You might be surprised to learn just how many options there are for central heating today. Gone are the days when you only had to choose between gas and electric. Today, you can find systems in all different efficiency ratings, with extra features for comfort and energy savings—and furnaces are not your only option!
In fact, in our service area, many people are moving away from the standard furnace-AC setup and trying alternative heating systems. But a furnace may still be the right choice for you. The best way to know is to speak with your local technicians, but we’re here to help with a quick guide to different types of heaters.
The furnace is still the most popular heating system installed in the country, and there’s good reason for this. Most homes are already set up to install a gas or electric furnace, so it’s not too difficult to add one to a home. Furnaces are a fairly low-cost whole-house heating installation as well. Plus, they work efficiently, especially if you choose a system with an AFUE rating over 90.
One downside to the furnace? If you only have access to electricity, and no natural gas lines in the home, it can be expensive to operate. Electric furnaces use a lot of energy to run, so you’ll have to use yours wisely, or go with a heat pump instead.
A heat pump uses electricity, but it uses far less than an electric furnace. It’s a heating and cooling system in one, so the setup looks a lot like a central air conditioner. An outdoor unit exhausts heat in the summer, after refrigerant absorbs heat from the inside of your home. During winter, it can absorb heat from the outdoors (even when it’s very cold out) and move it indoors.
Because it doesn’t actually generate heat—it only moves heat—it doesn’t use as much energy as your standard electric heater. Why not have a heater and air conditioner in one?
A ductless system is a heat pump, but without the need for ductwork. Indoor air handlers are mounted high up on the walls, and each is connected to the outdoor unit as refrigerant cycles between them. No major renovations are needed, and it’s a highly efficient system. You also get a thermostat setting for each room, which means custom comfort throughout the house.
So Which Is Best?
All in all, what’s important is that you work with contractors who will find a heater that works with your best interest in mind. A good technician should be able to assess your home and find an efficient heating solution for you based on factors like efficiency needs, home size, and budget.
However, budget should not be the only factor you consider. Remember that a high-efficiency system pays off in the long run with energy savings over the years. You may regret going for the cheaper system with time!