With winter upon us and temperatures now dipping in the Lowcountry, this is about the time of year many Charleston area residents start considering getting their furnace replaced, or whichever heating source they use this time of year.
For most of those replacements, many simply swap out their equipment with newer models of their existing system and go with the same heating configuration.
No doubt this is the easiest approach for most homeowners, however before you pull the trigger on your replacement system, consider the 3 points below and see if there may be an opportunity to get an even better heating solution this year.
While you’ll see both traditional heating systems and heat pump systems here in Charleston, you may notice your friends and neighbors moving toward heat pump installations over the last few years.
What’s the difference?
With traditional heating systems (furnaces), a fossil fuel or other combustable material is usually consumed in order to create the heat that gets pushed around your home. Furnaces only create heat so operation is limited to the winter months.
Heat pump systems on the other hand, can maintain operation throughout the year. They function as your air conditioning system in the summer (moving warm, humid air out) and your heating source in the winter (pulling warm air from outside into your home).
Heat pumps are a great option for homeowners here in the Lowcountry as winter temperatures typically don’t dip as low as the northern part of the U.S., meaning they can effectively warm your home throughout the cold season.
The other advantage with a heat pump is that you’ll only need to maintain and replace one system, rather than two when you have a central air conditioning system with a furnace.
Another alternative to traditional heating and cooling systems many people are opting for are mini-split ductless heating and cooling systems.
Rather than having one main system pushing warm and cool air around your home (which can be inefficient with poor duct systems), ductless systems allow you to install independent heating sources in different rooms, allowing you to have more granular control over temperatures and comfort levels around your home.
These are especially handy if you find yourself constantly replacing or cleaning your ductwork after flooding (which occurs often here in the Lowcountry) or have an area of your home where ductwork doesn’t reach.
Mini-splits allow you to completely cut your ductwork out of your home’s HVAC equation, allowing you to optimize your comfort levels.
The other heating source that’s gaining traction here in Charleston is geothermal heating. Working similarly to the heat pump system mentioned above, geothermal systems use the ground’s naturally steady temperatures to heat and cool your home throughout the year.
Instead of pulling warmth from the air (as with normal heat pump operation), geothermal heat pump systems pull warmth from the ground below your home — a much more consistent and reliable source of heat.
In the summertime, this operation is reversed: warm air is pulled from your home and pushed into the ground (which is much cooler than the air in the summertime).
Whichever way it’s operating, geothermal systems run much more efficiently than most other HVAC systems and come with many local and federal tax incentives that can drive down the installation costs.
We hope you that you stay warm and comfortable in the Lowcountry this year, whichever option you choose and as always if you have any questions about your HVAC system and which system can work in your home, feel free to contact us today.