If you’re struggling to decide the best way to heat your new or existing Texas home, it’s helpful to know the difference between a furnace and a heat pump. We give you the basics, as well as outline the advantages and disadvantages of each option to help make your decision as informed as possible.

What’s the Difference Between a Furnace and a Heat Pump?Natural Gas Furnace

While heating oil, propane gas and electricity are all viable furnace options, the natural gas-fueled furnace is by far the most popular. These systems burn natural gas to heat air that’s sucked into a combustion chamber. A powerful fan then blows that heated air through ductwork into all the rooms of your house.

What are the pros of using a natural gas furnace? This system produces comfortable, quick heating that spreads evenly through the house. And not only is natural gas relatively cheap, but most homes are typically equipped with gas lines, vents and flues.

There are negatives, however. Natural gas furnaces don’t convert fuel or energy into heat nearly as efficiently as a heat pump, and there are greater safety hazards related to CO poisoning and fire. That said, a well-maintained furnace is perfectly safe and carbon monoxide and smoke detectors can further protect you and your family.

Air Source Heat Pump

The air source heat pump is the most common variety of heat pump, using the unique heat-exchange characteristics of refrigerant to transfer heat energy from one place to another. In the summer, a heat pump operates similarly to a central air conditioner, extracting heat from inside the house and expelling it into the outside air.

In the winter, a reversing valve switches the direction of the refrigerant, which pulls heat from the outside air and releases it inside, heating the indoor air. Like the furnace system, the heat pump uses a system of blower fan and ductwork to deliver conditioned air to rooms in the house.

On the plus side, air source heat pumps are highly efficient at converting electricity into heat, and they’re safe to operate. They also provide both heating and cooling, unlike furnaces.

Heat pumps do struggle to provide comfortable heating during cold weather that dips to freezing or below. And electricity is more expensive than natural gas, even considering the efficiency advantage of heat pumps. Keep these downfalls in mind when trying to decide between a furnace and a heat pump.

For professional help understanding difference between a furnace and a heat pump and how it related your Woodlands area home, please contact the pros at Bradbury Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning.

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