Arizona does not often experience low temperatures for an extended period of time. Homeowners frequently debate whether a heat pump or a furnace is best for their Arizona home. While a heat pump is not considered a better option over a furnace, or the reverse, they do come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Reliable Air Conditioning is here to offer you guidance while you decide which to install. 

Heat Pump

With the ability to heat and cool your home, a heat pump offers an excellent residential HVAC option. Typically installed in homes in moderate climates, a heat pump is a versatile heating and cooling system. Often confusing because a heat pump does not actually generate heat, it simply extracts heat from the environment and moves it to another location. 

During cooler months, a heat pump will extract heat from air outdoors and move it inside to provide warmth. Opposite in the summer, it will take the heat energy from the air inside and move it outside your home. 

Advantages:

  • Energy Efficiency – Transferring heat, as a heat pump does, requires less energy than producing heat, as a furnace does. Additionally, a heat pump utilizes electricity for power, saving you a substantial amount on fuel consumption. 
  • Air Quality – Using electricity also allows for improved air quality over a furnace. As they do not produce greenhouse gas emissions, heat pumps are becoming a popular requirement for some communities. 
  • Lifespan – A heat pump has a lifespan expectancy of around 15 years. With proper repairs and standard routine maintenance, your heat pump will function as it should for quite some time. Sometimes, the lifespan can help offset the initial cost and installation.

Disadvantages:

  • Installation Cost – Typically the initial cost and installation of a furnace is cheaper than a heat pump. However, a heat pump has the ability to provide both heating and cooling functions where a furnace will need to be paired with an air conditioner. 
  • Effectiveness – If the outdoor air temperature falls below freezing, a heat pump may have a difficult time generating enough heat to keep your home comfortable. Additional systems can be added to the heat pump to raise the effectiveness on the colder days, but they typically utilize a lot of energy. 
  • Comfort – Heat produced by a heat pump is typically not as hot as the heat you experience from a furnace. The air tends to blow cooler, but also provides a more naturally humid circulation. If you like to feel hot and toasty, you may consider a furnace over a heat pump. 
  • Maintenance – Since a heat pump works year-round, it will require additional maintenance as opposed to a furnace who works a few months out of the year. A heat pump is also made up of several pieces and parts that are more likely to wear, break down, or malfunction.

Furnace

As a part of the central heating & cooling system, a furnace burns fuel and distributes the heat produced throughout the home. Typically centrally located inside your home, the furnace distributes the warm air via air ducts. A furnace consists of four main parts:

  1. Burners that deliver and burn fuel
  2. Heat exchangers
  3. A blower
  4. A flue that acts as an exhaust for the gaseous by-products

Advantages:

  • Comfort – If you like the feeling of warmer air, a furnace is a better option for a heater over a heat pump. A furnace produces quick blasts of hot air which can be preferred for a homeowner to feel comfortable inside their home. Though lower temperatures are not common in the Phoenix Valley, a furnace will provide the heat you require while a heat pump will not perform as well in cooler weather. 
  • Cost – The initial cost of a furnace unit and installation is less than that of a heat pump. You also will only use a furnace a few months out of the year, so the operating costs are less. Less maintenance is required as well since you will not be utilizing a furnace as much and there are fewer pieces and parts to a furnace. One item to consider when factoring cost is you will have a separate air conditioning unit installed as well. 
  • Lifespan – Similar to a heat pump, when properly maintained and cared for, a furnace has quite the long lifespan around 20 years. Proper routine maintenance and minimal usage contribute to the long lifespan of a furnace in Arizona.

Disadvantages:

  • Access To A Gas Line – A furnace requires access to a gas line. If you do not already have a gas line to your home, adding one can be quite expensive along with the purchase / installation of a new furnace. This is also assuming that you have the ability to add a gas line as some areas do not have the capacity. 
  • Efficiency – The cost of operating a furnace varies based on the cost of fuel and the amount you consume. When compared to a heat pump, however, a furnace operates a little less efficient. As a furnace is only used a few months out of a year can offset the cost of operation. However, if you are looking for an energy efficient option that is healthy for the environment, a heat pump is recommended. 
  • Safety – Utilizing natural gas comes with the chance of a gas leak that can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Though leaks are not very common, they can happen. Installing carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home will alert you of a leak and allow you to care for them before a larger issue arises. 

Deciding between a heat pump and a furnace for your Arizona home can take time and extensive research. Be sure to consult with a professional HVAC technician before ultimately making a decision on your own. They will take into account the size of your home and help you understand the different units available. Ultimately, it comes down to whichever you are comfortable with. 

If you are in need of a furnace or heat pump, Reliable Air Conditioning is here for you. We provide both along with installation by a trained and certified technician. Call our office for a consultation and to schedule your in-home estimate today! 

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Reliable Air Conditioning is a family owned business providing quality residential and commercial heating, cooling, and air quality services to the greater Phoenix Valley, Arizona area. We offer over 15 years experience in the HVAC industry and are committed to providing our customers with professional service they can depend on. Our goal is to keep you comfortable inside your home or business all year long with customized options for your heating and air conditioning needs.

Trust your homes air conditioning and heating repairs and installation to the most reliable technicians in the area. We are committed to providing you with the air conditioning and heating services your need for our unique climate here in Arizona.