Heat Pumps vs Gas Furnaces in Georgia
Article courtesy of New AC Unit.com
Heat pumps and gas furnaces are the only home heating options we have, but many homeowners still find it hard to decide between the two. The difficulty in making a choice is understandable because both are excellent ways of heating up your home during the colder months. In any case, your decision should be based on several factors, particularly the climate in the part of the country where you live.
If you live in Georgia, you are familiar with the mild winters and hot summers that mark the humid subtropical climate in the state. So which heating option would be best for your home then? Let’s take a closer look at what heat pumps and gas furnaces offer to help you make an informed decision.
In North America, the forced-air gas furnace is the most common heating system. It is, after all, efficient, reliable and quiet, thanks to the many improvements to its design over the years. Much to our chagrin as environmentalists, a big upside to gas furnace is that the widespread hydraulic fracturing in our country has brought the price of gas down to as low as $.52/therm which makes gas heat very inexpensive.
The forced-air gas furnace involves a standard combustion process to generate heat which is then circulated throughout your house to keep everybody warm. Gas furnaces are quite effective at heating your home even during the coldest months of winter, and that makes them perfect for areas that experience below freezing temperatures. They also tend to be cheaper than heat pumps by $500 to $1,000. They are also very durable, as they can last for up to 25 years with proper maintenance. Gas furnaces are also energy efficient, with an AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency) rating of up to 97%.
A gas furnace, however, is not without disadvantages or even risks. Since it burns natural gas, a gas furnace produces deadly exhaust gases like carbon monoxide. Gas leaks may also happen, which can cause an explosion and fire.
Unlike gas furnaces, heat pumps do not generate heat. What it does is transfer heat from one point to another. When you buy a heat pump, you are buying an air conditioner too because it also functions as one. In the summer, your heat pump moves heat from inside your home and does this very efficiently in the hot Georgia summers. When winter comes, the process is reversed and heat pumps transfer warm air from the outside into your home.
The best part about heat pumps is that they burn no fossil fuels, which means they are better for the environment than gas furnaces. There’s also none of the poisoning and fire risks associated with furnaces powered by gas. As for energy efficiency, heat pumps are also more energy efficient than gas furnaces, although efficiency is a relative term here. Electricity, after all, tends to be more expensive than the natural gas or propane that gas furnaces use.
Heat pumps work best in places where the winters are mild. In below freezing temperatures, heat pumps are next to useless. Since it transfers heat from the outside during winter, a heat pump will have a tough time drawing in warm air since there is no warm air to speak of in sub-zero temperatures.
While there are several other factors that can help you choose a heating system, the one factor you have to consider when you live in Georgia is its humid subtropical climate. For north Georgia residents, the best heating option is a duel fuel heat pump. A duel fuel system has the benefit of the high efficiency heat pump but will back up on gas when it gets too cold outside to generate heat. In central and south Georgia, a heat pump with backup electric heat works well since it rarely drops below freezing.