It’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing colours and the air is getting cold. It’s a signal to Canadians that it’s time to prepare for winter! That means turning the AC off and switching on the furnace – or heat pump. Perhaps you’re a little behind on your winterizing and still wondering which is better: a heat pump or a furnace? If you’re considering replacing your current heating system and can’t decide between a furnace or heat pump, we’ve got the answers you need.
What is a heat pump?
A heat pump is a part of a home heating and cooling system that uses the air from outside to heat your home in winter and cool it in summer. Heat pumps move warm air from one place to another, depending on where it’s needed – or not needed.
What is a furnace?
Furnaces are the most commonly-used heating system in Canada. A furnace uses fuel, usually natural gas, to create heat that’s distributed throughout your home by a blower fan via vents.
Heat Pump vs. Furnace
When it comes to selecting a heating system, heat pumps and furnaces are both good options. Each comes with advantages and disadvantages.
When comparing furnaces and heat pumps, one of the first questions is: how much does it cost? The short answer is that heat pumps are cheaper, especially considering the government provides grants to install them. But, the cost will depend on the house. If your house has a natural gas hookup, a furnace will probably be more affordable. On the other hand, it’s more expensive to install a furnace in a home without natural gas access.
Both furnaces and heat pumps require routine maintenance. However, a furnace needs less maintenance than a heat pump. As a result, your maintenance costs will be higher with a heat pump.
In terms of performance, it depends on where you live. Remember, heat pumps don’t generate heat, they only transfer heat from outside. So, heat pumps are best for moderate climates. That’s not to say they won’t work during our Canadian winters – a heat pump can draw heat in temperatures below freezing. But, a furnace will produce heat even on the coldest days.
Since heat pumps only transfer heat, they use less energy. Furnaces consume more energy because they actually generate heat. That said, the colder the temperature, the harder a heat pump must work. Therefore, a furnace might be more energy efficient for cold climates.
The Verdict: Heat Pump or Furnace?
The answer isn’t so straightforward. The right heating system for you depends on your situation. If you live in a very cold area, you’ll probably want a furnace. But, if you have a secondary heat source, maybe a heat pump is a better fit.
If you’re still undecided, get in touch with us and our experts can help you make the decision – and install the heating system that suits your home.
Team Harding has been Ottawa’s leading home comfort specialist since 1994. We are a family-owned and operated local business and all of our installers and technicians are fully licensed.