With inflation pushing energy prices higher and growing environmental concerns, some people want to change how they use energy in their daily lives. Many people have switched over to electric or hybrid vehicles to combat rising gas prices. Home appliances often show how energy efficient they are so you know you are getting the best energy consumption out of them.
One of the most significant sources of high PG&E bills comes from running your HVAC system. The winter of 2021/2022 saw a huge rise in the cost of natural gas leaving those with gas furnaces paying much more than before. If you were one of those people or maybe would like a healthier energy source for your home, you may want to consider changing your HVAC system to a heat pump.
Differences Between Heat Pump and Furnace
A traditional gas furnace runs on gas to heat air. The air is pushed out through ducts and vents around the home to warm the area. The furnace is located inside the house. Usually, it is found in a closet, attic, crawlspace, or garage. If the furnace is also connected to an air conditioner, that would be found outside.
Heat pumps work differently than furnaces, but they look similar. Inside, located wherever a furnace would be, is the air handler that distributes air throughout the house. The heat pump itself is installed outside where an air conditioner would be. At first glance, heat pumps and air conditioners look almost the same. The heat pump uses electricity and refrigerant to heat and cool the air. The conditioned air goes through the air handler and into your home.
The recent increase in the cost of natural gas has some people worried about how they will pay to heat their homes. It is possible that gas prices will drop before the cold weather arrives, but with many factors at play, it is difficult to tell. A solution to this problem would be to convert all home appliances, including your HVAC system, to electric.
Using all-electric products ensures a more secure rate. PG&E offers programs to curb the costs of electricity for low-income users. Various rate plans can help save money the more you regulate your energy consumption.
Natural gas is considered bad for the environment. Several states have started drafting laws to limit or ban natural gas usage. In 2022, Contra Costa County implemented a law where newly built residences cannot have gas appliances. All newly constructed homes will have an electric-based heat pump system. Through PG&E you can explore where your electricity is coming from such as solar, wind, or water electrical generation systems.
A byproduct of using natural gas is carbon monoxide. The colorless, odorless gas occurs when a furnace is heating normally. If working correctly, the carbon monoxide is vented outside the home and does not pose a danger. However, if there is an issue with the flue pipes or a crack in the heat exchanger of the furnace, the carbon monoxide will leak into the home. Exposure to carbon monoxide could cause headaches or flu-like symptoms. Long-time exposure can lead to long-term illness or death. Since heat pumps run on electricity, carbon monoxide is no longer a threat to personal health.
Interested in switching out to a heat pump? Give us a call at 925-689-7017.