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Is it time to replace your furnace and air conditioner? You could install this type of HVAC system again—or you could opt for a heat pump instead. Is this a smart move? See how heat pumps compare to a traditional furnace and air conditioner combo to help you decide.

Heat Pump Efficiency vs. Furnace & Air Conditioner Efficiency

Older furnaces are notoriously inefficient, but technology has come a long way in recent decades. Today’s top-of-the-line furnaces can achieve efficiency ratings of around 98 annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). This means 98 percent of the fuel burned is converted into usable heat for your home.

While this is impressive, heat pumps are even more efficient. Because they move heat rather than generate it from a combustible fuel source, heat pumps can be upwards of 300 or 400 percent efficient in mild weather. This means they only use one unit of electricity to move three or four units of heat energy. As you might imagine, performance suffers as the temperature drops outside. This requires heat pumps to use a far less efficient electric heat strip when the temperature falls below freezing.

As for heat pumps vs. air conditioners, these systems use the same technology to cool your home, so their performance and efficiency ratings are comparable.

Heat Pump Heat Production vs. Furnace Heat Production

Most Utah homeowners are more familiar with furnaces than heat pumps. A gas-fired furnace generates heat by burning natural gas and sending the resulting heat into the home. This results in a nice, warm delivery temperature that heats the house up quickly.

In comparison, heat pumps use electricity and refrigerant to transfer heat between spaces. This means the delivery temperature is noticeably cooler than a furnace’s. In fact, as it approaches freezing outside, the air blowing from the vents may feel close to room temperature. This results in longer run cycles, which reduce temperature fluctuations but can also cause a drafty feeling that some homeowners dislike.

Heat Pump vs. Furnace & Air Conditioner – Which is the Better Choice?

A traditional furnace and air conditioner could be the best choice in Utah’s cold climate, as long as you have access to natural gas. However, a heat pump could be a better option if you don’t have a natural gas line or want to use electricity for other reasons. Electric furnaces are expensive to operate, so you’ll save money by choosing a heat pump instead. This could also be the more cost-effective option if you need to replace your furnace and air conditioner at the same time. After all, a heat pump replaces both pieces of equipment.

For more help making your final decision, consult an HVAC technician at Parley’s PPM Plumbing, Heating & Cooling. We can help you weigh your choices and come to the right conclusion for your family’s needs and budget. To request heating services with us, please call 801-226-3033 if you live in Utah County, or reach us at 801-229-2665 if you’re a Salt Lake County resident. You can also contact us online with any questions you have.

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