A traditional furnace burns a fuel – usually natural gas, but sometimes fuel oil. It then uses a heat exchanger to warm air, which can then circulate through your home. Furnaces are the most common heating systems used in the United States, and they have the benefit of being familiar to many. They also have a long history of development and improvement, which leads to efficiency gains. In fact, high-efficiency condensing furnaces can reach up to 98 percent efficiency, so if you’ve got a furnace that was installed a decade or two ago, you can almost certainly find something more efficient on the market today!
A heat pump doesn’t produce heat, it uses existing heat energy and moves it from one place to another. Both refrigerators and air conditioners use heat pump technology, though they’re used to move heat out of an enclosure (like the fridge or your home) and into the outside world!
Because of this mechanism, heat pumps are more efficient than furnaces. A heat pump can easily reach efficiencies over 300 percent. But heat pumps struggle if the temperature outside dips below zero. There’s just not enough heat energy out there to bring inside. That’s why heat pumps are paired with backup heat sources.
For help determining whether a heat pump or furnace works better in your Columbia area home, contact the pros at Cool Care.