If it’s time for you to install a new heating system, you’re probably wondering whether a heat pump or a furnace is the better option for your home.
Our general recommendation for a Florida home would be a heat pump.
Heat pumps are a great option for more mild climates (like Florida) and they also function as an AC system in the summertime.
However, your home and priorities are unique, so the factors that are important to you may be completely different than the factors that someone else values.
There are a few main factors to consider when deciding between a heat pump and an electric furnace, including:
Below, we’ll go into these factors in more detail, so you can get a better idea of which system would be the best fit for your Florida home. Want help from an expert? Trust us, this isn’t the first time we’ve been asked which heating system is best for a home. We have years of experience and can help you determine which system is best based on your lifestyle, budget, and house. Learn more about the heating services we offer or...
If operational costs are your top priority, you should invest in a heat pump.
Heat pumps are significantly more efficient than furnaces (use 50% less electricity than electric furnaces), so your monthly utility bills will be cheaper with a heat pump.
Why are heat pumps more efficient?
When it’s above 40 degrees out, heat pumps heat your home by drawing in warmth from outside and heating your home’s air with it. Because heat pumps heat your home by transferring heat (rather than producing it), they are more efficient than a furnace. When it’s below 40 degrees out, your heat pump will struggle to absorb enough heat from outside to heat your home. When this happens, heat pumps supplement the heat they can’t absorb with a type of heating called electrical resistance. However, they still absorb some heat from outside, so this is still a more efficient (and cheaper) form of heating than an electric furnace.
Another consideration when it comes to heating systems is the level of comfort a type of heating system provides.
Typically, furnaces provide more consistent, hotter temperatures, so if comfort is your #1 priority, you should install a furnace.
Furnaces generally heat your home with air that’s about 120° F, whereas heat pumps usually produce air that is around 90° when it’s above 40° outside and 120° when it's below 40° outside.
We know 90° and 120° probably both sound hot enough to heat your home, but people generally prefer the feel of 120° air. Why?
Well, our body temperature is typically around 98°, so 90° air can sometimes feel cool, especially in the dead of winter, whereas 120° air feels warm.
While both 90° and 120° air are both warm enough to sufficiently heat your home, if your comfort is a priority, you should probably consider a furnace. Just know that your monthly heating bills will be more expensive with an electric furnace rather than a heat pump.
Heat pumps typically cost more upfront than furnaces do.
However, heat pumps can be used as both heating and cooling systems whereas electric furnaces can only be used as a heating system.
So, at the end of the day, a furnace ends up being more expensive than a heat pump because you have to install a furnace and an AC system. Installing a heat pump that can both heat and cool your home will give you more “bang for your buck.”
Furnaces last longer than heat pumps do.
Well-maintained heat pumps typically last around 10 years and furnaces usually last anywhere from 15–20 years.
However, it’s important to remember that heat pumps work year-round to heat and cool your home whereas furnaces only work half of the year (typically even less in Florida).
It’s also important to remember that your heating system will only last if it’s properly maintained. Just like a car, without regular check-ups and updates/repairs, your system won’t last as long.
Whether you know which type of heating system you want or you are still trying to figure it out, we’re here to help. We’d be happy to talk with you about your home and heating needs to help you determine which type of system would be the best long-term solution for your home.