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What looks like an air conditioner, sounds like an air conditioner and cools like an air conditioner? A heat pump. When customers see heat pumps sitting next to air conditioners, they are often confused because the two are identical. Around this time of year, with temperatures dropping fast, many Phoenix homeowners realize it’s time to retire the ol’ reliable gas furnace. If your home was built in the 80s or 90s, your gas furnace is way past its prime. If you’re considering replacing your fossil fuel burning furnace with a new model, you might want to explore an energy efficient alternative to gas – a heat pump.
What’s the Differences Between a Heat Pump and a Gas Furnace?
Air conditioners cool your home by transferring heat from inside your house to the great outdoors. A heat pump has the ability to reverse the process and extract heat from the outdoors and “pump” it into your home. The big difference between a furnace and heat pump is a gas furnace burns fossil fuels to generate heat while the heat pump extracts surrounding heat from the outdoors and brings it inside. The reason heat pumps are rated so highly for energy efficiency is that it’s generally cheaper to move heat around than it is to create heat, whether from burning fossil fuels or by electricity.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Heat Pumps?
Here are some advantages and disadvantages of using heat pumps in Arizona:
Pro – Heat Pumps Are Energy Efficient
The Department of Energy states, “Heat pumps can reduce your electricity use for heating by approximately 50% compared to electric resistance heating such as furnaces and baseboard heaters. High-efficiency heat pumps also dehumidify better than standard central air conditioners, resulting in less energy usage and more cooling comfort in summer months.” Heat pumps only use electricity to power the fans, condenser and pump – not to create heat – which is a more efficient usage of energy.
Pro – Heat Pumps Are Safer Than Gas Furnaces
Heat pumps are a safer alternative to gas furnaces because whenever you have a combustion-based heating element in your home, the potential for danger exists. Gas furnaces produce carbon emissions and CO (carbon monoxide) which can be harmful and even fatal to your family if not vented properly. Heat pumps are installed outside your home and use electricity.
Con – Heat Pumps Are at a Disadvantage in Extremely Cold Weather
The main knock on heat pumps is they have a difficult time extracting heat from the outside air when the temperatures drop below 20 degrees. The good news is, winter weather in the Valley is mostly moderate to ideal with a few cold snaps thrown in for good measure. Occasionally, when temperatures dip below freezing, added electrically powered heat strips and heating elements warm up the air delivered into your home.
Winter Is Almost Here
Thanksgiving has come and gone, and winter is almost here. Why not have one of our friendly service technicians drop by to check out your heating system and get you ready for winter? We’ll be happy to explain all the pros and cons of heat pumps versus gas furnaces. Whichever you choose, we’re ready to service your needs.