replace furnace with heat pump

Choosing a heat pump system over an older, inefficient furnace that runs on oil, gas, or electricity is a huge step toward greener, more effective heating and cooling for homes. Due to their adaptability, low energy use, and long-term cost-saving potential, heat pumps are quickly gaining favor among homeowners.

This article talks in detail about the process, benefits, and considerations involved in replacing a furnace with a heat pump, providing a comprehensive guide to making this significant home upgrade.

Understanding Heat Pumps

In the winter, a heat pump can bring warm air from outside (even in cold weather) into your home, and in the summer, it can do the opposite, sending cool air outside. As a result of its ability to perform both functions, heat pumps are a cost-effective choice for both heating and cooling your home.

Among the many varieties of heat pumps, you can find ductless heat pump, mini-splits, ground-source (geothermal) heat pumps, and air-source heat pumps. When looking to replace an older furnace, two of the most popular options are air-source heat pumps and ductless heat pumps.

Furnace vs. Heat Pump system

When considering upgrading your home’s heating system, the choice often comes down to traditional furnaces or modern heat pumps. Each of these systems has its own mechanisms, benefits as well as considerations that need to be kept in mind while making a decision. Let’s look at the key differences to help you make a suitable decision based on your home’s needs, energy efficiency goals as well as budget:-

A professional technician cleaning a furnace duct to ensure efficient and clean air circulation.A furnace is a house heating appliance that uses ductwork to disperse heat generated by the combustion of fuel (gas, oil, or propane) or electrical resistance. The basic steps are as follows: first, fuel is burned in the burner of the furnace. The air is heated in the heat exchanger. Finally, the air is pushed into the ductwork by the blower of the furnace.

In contrast, heat pumps do not rely on combustion or thermal resistance to produce heat. On the contrary, they transfer heat using electricity. Heat pumps bring in warm air from outside (or from the earth, in the case of geothermal systems) and store it for use later in the year. In the summer, it works similarly to a conventional air conditioner by inverting the process to cool the house. Because of their dual-purpose design, heat pumps are a great choice for houses throughout the year.

  • Air Source Heat Pumps: The most prevalent kind, air source heat pumps may operate in a variety of climates but perform best in mild to moderate ones. They take the air from outside and turn it into heat.

  • Ductless Mini-Splits: If your home doesn't already have ductwork, a ductless mini-split can provide heating and cooling where it's needed most without tearing up your floor plan.

  • Ground-Source (Geothermal) Heat Pumps: Heat pumps that draw on the ground's natural temperature to provide heating and cooling are known as ground-source (geothermal) heat pumps. These pumps are incredibly efficient, but they can be expensive to install. Recommend for homeowners looking to repay their investment through long-term residency.

Since they transfer heat instead of producing it, heat pumps are typically more efficient than furnaces. Lower energy usage and expenses are a result of this efficiency, especially in places with mild winters. In addition, heat pumps can be driven by renewable energy sources, which helps to lower the carbon footprint of home heating, as they are electrical appliances.

Although furnaces, particularly more modern ones, have the potential to be energy efficient, they nevertheless usually use fossil fuels. Greenhouse gas emissions are exacerbated by the combustion process, which releases carbon dioxide. While electric furnaces do away with emissions immediately, they may still consume fossil fuels that are sourced from the grid, which has an indirect effect on the environment.

Heat pumps, particularly ground-source systems, can have a greater initial installation cost than furnaces. On the other hand, heat pumps are more efficient and so have lower operational expenses, which could result in substantial savings on energy bills and electricity costs in the long run.

There is a trade-off between the furnace's cheaper initial cost and its potential to increase energy bills due to its usage of costly fuels such as oil or electricity derived from non-renewable sources. Another consideration is the expense of maintenance for radiant heat alone. While both systems necessitate frequent inspection and cleaning, heat pumps' complexity can occasionally lead to higher maintenance expenditures.

Since heat pumps are dependent on the temperature of the air outside, they have historically been better suited to moderate climes. Technology has, however, allowed for the creation of cold climate heat pumps that work in temperatures as low as -15°F.

Conversely, furnaces are dependable options for areas with severe winters because they consistently heat the home regardless of the outside temperature. However, homes in warmer climates will need a separate heating season cooling system because they do not have the capability to cool.

What should you know before replacing furnace with heat pump?

