While South Carolina winters are mild compared to other parts of the country, you still need a reliable heating system to keep your home comfortable for frosty nights and chilly days. With so many different systems to choose from, it can be difficult for homeowners to decide which unit is best for their specific comfort needs. Heat pumps and furnaces are among the most popular choices for South Carolina residents looking to upgrade their heating systems.

To make the most informed decision, homeowners need to consider their individual comfort needs, budget, and a number of additional factors. Read on to discover whether a furnace or heat pump is the right choice for your South Carolina home’s heating needs.

Pros & Cons of Heat Pump Installation for SC Homes

Since average winter overnight temperatures tend to hover around the 30s, a heat pump might be a great option for your South Carolina home if your main goal is efficiency.

Heat pumps don’t work in the same way that furnaces do. Instead, they operate like a reverse air conditioner, using electricity and refrigerant to generate heat in the home. The system draws heat from the air outside and circulates it throughout your living space through refrigerant-based heat transfer.

Advantages of Heat Pumps

  • Efficiency: One of the biggest advantages of heat pump installation is their superior energy efficiency compared to traditional furnaces. They also work exceptionally well with solar panels.
  • Year-round comfort: Capable of both heating and cooling your home, a heat pump can provide year-round comfort without the need for two separate HVAC systems.
  • System cost: Along with the continued savings you’ll enjoy thanks to improved energy efficiency, heat pumps are often less expensive to install than comparable furnaces of similar size.
  • Air quality: As we mentioned earlier, furnaces tend to dry out the air inside; however, heat pumps do not pose this issue. Additionally, since there’s no gas combustion, the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning is eliminated.

Disadvantages of Heat Pumps

  • Temperature: Since heat pumps move air from outside the home to the inside, freezing temperatures can cause less heat to be produced during the most critical parts of the winter season.
  • Utility cost: When freezing temperatures cause the electric heat strips to engage, you’ll face higher utility costs as a result.

Pros & Cons of Furnace Installation for SC Homes

While heat pumps are often underutilized, even in more moderate climates, furnaces are a reliable heating option common to the Carolinas and states with much colder winters.

Gas and electric furnaces are forced-air heating solutions that blow air across a heat exchanger, where it is heated and moved into the home. 

Advantages of Furnaces

  • Heat output: Compared to their heat pump counterparts, gas and electric furnaces produce much warmer temperatures.
  • Consistency: Unlike heat pumps, furnaces always produce the same temperature regardless of how cold it may be outside.
  • Life span: Most modern furnaces will last longer than a heat pump as long as the owner adheres to annual heating maintenance.
  • Reliability: Because a furnace has fewer mechanical components than a heat pump, they are less likely to experience unexpected breakdowns or malfunctions.

Disadvantages of Furnaces

  • Fuel cost: If you have a gas furnace, you’ll need either natural gas or propane to use it, which is more costly than the electricity used in a heat pump.
  • Separate cooling system: Unlike a heat pump, furnaces only produce heat, meaning you’ll need to install a separate system for your cooling needs.
  • Dryness: Furnaces tend to dry out indoor living spaces, often making it necessary to pair them with a whole-home humidifier.

Which Heating System Is Best for Your SC Home?

Still having trouble choosing between a heat pump or a furnace for your South Carolina home’s heating solution? Preferred Home Services offers a wide variety of heating systems from the industry’s top-rated manufacturers, including heat pumps, ductless mini-split systems, furnaces, and more.

Allow our team to help you find the best heating unit for your individual comfort needs by calling 843-405-3601 to schedule heating installation services in Charleston today!