Atlanta is famous for its hot, humid weather, but winter temperatures can drop to 20 degrees or lower. To keep warm – and to prevent pipes from freezing – a safe, reliable home heating system is a must. Luckily, homeowners have great options available to them.
Here, we’ll go over some pros and cons of furnaces and heat pumps so you can make an informed decision when it comes time to install a new heating system or replace an old one.
Modern Gas and Electric Furnaces Are More Efficient than Ever
Furnaces have a reputation for being energy wasters. Although that is true of older models, many modern gas and electric furnaces feature technology that greatly improves energy efficiency. One of the ways you can gauge a heating unit’s efficiency is to look at the AFUE, or annual fuel utilization, rating.
For example, a furnace with an AFUE of 94% is 94% efficient in converting energy to heat, losing only 6% to waste, such as exhaust. Naturally, the higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient the furnace.
Pros and Cons of Gas Furnaces
Gas furnaces use natural gas, which is readily available and reasonably affordable, making them a popular choice in Atlanta. However, the fact that they burn fossil fuel is seen as a con by many homeowners who want to transition to alternative and renewable energy sources.
Another issue with a gas furnace is the potential for carbon monoxide leaks. This safety risk, however, is dramatically reduced by having only a licensed HVAC company install, repair, and maintain a gas furnace.
Pros and Cons of Electric Furnaces
Electric furnaces use electricity to generate heat. Because they do not use natural gas (or other fuel sources, like oil or propane), electric furnaces eliminate the concerns around burning fossil fuels and carbon monoxide leaks. What’s their downside? Electricity is more expensive than natural gas, so it costs a bit more to operate an electric furnace than a gas furnace.
Heat Pumps Are the Gold Standard for Energy Efficiency
Heat pumps supply heat by extracting thermal energy from the outside and pumping it into your home. (An air-source heat pump draws from the air; a geothermal heat pump draws from the ground or a body of water.) When it comes to efficiency, heat pumps are the clear winner. In fact, they can yield up to three times more heat energy than they use in electricity to operate.
Pros and Cons of Heat Pumps
Heat pumps have a lot going for them in addition to efficiency and lower utility bills. Because they work the same way as an air conditioner – a refrigerant absorbs heat and the heat is moved from one place to another – a heat pump will both heat your home in the winter and cool it in the summer, so you don’t need separate heating and cooling systems. Also, they do not burn fossil fuels or pose a carbon monoxide risk.
If there’s one con, it’s the upfront expense. They cost more to purchase and install than gas and electric furnaces. Under the Inflation Reduction Act, however, some homeowners are eligible for substantial rebates and tax credits that could make a heat pump an efficient, affordable option for your Atlanta home.
Need Help Choosing the Best Heating System for Your Home?Comfort Zone Heating & Cooling is a trusted advisor to homeowners throughout Atlanta and North Georgia. Unlike other HVAC companies, we educate customers on their options so they can make the decision that’s right for them. Contact us today.