What’s the difference between a heat pump and a heater? They both work to heat the air in your home, but they do so in different ways. For example, a heater uses combustion to heat your air, while the other absorbs heat from the outdoors and turns into a hot gas, which is then transported back into your home.
What are the benefits of each system? What are the drawbacks? Below, KCA Services will be covering these answers. So, keep reading to learn more about heaters, heat pumps, and which one is best for your home!
What is a Heater?
While most of us are familiar with conventional heaters, some of us might not understand how they work. In short, a heater uses either electricity or a fuel source (most commonly natural gas) to create combustion within your heater’s combustion tank. This reaction then heats up a metal box—the heat exchanger—where the air of your home flows through. The heated air is then transported all throughout your house through a system of ductwork.
Benefits of a Heater
With that being said, conventional heaters keep hot air readily available at all times, so they’re known to work very quickly. In colder climates, gas heaters are actually more 95% efficient than ENERGY STAR® heat pumps. Heaters are also generally less expensive than heat pumps in terms of upfront costs.
Drawbacks of a Heater
A traditional heating system typically requires a separate air conditioning system for cooling, so it demands significantly more energy than other systems, like heat pumps. And the more energy that’s used, the higher your energy bill will likely be.
As mentioned, heaters are required to have plenty of heat to use on-demand, so they’re usually built as large tanks that take up more room than more modern heating systems. Because of their size, they also aren’t able to fit within your walls, so you’ll usually find them in either attics or crawlspaces.
What is a Heat Pump?
In contrast, heat pumps don’t generate heat from a fuel source like heaters do. So how do heat pumps work? Instead, they use electricity and refrigerant to transfer heat from outdoor air to the inside. Similar to how a refrigerator absorbs heat from the freezer or evaporator and discards this heat outside the refrigerator, these work the exact same way.
Benefits of a Heat Pump
Heat pumps beat traditional heaters in energy efficiency by a long shot. In fact, they can be around 300 percent more efficient than a typical heater by using only one unit of electricity to move three units of heat energy.
Because heat pumps perform both heating and cooling functions in one unit, they require less energy than traditional heating and cooling systems. In fact, according to the Department of Energy, many homeowners can save $1,000 per year by switching to a heat pump.
Preventative maintenance costs are also much lower than other types of heating and cooling systems on average, so heat pumps keep expenses low after installation.
Drawbacks of a Heat Pump
As mentioned, if you live in an area with particularly harsh winters, then a heat pump won’t be enough to warm your home entirely. If the outdoors are extremely cold, a heat pump will require more energy to maintain warm temperatures inside your home.
Again, heat pumps are generally more expensive to install upfront. This comes as no surprise considering their modern technology. However, because heat pumps can drastically reduce your monthly energy bill, they make up their costs in the long run.
Contact KCA Services!
Still unsure about whether heat pump systems or heaters are right for you? Contact KCA Services today! KCA Services offer a wide range of heating system options, including gas furnaces, oil furnaces, heat pump installation and repair, and more.
We can discuss your home’s needs, the pros and cons of each to help you make a decision!