Reliable heating for your metro Phoenix area home is essential to getting through the chilly months of the year in Arizona. The traditional heating system that many homes have is a gas furnace, but if your system is getting old or has been breaking down a lot recently, or if your energy bills have been on the rise, you may be looking to upgrade and wondering if there are better HVAC replacement options available.
What’s the best heating system for Arizona homes? Today we’ll explore some of the differences between gas furnaces and heat pumps to help you decide.
How Do Heat Pumps and Furnaces Work?
The first thing we need to understand is how the two systems are different.
Gas furnaces are combustion heating systems—burning natural gas heats air that’s circulated via your ductwork throughout your house. Air source heat pumps are different. First, they run entirely on electricity. Second, they don’t create heat like furnaces do, they simply move it from one place to another. Third, heat pumps have both heating and cooling settings, so you can use them in the winter to keep your home warm, and then turn them to the cooling setting to keep you cool as the outdoor temperatures rise.
Now that we understand how each system operates, let’s look into the pros and cons of each system.
Advantages of a Gas Furnace in Your Arizona Home
Gas furnaces offer a few benefits over heat pumps that make them attractive options for Chandler, Scottsdale, Mesa, or Tempe homeowners.
- Less expensive installation costs
- Longer lifespan (if properly maintained)
- Hotter air temperatures
Furnaces are often more affordable than heat pumps, in part because they only have one mode—heating—and not two like most heat pumps. Because you’ll only be using them for a few months every year, they’ll also likely have a longer lifespan than a heat pump, which you’ll be using year-round to keep your home comfortable.
Furnaces are also able to generate hotter air than heat pumps (usually about 20 degrees warmer). This decreases efficiency but can be important for homeowners with particular comfort preferences.
Advantages of a Heat Pump in Your Arizona Home
Heat pumps are often less familiar to Arizona homeowners, as they’re newer HVAC technology for residential buildings. But there are many reasons why you might want to use heat pumps in your home.
- Can be used for heating and cooling
- Saves money (uses less energy than furnaces)
- Electric operation (no fossil fuels or CO risk)
The two biggest advantages of heat pumps are that, since they can both heat and cool, you can replace your furnace and air conditioner, and because they’re more energy efficient, you’ll save money keeping your home comfortable. As SRP notes, heat pumps can save 30% on heating costs compared to a gas furnace. Their all-electric operation makes them handy if you don’t have natural gas line access, or if your home has solar panels (free energy for heating and cooling!), or if you’re simply interested in reducing your home’s fossil fuel consumption.
What Are the Different Kinds of Heat Pumps?
Not all heat pumps are the same, of course. Air source heat pumps (heat pumps that move heat found in the air, as opposed to the ground source heat pumps, like geothermal) for homes are split up into two different main groups: ducted heat pumps and mini-splits.
Ducted heat pumps connect to your central ductwork system and deliver conditioned air through your HVAC vents. Most mini-splits, on the other hand, are ductless, and the indoor air handler component is installed right in the room or area you want to keep conditioned. Mini-splits offer lots of flexibility—you can install them throughout your home to create different comfort zones, or they can be used side-by-side with a central air system to make rooms without duct access, like additions, sunrooms, or garages, more comfortable.
Find the Right Heating System for Your Home with Ideal Energy
As you can see, choosing between heating systems for your Phoenix home depends on many different factors, like the size of your home, your budget, the condition of your AC, and your family’s comfort needs.
At Ideal Energy, our team of heating and cooling experts can walk you through each of the options available to help you find the best system for your home and ensure that you don’t overlook any important considerations you’ll later regret. No matter what type of system you choose, we’ll work hard to make sure you end up with a comfortable home that’s affordable to heat, with a system that is correctly sized and installed for years and years of reliable operation.