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Heat Pumps, Electric Furnaces and Gas Furnaces: Which is Better for My Home?

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There’s no way to get around it: staying warm during our long, cold Canadian winters can be expensive.

The good news? You have options when it comes to heating that can make heating costs a little more affordable! Below, we’ve outlined the major advantages and disadvantages of electric furnaces, gas furnaces and heat pumps.

Electric Furnaces

More suited for dry climates with hot or mixed temperatures, electric furnaces can be used to provide both heat and cooling to your home year-round.

Compared to gas furnaces, electric furnaces are cheaper to purchase and easier to install. Maintenance of an electric furnace is relatively simple and their lifespans are longer than gas furnaces. They also do not have the safety risk of carbon monoxide emissions.

But due to the high cost of electricity nowadays, they typically cost more to operate in the long-run. Plus, even though electric furnaces themselves can be quite efficient, the production of electricity is not.

Gas Furnaces

For homeowners who have natural gas infrastructure in their area, a gas furnace is one of the most affordable heating options currently available.

Compared to other furnace types, gas furnaces operate at the highest energy efficiency rating and can heat up a home the fastest. Compared to electric units, they are able to reach a higher temperature during extreme cold snaps.

Since they emit a low level of carbon monoxide, homeowners with gas furnaces must ensure their furnace unit is in good working order at all times. A carbon monoxide detector can help detect unsafe carbon monoxide levels.

On the downside, installation of gas furnaces is more complicated than electric furnaces and their lifespans are shorter.

Heat Pumps

Using electricity, heat pumps are a type of machine that transfers heat from a colder area to a hotter area. It runs similarly to an air conditioner but heats your home instead of cools it. Its lack of an extensive ventilation system makes it cheaper to install compared to a furnace.

Because they only transfer heat rather than generate it itself, heat pumps are well-known for being extremely energy efficient. However, their requirement for electricity to transfer heat makes heat pumps more expensive to operate than furnaces.

Since they do not require fossil fuels, heat pumps are more environmentally friendly than other heating methods.

A heat pump works most efficiently in temperatures over 40 – 50 degrees Fahrenheit so a supplemental heating source is required in colder climates. For example, residents in cold climates could pair a propane furnace with a heat pump as their heating source. When this type of hybridized approach is used, the heat pump system reacts to the temperature and automatically adjusts to the energy method that’s most efficient to heat a home.

Want more information about the benefits and drawbacks of each heating system? We’re happy to help! Contact our knowledgeable team today for more information.

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