An electric heat pump is an appliance powered by electricity, which takes in heat from the ground or outdoors and transfers it indoors. In the summer, it reverses this cycle and takes away heat from indoors to provide a cooling effect. An electric heat pump uses refrigerants such as Freon. A gas heat pump operates on natural gas or propane and uses refrigerants such as ammonia and water. On the whole, heat pumps function very similar to refrigerators and air conditioners.
Benefits of a Gas Heat Pump
Gas heat pumps do not use commercial, synthetic refrigerants such as Freon. Gas heat pumps are also considerably more efficient as compared to gas stoves or fireplaces. They do not emit the same amount of harmful gases and burn much cleaner. Another significant advantage is that you can keep your home cool or warm in the summer and winter respectively, even in the absence of electricity. These devices are a boon in situations of power failures.
Gas heat pumps remain reliable and efficient even in extremely cold weather. These devices work harder to extract heat from the surrounding area. Electric units may fail to achieve satisfactory heating levels in very cold weather. As a result, gas heat pumps are considered more efficient.
Drawbacks of a Gas Heat Pump
Gas heat pumps require propane or natural gas, which is considerably more expensive than electricity. There is also the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, though much smaller than a gas furnace or fireplace. You must have a reliable carbon monoxide detecting system in your home if you operate any gas appliance.
Benefits of an Electric Heat Pump
Electric heat pumps are cheaper to run, because they operate on electricity. There is no danger of combustible gases or toxic emissions that may occur with a gas appliance. Overall, electric heat pumps do a better job at keeping indoor air clean, healthy and free of toxins.
Drawbacks of an Electric Heat Pump
Though electricity is considered a cleaner option by many, it still has its ill effects on the environment. The generation of electricity is time consuming and very expensive and costs are increasing regularly. Over the long run, the efficiency of a gas heat pump may reduce the margin of savings you can expect from an electric heat pump in comparison to a gas one.
Also, the use of ozone-depleting refrigerants makes these devices unsuitable for the environment. These refrigerants are very harmful to the environment. They have a significant role in the depletion of the protective ozone layer around earth. Because of this, the most common refrigerant called R-22 is being banned from being used in most electric appliances such as refrigerators and heat pumps. Safer alternatives are now available, which help conserve the environment and keep your indoor air clean.
Electric heat pumps may not achieve maximum efficiency in extremely cold or hot climates. As a result, your home may not be as warm as you want it to be in winter. Electric heat pumps may be a better alternative for milder climates.