Like any system, the air-source heat pump has its pros and cons. Even if you’ve heard about how efficient heat pumps are, you may be wondering how they handle Northern Michigan’s frigid, snowy winters. The answer depends in part on your individual situation.
The Heat Pump’s Advantages
Efficiency – The heat pump is the most efficient of all electric heating systems, including electric furnaces, baseboard heaters and wall heaters. Depending on the electricity and gas prices in your area, it should also may be cheaper to run than a gas furnace.
Lower or comparable installation costs – Installing an air-source heat pump costs less than installing a new furnace and air conditioner separately. That said, switching to a heat pump will cost more than replacing an existing furnace with a newer model.
Convenient and space-saving – Heat pumps provide both heating and cooling in one compact system.
Improved safety – Because they don’t burn fuel, heat pumps pose no risk of potentially lethal carbon monoxide leaks. Risk of fire also is minimal.
Drawbacks to Consider
Gentler heat – Heat pumps produce lower temperatures than gas furnaces. That may be one of the heat pump’s pros or cons, depending on your preferences. While some find this less intense heat more comfortable, others find it too cool. On the upside, these systems distribute warmth more evenly and cycle on and off less often, leading to more consistent temperatures.
Reduced cold-weather efficiency – Heat pumps become less efficient in temperatures below freezing. In these temperatures, most use a set of less-efficient electric resistance coils for supplemental heating. Technological improvements, however, are steadily lowering the temperature at which air-source heat pumps provide comfortable heating.
Maintenance and lifespan – While a gas furnace will run for around 20 years, a heat pump lasts around 15 years. That’s because gas furnaces run only part of the year, while heat pumps run year round. Heat pump maintenance also tends to be costlier than furnace maintenance.
For more expert insight into the heat pump’s pros and cons and help choosing the right system for your home, contact us at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing. We help homeowners throughout the Grand Traverse County area meet their home comfort needs.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about heat pumps and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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