Switching out your old furnace for a heat pump is more than simply an improvement to your home’s HVAC system; it’s also a statement about your values in terms of financial responsibility, environmental consciousness, and energy efficiency.

To guarantee a seamless transition and that the new system suits your home’s demands, there are several important factors to consider during the process. Let’s look at some of the key considerations:-

Detailed Assessment of Your Current System

It is crucial to assess your present heating system thoroughly before deciding to replace your furnace with a heat pump. This stage requires more than simply making the decision to remove the old unit; it also requires comprehending the consequences of replacing it.

If you own an oil furnace, you should think carefully about the oil tank. To prevent environmental dangers, it may be necessary to have these tanks removed by professionals or to fill them with an inert material. They are often buried. Be wary of underestimating the time and effort required for this process.

For those who use gas furnaces, switching to electric requires a number of adjustments, one of which is the secure cutting off of gas supply lines. A more comprehensive energy transition strategy may be required if this switch impacts additional gas-powered appliances in your house.

For people who are currently using electric furnaces, the transition may appear easier, but they will still need to determine whether their electrical infrastructure can support a new, possibly more energy-efficient unit.

Sizing and Selecting the Right Heat Pump

Investing in a high-quality heat pump is a long-term investment in your home’s comfort and energy savings.

A heat pump’s (and any HVAC system’s) effectiveness is highly dependent on how big the unit is in comparison to your house’s demands. If the unit is too big, it will waste energy and wear down quickly, but if it’s too little, it will have trouble keeping things at a pleasant temperature. In order to determine the appropriate size, a qualified HVAC contractor can perform a comprehensive load calculation.

Every type of heat pump has its own set of advantages and optimal applications. The efficiency and simplicity of air-source heat pumps have made them quite popular. Homes without preexisting ductwork can still get the heating and cooling they need with ductless heat pumps, sometimes known as mini-splits. A dual-fuel system is a flexible and effective option for very cold areas; it combines air source heat pump and pumps with gas furnaces.

Professional Installation

The installation of a heat pump is a complex process that generally exceeds the capabilities of even skilled DIY enthusiasts. It involves:

The location of both indoor and outdoor units is of the utmost importance in terms of efficiency. You need to make sure the the outdoor air unit isn’t blocked from airflow when you put it there. Strategic positioning of indoor units is essential for effective air distribution, especially with ductless systems.

 If your home already has existing ductwork throughout, you must check that it is compatible with the new heat pump. To make room for the new system, adjustments may be necessary in certain instances.

Changing your home’s electrical wiring is usually necessary to install a heat pump. The safety and efficiency of your home or business depend on your electrical service’s ability to manage the increased demand.

Navigating Costs and Incentives

Heat pumps can have a hefty upfront cost, but they can more than pay for themselves in the long run through rebates and other incentives.

The upfront costs of installing a heat pump can differ greatly depending on the model, the difficulty of the installation, and the extent to which your home’s current infrastructure will need to be modified.

When installed in place of older, less efficient systems, heat pumps typically result in reduced monthly energy expenditures.

To promote the use of heat pumps that are more energy efficient, numerous regions provide financial incentives such as tax credits and rebates. The net cost of installation can be drastically reduced using these.

Local Climate Adaptation

To achieve the efficiency and comfort levels you seek, it is vital to select a heat pump that is suitable to your local climate.

These days, modern heat pumps can still do their job well in really cold weather, so they’re great for a lot of different climates.

Choose a model that can handle your local weather conditions in Canada effectively. This can mean choosing a unit that is more suited to colder or warmer locations than the average.

Why should you replace your furnace with an energy-efficient heat pump?

Heat Pump Outside SetupThe increased energy efficiency of a heat pump system is a major selling point for making the change. During the winter, a heat pump's refrigerant moves heat from the outside into your home, and in the summer, it moves heat out of your home. By definition, this approach outperforms gas furnace combustion and electric furnace resistance heating in terms of energy efficiency.

In particular, heat pumps can increase a home's thermal energy output by 1.5 to 3 times while decreasing their electrical energy costs and use. When it comes to areas with mild to moderate winter temperatures, heat pumps really shine, which means they can cut energy consumption and expenditures in half.

As a result of their remarkable multifunctionality, heat pumps may serve as both a heating and cooling system. You may streamline your home's HVAC system and make more room with its dual functionality, which eliminates the need for separate heating and air conditioning systems.

