Winters in Alabama are short and wet, but they can be cold, too. When it comes to keeping our Montgomery area homes warm during cold winter nights, we have a couple of options: heat pumps and natural gas furnaces. Both are very popular for home-heating. Either system has their advantages and disadvantages. Other factors aside, the one you choose may come down to whether natural gas is available in your neighborhood.
To make the best decision between the two, it’s important you have the best information before choosing. In this blog, Dixie Electric, Plumbing & Air will explain the pros and cons of heat pumps and natural gas furnaces to help you select the best heating system for your home.
Heat Pumps: What Are They?
A heat pump is a device that can both heat and cool your home. It works by moving warm air from one place to another. In winter, it extracts heat from the outside air and brings it inside to warm your home. In the summer, it does the opposite, taking heat from inside and moving it outside to cool your home. Let’s explore the pros and cons of using a heat pump system.
Pros of Heat Pumps
- Energy Efficiency: Heat pumps are very efficient because they use electricity to move heat rather than creating it by burning fuel. This can save you money on your energy bills. Another plus is that in our milder climate, heat pumps are very efficient with our warmer temperatures.
- Dual Functionality: Heat pumps can both heat and cool your home, which means you only need one system for year-round comfort.
- Environmentally Friendly: Since heat pumps don’t burn fossil fuels like natural gas, they produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions, making them better for the environment.
- Safety: Heat pumps are safer because they don’t involve burning gas, reducing the risk of carbon monoxide leaks.
Cons of Heat Pumps
- Higher Operating Costs: Heat pumps operate by electricity, which typically costs more than other energy sources.
- Initial Cost: The upfront cost of purchasing and installing a heat pump can be higher than a natural gas furnace. The exception would be if you also have to install gas supply lines to your home.
- Lower Efficiency: Heat pumps are generally less efficient than natural gas furnaces.
- Maintenance: All heating systems should have annual maintenance checks. Since heat pumps provide AC and heat, they need to be serviced twice per year. With two maintenance checks, it’ll likely be more expensive to maintain.
The good news is that Dixie Electric, Plumbing & Air services all types of heating
systems. With our Dixie Cares Maintenance Plan, you get comprehensive heat pump maintenance at an affordable cost. Contact Dixie to learn more.
Natural Gas Furnaces: What Are They?
A natural gas furnace is a heating system that burns natural gas to create heat. This heat is then blown into your home through ducts or pipes. Let’s now discuss the pros and cons of using a natural gas furnace.
Pros of Natural Gas Furnaces
- Faster Heating: Gas furnaces can produce a lot of heat quickly, making them ideal for those chilly winter mornings.
- Lower Initial Cost: Generally, the upfront cost of purchasing and installing a natural gas furnace is lower compared to a heat pump system.
- Lower Overall Operating Costs: Natural gas is typically the least expensive energy source. That being said, operating a gas furnace costs less over time, saving you money on your energy bills.
- Longer Lifespan: Gas furnaces are used only for heating, so their longevity is longer than heat pumps, which is up to 20 years vs. 12 to 15 years, respectively.
Cons of Natural Gas Furnaces
- Variable Installation Costs: A natural gas may cost less to install, but only if your home already has natural gas lines running to it.
- Limited Function: Natural gas furnaces cannot cool your home, so you’ll need a separate cooling system.
- Environmental Impact: If environmental concerns are important to you, burning natural gas releases carbon monoxide, which may adversely affect air pollution.
- Safety Concerns: Gas furnaces pose a risk of carbon monoxide leaks if not properly maintained or ventilated. For that reason, you’ll need a carbon monoxide detector in your home.
Heating Professionals at Dixie
Choosing between a heat pump and a natural gas furnace for your home comes down to your specific needs and priorities. Either choice is good, depending on your budget and the layout and design of your home.
Consulting with the heating professionals at Dixie Electric, Plumbing & Air can help you make an informed choice that ensures your home stays warm and comfortable all season long.
Dixie’s trained technicians have the expertise to help you decide which heat source is the best option for your Auburn area home. Call our office today to schedule a no-cost consultation with one of Dixie’s Comfort Specialists.