In the past, most homes in Newbury Park, CA had one of a few major heating system types. They either had a gas-powered furnace or relied on radiant heat from a boiler or an electric-resistance system. Of the three, natural gas furnaces offered the most economical option.

Today, however, heat pumps are becoming a more popular option here in Newbury Park. It’s happening because they offer a few benefits that furnaces don’t. However, the technology’s still new enough that plenty of homeowners don’t know how to choose between heat pumps and gas-powered furnaces.

Here’s a guide that will help you to evaluate the two kinds of heating systems and choose the one that’s the best fit for your home. Let’s get started.

What Is a Gas Furnace?

A gas furnace is a type of forced-air heating system that burns natural gas to heat the air in your home. The technology that makes such systems work dates back to the early 20th century. Since that time, advances and refinements in the design of natural gas-powered furnaces have made them one of the most efficient forms of residential heating available. Also, the wide availability of cheap natural gas supplies turned furnaces into the go-to heating options all over the U.S.

The Advantages of Furnaces

Modern iterations of natural gas furnaces offer low costs of operation, relatively simple maintenance, and long operational lifespans. Plus, they’re quiet while in operation, making them a good fit in residential environments.

There are two keys to the low operating costs of natural gas furnaces. The first is the wide availability and low cost of natural gas. Here in Newbury Park, natural gas bills tend to hover below the national average of $56 per month. When added to the electricity costs of a forced-air furnace’s operations, that makes for an economical heat source.

The other part of the equation is efficiency. Modern natural gas furnaces feature high-efficiency rates, operating at a minimum of 80% efficiency. That means 80 cents of every dollar you spend on natural gas becomes usable heat for your home. However, it’s possible to find furnaces that are up to 98.5% efficient, making them fairly close to perfectly efficient.

The Disadvantages of Furnaces

The main disadvantage of natural gas furnaces is that your home must have a natural gas supply connection to use one. If your home doesn’t already have one, the cost of adding one isn’t insignificant, assuming your home can get one at all.

On top of that, natural gas, while cleaner than many other fossil fuels, isn’t very environmentally friendly. So, if you’re trying to reduce your home’s carbon footprint, a natural gas furnace isn’t ideal. They can also create air quality issues, including the buildup of carbon monoxide in your home if they malfunction.

What Is a Heat Pump?

A heat pump is best understood as the opposite of an air conditioner. It uses refrigerant to capture heat from the outside air and carry it into your home to heat the indoor air. Unlike natural gas furnaces, they don’t rely on a fuel source to generate heat. In fact, they don’t generate heat at all, which makes them an ultra-efficient way to heat your home.

The Advantages of Heat Pumps

The most important advantage of a heat pump is low operating costs. That’s because they make even the most efficient furnace look downright wasteful by comparison. Heat pumps do use electricity, but since they’re not using it to create heat, they don’t use much. By capturing available heat from the outdoors, heat pumps achieve between 200% and 400% efficiency rates. That can translate into cost savings of 50% or more compared to a furnace.

It’s also important to know that a heat pump can also cool your home in the summertime. Additionally, a heat pump operating in cooling mode is often more efficient than a traditional central air conditioning system. This also means that by installing a heat pump, you’re replacing two separate comfort systems in your home. That often helps to defray their upfront costs and makes them a more palatable option for homeowners in Newbury Park.

The Disadvantages of Heat Pumps

Having learned the advantages of heat pumps, you may wonder why they’re not displacing furnaces even faster than they are. The answer is that they come with some significant disadvantages, too. The first among them is that they’re not nearly as efficient or effective in freezing temperatures. While that’s not too much of a problem here in Newbury Park, some homeowners want the peace of mind that comes with a tried-and-true heating solution like a natural gas furnace.

Another disadvantage of a heat pump is that they don’t produce air that’s as warm as a comparable natural gas furnace. This means they can’t warm your house up as fast as a furnace, which is something some homeowners simply can’t adjust to. So, if you’re the kind of person who loves the feeling of hot air rushing from your home’s vents, a heat pump probably isn’t a good fit for you.

Lastly, heat pumps can cost significantly more than natural gas furnaces, depending on your specific heating needs. Their saving grace is their ability to do double duty, replacing your home’s air conditioner as well. However, if your home has a relatively new central air conditioning system, that may not be something you’re interested in.

Choosing Between a Furnace and a Heat Pump

Deciding between a furnace and a heat pump for your home comes down to a few important factors. The first is what type of system your home already has and if it has a preexisting natural gas connection. If so, replacing your existing natural gas furnace with a new one could be the most desirable option. Doing so should give you an efficiency upgrade over your previous model at a price that won’t break the bank.

However, if your home has no existing gas connection, a heat pump could be a good option. Although your upfront costs might be a bit higher, the benefits of a heat pump are well worth it. Their high efficiency and cooling capabilities make them a great addition to any home.

You may also want to consider one other thing. It’s that California plans to ban all new gas furnace installations by 2030. That means heat pumps will become the dominant residential heating system in Newbury Park in a few years. So, buying a heat pump today will prepare your home for the future a bit ahead of schedule.

Contact the Heating Experts

No matter what type of heating system you’re considering, Southland Heating & Air Conditioning can help. We’re a locally owned HVAC service company with over 50 years of combined experience on staff. That allows us to offer expert natural gas furnace installations, as well as installations of the latest in heat pump technology. Plus, you can count on us to handle all of your HVAC repair and maintenance needs, and we provide indoor air quality solutions. You don’t have to take our word for it, though. Our A+ Better Business Bureau rating and our selection for the Angi Super Service Award in 2020 speak for themselves.

So, when your home’s ready for a new heating system, give Southland Heating & Air Conditioning a call!

company icon
Categories: ,