Until recently, heat pumps were not a viable option for homes in colder climates, even places like Denver with mild winters. Now heat pumps can be used anywhere in the country, so the question is, do you choose a furnace or a heat pump?
Unfortunately, there is not a clear answer as to which system is better. Every home is different and the pros and cons of each system could sway your decision. Below are the most important factors to consider when choosing between a furnace and a heat pump for your Colorado home. We highly recommend speaking to an HVAC professional like Grand Home Services for a personal recommendation!
Gas vs. Electric
If your home does not have a gas line, then you cannot get a furnace. Furnaces run on natural gas and heat pumps run on electricity. It is very uncommon to have a home in Colorado without a gas line, so chances are you can still choose between both systems. If you have both gas and electricity, you have the opportunity to have a dual fuel system.
Dual Fuel System
If your home has access to both electricity and natural gas, you might want to consider a dual fuel system. Heat pumps are most efficient above freezing and can both heat and cool your home, and gas furnaces are much more efficient below freezing. Keeping both units running in their ideal temperature range allows you to keep the lowest possible operation cost during the winter.
A dual fuel system is best for those who do not have an air conditioner and already have a functioning gas furnace. If you do not have a heat pump or a furnace, a dual fuel system is not recommended.
No Air Conditioner
If you do not have an air conditioner, a heat pump will kill two birds with one stone as it can both heat and cool your home. If you do have an air conditioner, it is likely more cost effective for you to get a furnace.
The initial cost of a heat pump is typically more than a furnace, but keep in mind the unit runs year-round for heating and cooling. Because the unit runs year-round, it tends to have a shorter lifespan at about 10-15 years. Furnaces average a lifespan of 15-20 years. With regular maintenance and cleaning, it is not hard to have a heat pump for 15 years.
The operating cost for a heat pump tends to be more expensive when not coupled with a furnace as a dual fuel system. It’s not uncommon to have below freezing nights here in Colorado, and between the low cost of natural gas and efficiency of furnaces running below freezing, furnaces are typically the best choice for single unit heating.
As mentioned above, if you do not have an air conditioner and you have a functioning furnace, getting a heat pump would be the most cost-efficient in terms of operating costs. The heat pump would run on electricity in the summer just like an air conditioner and the furnace would run below freezing temperatures.
Everyone’s home, wants and needs are different. Please speak to one or two HVAC professionals to get a recommendation perfect for your situation. If you are near us in Aurora or anywhere in the Denver Metro Area, Grand Home Services is here to help. We repair and install furnaces, heat pumps, and dual fuel systems. Contact us online or give us a call today to get started!