Furnace or Heat Pump: Which is Best?

Florida residents are fortunate to enjoy mild winters and lower heating costs than colder regions of the United States. Electricity costs average 11.29 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) compared to 13.12 cents nationally. You can save even more on your energy bill by choosing the right type of heating system for your home. If you’re trying to decide between a furnace and a heat pump, here’s a quick comparison to help you choose the best heating system for your Sarasota home.

Gas or Oil Furnace

Natural gas furnaces remain the most common heating system in the U.S. and a popular choice in Florida. At Climatic Conditioning Co., Inc. we offer both gas and oil furnaces. When installing a heating system, pricing is a big consideration for homeowners. Average installation costs for a furnace can run from $4,000 to $9,000. Gas furnaces cost less to install, while an oil furnace will cost more, depending on the brand. Here are the pros and cons of gas and oil furnaces.

Gas Furnace

Installing a gas furnace makes sense if your home is already connected to gas lines. If not, gas lines will have to be installed making the entire installation a more time-consuming job. However, a gas furnace does have the benefit of a long-term cost saving as gas is an economic choice. Both natural gas and oil are fossil fuels. Gas, however, is the cleaner of the two, making it the more eco-friendly option.

Oil Furnace

Oil Furnaces are unusual in our area. The advantage of an oil furnace is that it generates more heat and will heat up your home quickly. The disadvantage is that oil furnaces require more frequent cleaning. You will also be responsible for ordering oil whenever it runs low. In addition, the cost of oil can fluctuate because it is based on crude oil prices.

Gas and oil furnaces, provided they are regularly maintained, should last 20-25 years. When shopping around for a furnace, take the AFUE rating into consideration. AFUE stands for Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency and measures the efficiency of a furnace. The higher the AFUE rating, the more efficient it is.

Heat Pumps

If you’re looking for a more energy-efficient way to warm up your Sarasota home, opt for a heat pump. Heat pumps operate very differently than furnaces and are the most popular choice for our geographic area.

A furnace generates heat by burning oil or gas. A heat pump, on the other hand, works on a heat transfer principle in much the same way an air conditioner does. It pulls heat from either the air or ground and moves it into a home. In summer, the cycle is reversed — warm air is removed from the home and transferred outside. This means you’ll have one single unit to heat and cool your home. Because a heat pump does not burn fuel, it is one of the most energy-efficient ways to heat and cool a home.

In Florida, air-source heat pumps are preferred over ground-source heat pumps. Air-source heat pumps work best in warmer winter climates where the air temperature doesn’t drop too low, as this means more heat is retained in the air. This makes them the ideal choice for homes in Sarasota and surrounding counties. They’re also easy to install, consisting of an outdoor unit that is connected to an indoor air handler.

A heat pump cost ranges in price from $4,400 to $6,200 and higher depending on the efficiency ratings. However, the cost is offset by the savings you will enjoy on a lower electric bill. Heat pumps last for at least 15 years and with regular maintenance can last up to 20 years. For the best efficiency, choose a heat pump with a higher SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating. The higher the unit’s SEER rating, the more efficient it is, and typically a little higher in price.

Choosing a heating system is a big decision. Speak to us at Climatic Conditioning Co., Inc. about heating options. We’ll be happy to visit your Sarasota home and assess your needs. Call us today at 941-444-5399 to schedule an appointment with one of our NATE-certified HVAC technicians.

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