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Deciding Between an HVAC Vs. Heat Pump for Your Home

When it comes to climate control, homeowners in Bradenton, FL, are often torn between conventional HVAC, or “cool only” systems, and heat pump systems. While it’s hard to go wrong with either option, considering a few key questions can help you determine the right fit for your needs.

Are You Upgrading or Starting From Scratch?

Any search for a new HVAC system should always begin with the equipment you currently have in place. Adding a furnace may be the simplest and most cost-effective option if you’ve already got a dependable, efficient air conditioning system. Likewise, focusing on installing a new air conditioner makes sense if you’re happy with your existing heating system. Though it depends on a variety of factors, you can typically expect to pay less for a furnace or AC system than a comparable heat pump.

If both components of your conventional HVAC system have seen better days, a high-performance heat pump may be the ideal upgrade. Instead of replacing your heating and air conditioning units individually, why not choose a single system that does it all? Heat pumps offer year-round climate control, allowing you to switch seamlessly between cooling and heating with no additional equipment required. This all-in-one functionality also makes heat pumps a fantastic choice for anyone building a home or installing a new HVAC system from scratch.

Do You Need Heating Power or Energy Efficiency?

On a fundamental level, heat pumps do exactly what their name suggests: they pump heat. During hot weather, they produce cool air by simply pulling the heat energy out of your living space. This process is virtually identical to the way air conditioners work. Unlike AC systems, heat pumps can also absorb heat from the environment and pump it back into your home. This allows them to keep you warm without burning fuel, making them one of the cleanest, safest, most energy-efficient heating sources.

Of course, this reliance on ambient heat energy also raises an obvious question: what happens when there isn’t any? In the past, older heat pumps frequently struggled to produce sufficient warmth in cold weather. While modern systems can often operate effectively even in chilly conditions, some homeowners still prefer a furnace’s faster, more powerful heat output. Nonetheless, considering freezing weather is rare in Bradenton, FL, even during the depths of winter, low-temperature performance is hardly a pressing concern. In fact, Southwest Florida’s humid subtropical climate is perfectly suited to achieving optimal heat pump efficiency.

Which HVAC Option Can Your Home Support?

Although HVAC versus heat pump decisions often come down to things like efficiency and cost, there are also more practical issues to consider. First and foremost, does your property currently have access to the right fuel supply for a new furnace? While some furnaces are powered by electricity, most burn either natural gas or oil. A furnace could be a sensible heating solution if your property already has a gas line or oil tank. If not, installing the requisite connections may be prohibitively expensive. By contrast, a heat pump requires only a dedicated electrical circuit.

Another crucial factor for many homeowners is space. Before installing new equipment, you must ensure you have enough room to accommodate your chosen system. For instance, furnaces need to be located indoors and given at least 30 inches of clearance on all sides. Adding a separate air conditioner and installing a conventional HVAC system could become a serious logistical challenge. If real estate is at a premium in your house, a heat pump may be a better solution. Like air conditioners, heat pumps are split into indoor and outdoor units. The indoor air handler is compact and requires no safety clearance, making it easy to install almost anywhere.

Still not sure where you stand in the great HVAC versus heat pump debate? Call Climate Design to request a free in-home consultation and lock in a great quote for your next premium HVAC installation.

Image provided by iStock

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