. Newer models include a direct drive blower motor.
  • The heat exchanger includes heat that transfers to the air in your home.
  • An electronic ignition (in many newer models) sets the temperature so the actual flame can light.
  • A burner to ignite and burn the fuel

Traditional furnaces have existed for generations, and the latest gas furnaces offer excellent efficiency. Contact a reputable heating company if you’re interested in installing a new furnace. They will be able to discuss the newest models and all their respective benefits.

How Heat Pumps Work

Unlike furnaces, heat pumps don’t use any fuel to produce heat; they use electricity to circulate air in your home. They extract heat from the outside air and bring it inside to warm your home.

Heat pumps use a refrigerant, which allows them to absorb heated energy. They can work efficiently in temperatures as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Some advanced models can remain efficient at temperatures even lower than that.

What’s most important to know about heat pumps is that they can have efficiency rates over 300%. That means they deliver as much as three units of heat.

You may not realize that a heat pump can perform double duty in the summertime and keep your home cool and comfortable. They do it by reversing their operation, absorbing heat from inside and venting it outside, offering greater versatility between seasons.

Dual-Fuel Heating Systems

Some heat pumps begin to lose their efficiency at temperatures below 30 degrees Fahrenheit. For those situations, some models come equipped with an auxiliary heating system. They typically use electric radiant heat to augment that absorbed from the outside air.

There are also dual-fuel heat pump systems that include gas burners when temperatures drop. They provides owners with the best of both technologies, resulting in the highest possible efficiency in all conditions.

Making the Right Choice

Based on efficiency alone, it would seem obvious that a heat pump or a dual fuel system is the right choice. However, heat pumps tend to cost more upfront than furnaces, which means it may be a while before you can take advantage of their efficiency benefits.

It’s also vital to know that heat pumps typically have shorter lifespans than furnaces. Like conventional HVAC systems, you can expect about 15 years of service from a new heat pump, while a new furnace should last upwards of 20 years. Regular maintenance can help keep them going strong.

There are two considerations to keep in mind when deciding between a furnace and a heat pump. The first consideration is, are you willing to absorb the upfront cost of an ungraded heat pump? The second, is your home’s central AC due for a replacement? If the answer to both questions is yes, a heat pump is likely your best option. If not, you may want to opt for a furnace instead.

Contact Griffith Energy Services if you’ve been looking for a long-lasting, effective heating system that’s perfect for your comfort needs and budget. We install, maintain and service a variety of furnaces and heat pump systems, and provide comprehensive emergency services so you won’t have to be without heat for an extended period, especially during the winter months.

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