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Propane Furnace vs. Electric Heat Pump: Which One Keeps You Warmer?

Posted: October 30, 2018

Woman shivering

If you have an electric heat pump, you may have chosen it because a heat pump is usually touted as an efficient way to heat your home. But as you’ve probably already discovered, a heat pump really doesn’t do a good job of keeping a home warm when outdoor temperatures turn frigid.

Heat pumps operate by harnessing heat from the air outside your home (or, in the case of a geothermal heat pump, from the ground) rather than generating heat by combustion as a gas furnace does.

After drawing in outdoor air, your heat pump converts it to a warm vapor that it distributes throughout the house. But the colder the outdoor air is, the more difficult it is for your heat pump to operate this way. Eventually, your heat pump can’t draw enough heat to warm your home, so it must rely on an auxiliary heating source–usually an electric heating element that is much less efficient than the heat pump itself.

Perception matters

Some years ago, the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) published a study conducted by psychologist Frederick H. Rohles, who noted that the temperature of heated air being delivered through vents can have both a psychological and physical impact on our comfort. According to the study, if the air temperature supplied through an air vent is below your body temperature, you are going to have the perception of being cooled–even if the room itself is getting warmer.

To put it another way, the average temperature of heat pump-generated air coming out of your vents is only about 95°. That may still sound warm, but on a very cold day, 95° coming out of a heating vent feels like a cold draft!

Now is a great time to talk to your propane company

Contact your propane company now and ask about the advantages of a high-efficiency propane furnace or a “dual fuel” heat pump. If you already have a propane furnace, consider upgrading to a new high-efficiency system to further improve your comfort and reduce your heating costs. Other upgrade options include a propane gas pack. Rebates of up to $250 are still available for all of these propane heating options. Learn more.

Propane gas heat – it’s the smart choice for keeping warm when the weather in North Carolina gives you the cold shoulder. Contact your local propane company for further details.