Winters in Florida are the kind that draw people down to visit us so they can get away from the cold. Right now, heading into December, we’re enjoying temperatures in the mid-70s, just about the best weather you could ask for.
There are cold days during the winter, however, when homes will need effective heating systems. This creates a dilemma: finding a heating system that will offer comfort during the brief cold periods but not consume too much energy. A full gas furnace may be just too much. For our customers, we often recommend using a heat pump, which offers energy savings over winter.
Why a heat pump costs less to run than other types of heating systems
First, a reminder about what a heat pump is: it’s essentially an air conditioning system that can reverse the direction it works. An AC uses refrigerant to remove thermal energy from inside a house, cooling it down, and releasing the heat outdoors. When the heat pump changes modes, it draws heat from the outdoor and then releases it indoors.
Why is this an energy efficient way of heating a home? It’s the difference in the energy necessary for generating heat and exchanging heat.
- Generating heat is what natural gas and electric furnaces do. An energy source is burned to create heat, which is then applied to the air. In a gas furnace, natural gas is burnt in a combustion chamber and then collected in a metal chamber that transfers the heat to the air moving around it. With an electric furnace, electricity passes through the coils of the heating elements, causing the elements to grow hot. This is called electrical resistance heating, and it’s the same principle seen in a toaster. It consumes a larger amount of electricity to heat up the coils to the point they can effectively warm the air.
- Exchanging heat is the process both air conditioners and heat pumps use, where no heat is generated and no fuel is burned. Instead, electrical power goes to the components that move heat from one place to another. In heating mode, a heat pump exchanges the heat outdoors and moves it indoors. It consumes less power to move heat than to generate it.
How much can you expect to save?
According to the Department of Energy, changing from an electrical resistance heater like an electric furnace to a heat pump can reduce a home’s winter heating costs by 50%. They may also save compared to gas furnaces, and offer the added benefit of better safety compared to using a gas furnace. Then there’s the best bonus of all: you also have an effective air conditioner for the rest of the Florida weather!
Heat pump and ductless heating installation professionals
After reading this, are you interested in installation of a heat pump in Pensacola, FL for your house? We think it’s a great idea, although we’ll first make sure that it’s the best choice for your individual needs. Along with installing standard heat pumps that use ducts, we also install ductless mini split heat pumps, which are an excellent option for new homes or homes that have never used ductwork before.
Lee Heating & Cooling offers 24-hour heating service in Pensacola, FL and the surrounding areas.