When heating your home, there are only two options: pumps and gas furnaces. An HVAC contractor will try to save time by recommending the already installed setup. Each type has its advantages and disadvantages, but it is important for homeowners to understand their options rather than taking a contractor's word. In order to get what you need, you must know the pros and cons of each, and what to ask the contractor who'll be doing the work. |
Gas furnaces are perfect for snowy regions with harsh winters. They produce the hottest temperatures of any system, typically around 110 degrees. This powerful warmth also means that your home will get comfortable more quickly during a cold snap. The type of gas used, and the amount needed are paramount considerations. Prices of petroleum have been known to vary greatly, which can make it difficult to plan a utility budget from year to year, whereas natural gas remains stable in most areas. Gas produces an arid heat, which can be a cause for concern if the unit has to run for long periods at a time. If the furnace has to run too much, it can dry out the home. This drying out will crack your wood and dry out the membranes in your nose, causing the whole family to be susceptible to viruses and bacteria.
Your air conditioner operates by sending a cooling chemical called refrigerant through an extensive series of copper pipes called a coil. The refrigerant makes the coil cold. When air blows through it, you get cold air sent through your ducts and vents. The refrigerant cycle has cold refrigerant going into the coil and hot refrigerant leaving. A pump has a switching valve that reverses the process in the winter, making the coil hot. The positives of this process are primarily in its efficiency. The process eliminates gas from the equation. The one problem is that pumps discharge their heat at around 90 degrees, which is not hot enough when it is below freezing. In this instance, the system must switch to electric strips, which are less efficient than gas. In climates with extended winters, the cost of electric heating makes a pure pump system too expensive to be a viable option.
Why Not Both?
Interestingly, the pros and cons of each type mesh perfectly with each other. Gas furnaces are superior in an intense cold, and pumps are much more efficient during the milder periods of fall and early spring. Fortunately, the technology has advanced to the point that hybrid systems are now possible. Just like in automobiles, hybrid heating systems use the pump's electric process when the temperature is above 40 degrees, and then switch over to gas when they need to turn up the power. By getting the best of both worlds, you remain perfectly comfortable all winter long and save the most money possible on utility costs.
When considering heating, Grand Rapids, MI residents visit Mast Heating & Cooling. Learn more about them at http://www.mastheating.com/index.php/products/geothermal.
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