Heat Pumps vs Electric Heaters
Choosing the ideal heating system for your home is critical to your
comfort and can even help you save on energy costs. Those living in temperate
climates don't need as much heating as those in the northern regions. Heat
pumps are popular in these areas, especially in warmer climates.
Read on to learn about the benefits of choosing a heat pump over a
What is a resistance heater?
Resistive heaters convert 100% of the incoming electrical energy into
heat. Most heating systems use coal, natural gas, oil, or wood to generate
heat, which converts only about 30 percent of the fuel's energy into
electricity. Resistance heat can be provided by a centralized forced-draft
electric furnace or heaters in each room. Room heaters may include electric
baseboard heaters, electric wall heaters, electric radiant heat, or electric
space heaters. There are several different types of resistance heaters:
1. Electric furnace
Electric furnaces are one of the more expensive types of operating a
resistance heating system. Since heat is transported through a centralized
piping system, more energy is required to operate. Additionally, ducted heating
systems lose a lot of energy due to air leaks.
2. Electric baseboard heating
Electric baseboard heaters are zone heaters controlled by thermostats
located in each room. Baseboard heaters are usually installed under windows,
where the rising hot air counteracts the cold air coming from the cold window
glass. Baseboard heaters vary widely in quality.
What is a heat pump?
Just like your refrigerator, a heat pump uses electricity to move heat
from cool spaces to warm spaces, making cool spaces cooler and warm spaces
warmer. During the heating season, the heat pump transfers heat from the cool
outdoors to the warmer house, and during the cooling season, the heat pump
transfers heat from the cool house to the warmer outdoors. Because heat pumps
move heat rather than generate it, they can provide equivalent space
conditioning at a quarter of the cost of traditional heating or cooling
Heat pumps extract heat from the outside air to heat your home. The
energy efficiency of their heat pumps depends on the climate outside. In mild
climates, heat pumps can convert electrical energy into heat very efficiently.
In cooler climates, heat pump efficiency plummets because the heat pump has to
work harder to provide the same level of energy output that it normally would
in milder climates.
There are several different types of heat pump systems:
1. Air source heat pump
Air source heat pumps can provide efficient heating and cooling for your
home. When installed properly, an air-source heat pump can provide a home with
one and a half to three times more heat than it consumes.
2. Ductless Small Split Heat Pump
In a small split system, energy usage is greatly reduced and less energy
is lost through piping. Small splits do not use ductwork. This is why they are
often referred to as ductless systems. While there are other ductless systems,
the mini-split system is easier and more convenient than comparable systems.
Many other ductless systems use external heating sources, such as water heaters
or space heaters that use kerosene or propane. A mini-split system gives you
the benefits of a ductless system without the negative effects associated with
external heat sources.
3. Geothermal heat pump
Geothermal heat pumps, sometimes called earth-coupled, ground-source, or
water-source heat pumps, use the Earth's constant temperature as the exchange
medium, rather than the outside air temperature.
Which is more efficient?
Heat pumps are the most energy efficient in most climates in the
country. They can even reduce your energy consumption by up to 50% compared to
resistance heaters. A high-efficiency heat pump can lower the humidity level in
your home better than a traditional air conditioner. This means lower energy
consumption and greater indoor comfort during the warmer months. Heat pumps are
low maintenance and emission free. You can even get a tax credit for using the
The cost of installing and operating various heat pumps varies. For
example, a geothermal heat pump costs more to install than an air source heat
pump. This is because, with a ground source heat pump, you need to dig deep
into the heat source and involve a more complex heat transfer system. The
topography of your property will also affect the cost of your project.
Heat pump operation and maintenance costs vary by system type. Ground
source heat pumps are less expensive to run because the ground and water
temperatures are relatively constant, allowing the heat pump to work
efficiently. This type of heat pump system is also not exposed to outdoor
elements, helping to reduce wear and tear. At the same time, air supply systems
are easier to service and service, but require more maintenance due to exposure
to outdoor conditions.
What do you need to pay attention to when buying a heat pump?
1. Energy efficiency
The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) determines the cooling
efficiency of the air source and ductless split systems. For new homes in the
Northeast, Midwest, Mountain States, and Pacific Northwest, the minimum SEER is
13 SEER, and for the rest of the country, the minimum SEER is 14. Heating
efficiency, on the other hand, is measured by the Heating Seasonal Performance
If you live in a warm climate, you should find a heat pump with a higher
SEER. We recommend purchasing a heat pump with over 15 SEER and 8.5 HSPF.
Furthermore, the cooling efficiency of a geothermal heat pump is rated
by the energy efficiency ratio (EER), while its heating efficiency is rated by
the coefficient of performance (COP). Depending on the system type, the federal
EER minimum is 17.1 to 21.1 and the COP minimum is 3.1 to 4.1.
Another thing to consider when choosing a heat pump is size. Undersized
or oversized equipment can affect your indoor comfort and increase your energy
consumption. For example, if the device is too large for your home, it will
cycle on and off multiple times, shortening its lifespan.
When considering all the options available for a home heating system,
it's important to speak with a trusted professional. Leomon's heating and
cooling experts have extensive experience in inspecting, repairing and
installing heating and cooling systems. Please contact us. We will give you the
most professional advice.