Furnaces Heat Pumps

HVAC FAQs: Furnaces vs. Heat Pumps

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In Canada, having a reliable source of heat in our homes is a necessity that we can’t live without. When it comes to heating your home, there are two options to consider, forced air furnaces and ductless mini split heat pumps, but many homeowners aren’t aware of the differences. We’ve broken down the pros and cons of each system in the hopes of clarifying any confusion, making your decision easier!

Mini Split Heat Pumps
Heat pumps are ductless, which makes them the ideal choice for older homes that don’t have the pre-existing ductwork required to install a furnace. They can also be used to give an added boost of heat to individual rooms. Unlike furnaces, heat pumps are fueled by electricity, and they generate heat by extracting it from the air outside your home. Heat pumps work well for a majority of the year when the temperatures aren’t extremely low, but beyond -26°C, they aren’t able to adequately extract heat from the air. This means that you will need to have a secondary heat source like baseboard heaters.

Forced Air Furnaces
Furnaces are more common than heat pumps, but as the technology in heat pumps improves, they are starting to become more popular. Furnaces create their own heat in order to raise the temperature in your home, and they rely on ductwork to disperse that heat. This means that they can successfully heat your home regardless of how cold it is outside. Furnaces also require some form of fuel to generate heat; in most cases, they burn natural gas.

It depends on the model you choose, but the initial cost of a mini split heat pump tends to be higher than that of a furnace. A furnace can heat your entire home, whereas a ductless is designed to heat certain areas only. It should be noted that if you live in a home without ductwork, the cost of installing a furnace increases drastically. Both options are best suited for certain applications, so if you have ductwork you are better off replacing your furnace. If you have baseboard heating, heat pumps usually cost less to operate, which means that within a few years, the monthly savings on your utility bills can pay for your heat pump installation.

Which System Is Right for You?
When you’re deciding between a furnace and a heat pump, it’s important to consider your home’s configuration and your heating needs. In some cases, the right answer is installing both systems. If you need to replace your heating system or you just aren’t satisfied with your current unit, the best course of action is to consult your HVAC service provider.

If you have a space in your home that could benefit from installing a ductless system, or you live in a home with no pre-existing ductwork, contact HAMCO for help finding a ductless solution.

HAMCO Heating & Cooling Ltd. has been proudly serving the Greater Hamilton Area for over 70 years. Our team of licensed technicians is dedicated to providing our clients with reliable service and quality products.

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