Electric Furnace vs Heat Pump: Expert Comparison

As the chilly season starts to roll in, we at River Valley Air Conditioning know that you’re looking for the best ways to keep your home cozy and warm. We get it – selecting the ideal heating system can feel puzzling and even overwhelming. 

In this post, we’ll compare two popular heating systems: electric furnaces and heat pumps. Look at each type to help you see which heating system will work best in your home.

Functionality and lifespan

One of the most important parts of choosing a heating system is knowing how it will work in your home and how long it will last you. 

The heat pump doesn’t actually generate heat – it transfers it. The heat exchanger takes heat from the outdoor air and delivers it inside. When it’s hot outside, it does the opposite. Typically, these systems can last up to 15 years with proper maintenance.

Now, let’s bring the electric furnace into the spotlight. These devices heat up your house using electricity to warm up the elements and then blow warm air through your home (there are also gas and oil-powered options). 

These heaters can last a staggering 20-30 years (with proper maintenance, of course). 

Heating efficiency and installation 

Like anything, you want to get the most value for what you’re paying. With a more efficient system, you use less energy, meaning you save money and the planet! In the current age, there has been a push towards greener systems and products. An energy-efficient heating system is just that. 

Now let’s compare the two:

Electric furnaces convert almost all the electrical input to heat with little waste compared to their fossil fuel counterparts. It should be noted, however, that electricity may be more expensive in certain regions; be mindful of this when making your decision.

On the other hand, heat pumps consume less energy because they simply transfer heat rather than generating it from scratch. So, while the upfront cost may be higher, with less energy consumption, you’ll see those utility bills take a pleasant nosedive.

One of the pros of electric furnaces is that they are typically more affordable to install. That said, while heat pump installation tends to be more complex, they’ll provide you more savings due to their better energy-efficiency. 

Heating capacity: Can it heat your home effectively? 

Even though Arizona winters aren’t as harsh as other regions, you want a system that can handle heating your living space when the weather gets cooler outside. 

An electric furnace generates heat, keeping your home cozy and warm in any climate. This makes it a fantastic choice for colder climates, but it doesn’t mean it can’t suit Arizona homeowners! 

Now, let’s talk about the heat pump’s capacity. This system is great for moderate climates that don’t get harsh winters. However, heat pumps can struggle to keep up when the temperature drops below freezing. They will often need a bit of help from an auxiliary heat source like a space or baseboard heater to ensure your home stays toasty. 

However, it’s pretty much perfect for our Arizona home and property owners. The milder winters ensure that your heat pump can easily pull heat from the outside, making it a highly efficient option for heating your space. 

Not sure which one to choose? Ask our team for a professional recommendation from a qualified technician. 

Maintenance and servicing requirements 

Now, let’s tackle the final round: maintenance needs. 

A well-kept furnace can serve you faithfully for about 15 to 20 years. Regular servicing, ideally once a year, should be sufficient to keep it running smoothly. This servicing primarily includes checking and replacing the air filter, inspecting the blower motor, and ensuring all electrical components function correctly.

Although this sounds like a lot, most of the work can be done by a professional during an annual service check, leaving you hassle-free for the rest of the year. 

A heat pump requires a bit more attention. Given its dual function as both a heating and cooling system, it’s recommended to service it twice a year, once before summer and again before the winter begins. 

Regular maintenance checks include cleaning or replacing filters, inspecting the fan/coils, and checking the refrigerant levels. Regular servicing can help to maintain its efficiency and extend its lifespan, which is typically around 15 years.

Regardless of which system you choose, regular maintenance and servicing will not only prolong its lifespan but it will maintain its efficiency and your indoor comfort. 

Our team at River Valley Air Conditioning, Inc. offers professional servicing for both electric furnaces and heat pumps. For more information, don’t hesitate to call. 

Which one should I invest in for my home? 

Choosing a heating system will largely depend on your specific needs. 

If you live in a colder climate or need extra heating in the winter, an electric furnace might be your best bet. Electric furnaces are known for their robust heating capacity and can easily combat the cold. 

Conversely, heat pumps are more suited to climates with milder winters, like here in Arizona. They are incredibly efficient at transferring warmth from the outside air into your home. If your winters are more cool breezes than biting northern winds, a heat pump could be a smart investment.

In addition to the climate, consider your budget, heating needs, and whether you want a system with dual capacity. Furnaces only offer heating; heat pumps can provide heating and cooling. 

Finally, consider the long-term costs. While the initial investment for a furnace might be lower, a heating pump’s running costs and maintenance could prove more cost-effective over time.

Ask the experts and get the best system for your home today

At River Valley Air Conditioning, we understand that choosing between an electric furnace and a heat pump can be daunting; that’s why we are here to assist. From helping you choose the perfect heating unit to servicing your current unit, River Valley Air Conditioning has you covered! 

So, don’t wait – reach out to us today and enjoy a comfy home this winter!