Winter is coming to the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Greater Vancouver Area. Is your home ready? How old is your heating system? Do you use a Furnace or a Heat Pump?
Mr. Swirl is here to help you through these questions and help you decide what the best heating system for your home is, and when it’s time to get a new one.
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You’re likely already quite familiar with furnaces since most homeowners in the Lower Mainland use them. They’re still the hottest home heating system on the market and by far the most common in pacific Canada, but do you know how your furnace really works?
Unlike heat pumps, furnaces have the option of using gas, electricity or even propane as their fuel. In a gas or propane furnace, a small burner is used and in an electric furnace a small electrical element is used to generate heat.
Air is drawn in from outside and the Heat Exchanger transfers heat from the burner or element into the air. Now, your furnace is connected to a series of ducts that travel to different areas of your home, and a blower in the furnace distributes the heated air through these ducts and across your property. Having proper ducting is incredibly effective in delivering consistent heat to every corner of your home.
The hot air entering your home also pushes out cold air into return ducts that expel it out of your house. However, furnaces on their own cannot be used for AC like heat pumps can be.
You may or may not already be familiar with heat pumps. They’re the upgrade from furnaces and their cost-effective and energy efficient cousin.
A heat pump comprises of 2 main components, the condenser and air handler. The condenser generally sits outside of your property and draws in outside air. Once it’s drawn in, the air is compressed to the point of being heated with the use of a pump, hence the name “heat pump”. The air is passed on to the air handler which distributes hot air into the home and at the same time sucks out any cold air. Heat pumps can also completely reverse this function and be used for AC in the summer!
The great thing about heat pumps is that they don’t use any gas or oil. Heat pumps use electricity which is cheaper and is much better for the environment!
The best way to use a heat pump in the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley and Greater Vancouver Area is to add it to your existing furnace system. By upgrading your heating system with a heat pump you’ll be able to use all the ducting from your previous system and automatically be much more energy efficient, saving you tons on your monthly bills. The high initial cost of installing the heat pump will recoup within the first few years.
– Can be used for AC
– No gas or oil
– No risk of Carbon Monoxide poisoning
– Energy Efficient
– Cost Effective
– High Initial Cost
– Loses efficiency as temperatures dip below freezing (without a more significant investment)
Furnaces vs. Heat Pumps
So, what’s really better for heating your home, a solo furnace, or the heat pump upgrade? Like most things in plumbing and heating, it completely depends on your home and where you live.
Most will say that heat pumps are completely ineffective below freezing temperatures, and this is true. However, there are heat pump systems that are specifically built for functioning at temperatures well below freezing. Now of course these systems come with a heftier price tag, but at Mr. Swirl the Friendly Plumber we can install whatever you need! Our heating experts can install heat pumps of all different makes and models, and we’ll even help you decide on the perfect one for your home.
The lifetime of furnaces versus heat pumps is relatively similar, but furnaces just edge out heat pumps on their expected lifetime. Furnaces in general usually last approximately 20 years and heat pumps on average last 15-18 years. Both create significant value compared to their initial cost and monthly costs in the long run.
At first glance, a heat pump will appear much more expensive than a stand-alone furnace. The value in heat pumps comes over time, and if you’re patient it will save you TONS in the long run. The energy efficiency of heat pumps will save you money on your bills every month. Your gas bill for heating will be non-existent and your electric heating bill will be a fraction of what you’re used to with just a furnace.
Another cost comparison to make is the AC comparison. Our Lower Mainland summers just seem to get hotter and hotter, and AC systems are more in demand than ever. When you install a heat pump which covers heating and air conditioning, you won’t need to spend the money on a AC system in the summer!
This Winter, be prepared for the cold! Make sure you understand what heating system you currently have, how old it is, and any possible upgrades necessary. The Lower Mainland keeps bringing the cold, so if you’re in Coquitlam, Maple Ridge, Pitt Meadows, Port Coquitlam, New Westminster, Langley or anywhere else in Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley or Greater Vancouver Area and need support with your heating system, give Mr. Swirl the Friendly Plumber a ring or book us online today!