Heat Pumps use electricity and gas furnaces use natural gas to heat.
Before deciding on which unit to get for your home, look into what the electric rates are going for in your area. Also, inquire if your utility offers any special rates for electric heat. If your utility offers a rate of not more than $.10/kwh you might want to consider the heat pump.
Today’s heat pumps are different from those of the past. They produce supply heat in the low to mid 90s. Making sure you have the correct sized unit for your home is very important. You should insist upon a manual J heat/cool load calculation and have a complete ductwork inspection that includes size, supply/return balance, insulation properties, leakage check, and overall condition. Let your HVAC specialists know if you have any hot/cold spots that could indicate airflow issues in your home.
If you decide on a heat pump system, then definitely get a variable speed air handler.
“‘Variable speed’ refers to the fan motor inside the air handler—the indoor part of an air conditioner that moves cooled or heated air throughout the ductwork of your home. An air handler is usually a furnace or a blower coil. Unlike conventional single-speed motors, a variable speed motor runs at a wide range of speeds to precisely control heated and cooled air throughout the home.”
There are several advantages to using a variable speed air handler.
1. Variable speed motors cost less to operate because they usually run in low speed, unlike single speed systems which run in “high” 100% of the time.
2. Because variable speed air handlers gradually work their way from low speed to high speed, there is no blast of air from the vents. The transition when the machine turns on is very mild and it can be difficult to even tell when the machine is actually turned on.
3. The noise level is much lower for variable speed air handlers because they usually run in low speed.
4. Variable speed air handlers make it much easier to create different zones in your home so that you can heat or cool one room differently than another room.
5. Variable speed air handlers do a much better job of removing humidity from the home, making you more comfortable in your home.
More comfortable, more efficient, and less noisy….sounds like a winner to me. Variable speed air handlers always trump single speed ones. Just make sure that your indoor and outdoor equipment are correctly matched by your HVAC specialist. This will help your machine to run at its highest potential efficiency.
• A dual-fuel option is best, because it uses electricity to heat and cool your home, but has supplemental heat from a gas furnace. The gas furnace heat is used when the ambient temperature outside is so cold that the heat pump is no long effective.
* If you are looking to “go Solar”, then a heat pump is a no brainer. You could heat and cool your home and still have electricity to spare.
For more information contact McDonald Plumbing, Heating and Air at (916) 233-4194.