Furnace or Heat Pump: What Do You Need in North Texas?

Although Starbucks just recently busted out the Pumpkin Spice Latte and fall colors are starting to flicker across the DFW Metroplex, we are a ways from firing up our heating sources in relatively mild North Texas. Temperatures may still be in the 90s, but in a month or so you may start to consider heating your home, at least at night. Best have a grip on what type of heating you need now before those temperatures take you by surprise.

In North Texas, a common debate is furnace or heat pump. Because our weather is not always predictable and balmy (compared to southern Texas), it is recommended that you know the difference between the two basic types of heating and understand which is best for your home and needs.

All About Heat Pumps

A heat pump is popular in the warm parts of the United States. They dually function as heating and cooling, within the same unit. Also known for their energy efficiency, most models run on electricity and do not cost you too much on your monthly bill.

Heat pumps work using heat exchange. The pump pulls heat from one source and sends it to another source. In summer, it pulls heat from the outside air and then pumps that air into your house. Conversely, in winter, it converts air, water, or heat in the ground as a source to distribute warm air through your home before pushing it outside. By functioning this way, a heat pump also conserves energy by only using existing heat instead of generating its own.

If the temperature is only 50 outside and the nights are not dipping down to freezing, you may think a furnace is overkill and a pump is ideal. However, you may not want to rely only on a heat pump in the Dallas-Forth Worth area. For one thing, heat pumps do not heat very efficiently when the temperatures dip below 40 degrees. Although not every night or day will dip that low, we do have fluctuating temperatures in this region. When it snows and is below 30 degrees in the middle of January, you may wish you had something with a bit more kick.

You can certainly still use a heat pump under 40 degrees, but it will not heat as efficiently and at that point you will not be saving money with all the cold air winning the fight. Some pumps do have heating coils which heat the air versus the transfer method, but they still are not as efficient as furnaces when things get chilly.

A Word About Furnaces

As you can guess, well-functioning furnaces are more effective at keeping you warm with their generated heat after temps dip below 40 degrees. But the key word is “well-functioning.” If you have an older model, beyond ten years, your efficiency falls to 59 percent, compared to the 98.5 percent efficiency that the Department of Energy reports newer models can achieve.

Older homes may have a built-in furnace along the baseboards and some homes have electric heating, which is powerful and energy-efficient but more costly than gas or propane. Overall, the general consensus is that newer furnace models are the most energy efficient.

Best of Both Worlds

The decision is fully up to you, but many people consider having both in their home. You do have to decide when to switch from heat pump to furnace and back again (it can be a science), but a smart thermostat helps make this decision. By using both, you can use the heat pump and enjoy the benefits of its efficiency until you absolutely need to switch gears for a month or two and power that furnace.

Other people choose a hybrid model, one that combines the benefits of the heat pump and furnace into one intuitive piece of technology that can rate temperature and utilize efficiency accordingly. More expensive upfront, many of customers find they save time, money, and hassle by going with a hybrid option.

Whichever option you choose, we are here to support you and provide you with knowledge to make an educated decision. For more info on our heating services and products, check out our website today.

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I met with Gorman Mechanical’s Sales Manager. When he came out I had a bad taste in my mouth due to some misrepresentations made by another company that happened to be A rated on Angie’s List. Because of this I’m certain I was on the defensive and asked a million questions. He was very patient and took plenty of time answering all my questions. He was very knowledgeable and helped educate me on my options and the advantages/shortfalls of each. When I came to the actual bid, I felt it was very competitive compared to other bids I’d received. I felt so well informed and confident at that point I cancelled two other appointments I’d made for that day and signed up with Gorman Mechanical. He was able to promptly arrange a great deal on financing the bulk of the cost, leaving me to pay out of pocket for a couple last minute additions (extended warranty/Reme Halo). They did not want this until installation was complete. A couple days later they installed my new system and I’ve been very happy with it. Shortly after installation I had several other questions about maintenance and a small amount that was overcharged upon installation. He was very responsive answering my questions and arranging for a prompt refund check to be sent. Fortunately, it isn’t often that I need to spend so much money on an important purchase like this, but I felt very confident with my decision and going through the process with him and Gorman Mechanical made it painless. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Gorman Mechanical to friends and family.

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