Heat pumps are an appealing option for houses that are either cramped or want to streamline their heating and cooling systems. In addition, newer heat pumps may keep your house at a comfortable temperature all year round with minimal energy use; in the winter, they provide warm air and in the summer, they cool the house centrally.

Heat pumps are a good financial investment because, although they may cost more to install initially than a new furnace, they save money in the long run on operating costs. When used in place of systems that use costly fuels like oil or natural gas, heat pumps' efficiency directly correlates to reduced power bills.

The net cost of installation is further reduced when you take advantage of the tax credits, rebates, and incentives offered by many governments and utility companies for energy-efficient heat pumps. When calculating the long-term cost savings and benefits of installing a heat pump instead of a furnace, homeowners should keep these factors in mind.

Heat pumps are a good financial investment because, although they may cost more to install initially than a new furnace, they save money in the long run on operating costs. When used in place of systems that use costly fuels like oil or natural gas, heat pumps' efficiency directly correlates to reduced power bills.

The net cost of installation is further reduced when you take advantage of the tax credits, rebates, and incentives offered by many governments and utility companies for energy-efficient heat pumps. When calculating the long-term cost savings and benefits of installing a heat pump instead of a furnace, homeowners should keep these factors in mind.

Who to choose when replacing a furnace with a heat pump in Canada?

Picking the right service provider is crucial for a trouble-free heat pump conversion from a conventional furnace. Comfort Union is a leading HVAC system provider that specializes in helping clients upgrade from inefficient heating systems to more energy-efficient heat pump systems. Reliability in replacement, installation, and repair is what we believe in providing our customers with.

Our team of skilled professionals can inspect your home, choose the optimal heat pump model, then install it with meticulous attention to detail. Homeowners can relax knowing that Comfort Union is taking care of their heating and cooling needs, and they’ll also notice a significant improvement in the system’s comfort and efficiency.

Due to our commitment to offering outstanding service and guaranteeing customer satisfaction, Comfort Union is an excellent choice for homeowners looking to replace their HVAC systems. For further information about our services, please contact us.


How Do Costs Differ By Heat Pump Type?

Heat pumps can range in price depending on the model. In general, air source heat pumps are the most affordable and versatile options, working in a wide variety of climates. Although they are the most efficient, ground-source (geothermal) heat pumps are more expensive to install since they require piping to be laid underground. In the middle ground, ductless mini-splits provide a versatile option that does not involve ductwork.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Heat Pump System?

Heat pump installation costs can range greatly based on factors including the kind of heat pump you choose, how complicated the installation is, and whether or not your home requires any further adjustments. Homeowners should expect to spend an average of $4,000 to $20,000 on a heat pump system, with geothermal heating oil systems costing more than twice that.

Oil Heater vs. Electric Heater: Which one should you choose?

Many people believe that heat pumps, which use electricity, are a more environmentally friendly alternative to oil heaters for heating homes. Because they transfer heat instead of creating it through combustion, heat pumps are more efficient and have less of an effect on the environment. Electric heaters already have a smaller environmental impact than oil heaters, and that will only grow as the grid integrates renewable energy sources.

How Much Does It Cost to Convert Oil Heat to Electricity?

Depending on the installation details and heat pump type used, the cost of switching from oil heat to an electric heat pump system can vary. Between $____ and $_____ is the typical range for the conversion cost. The old oil system removal, any required electrical improvements, and new heat pump system installation are all included in this range.

How Difficult Is It to Convert from Oil Heat to a Heat Pump?

A number of factors determine how challenging it is to go from oil heat to a heat pump. These include the home’s electrical capacity, the current heating system, and the presence or absence of ductwork. To make sure the changeover goes off without a hitch, it’s best to hire professional HVAC contractors to assess these aspects and oversee the procedure.

Can You Do a Heat Pump Installation Yourself?

Installing a heat pump on your own may seem like a good way to save money at first, but you should know that while heat pumps work great, it requires intricate electrical work, handling refrigerant, and accurate calibration. Mistakes can lead to less efficient functioning, increased energy expenses, or possibly the complete breakdown of the system.

How Much Is a Heat Pump for a 2,000-Square-Foot House?

For a 2,000-square-foot house, a heat pump system can cost anywhere from $_____ to $_____, including installation. The wide range in pricing reflects different heat pump types and the specific heating and cooling needs of the home.

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Various types of heating and air conditioning equipment: furnaces, heat pumps, air conditioners, and ductless mini-split systems.
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