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Carolina Climate Control Blog

Heat Pumps vs. Furnaces: What You Need To Know For Your Home In Charleston

Even with our moderate winters here in Charleston compared to the rest of the US, temperatures dip down far enough where having a reliable heating system is definitely a necessity.

Though we’re already past our historical coldest day of the year — January 17th — overnight lows can stay quite chilly through March and April, so having that heating system you can rely on is important even moving into our warmer seasons.

That said, which type of heating system is going to be that reliable source of heat for you and your family in Charleston?

Back in 2019 we jumped head first into this question in our heat pump vs. furnace showdown and even offered an alternative heating solution that many Lowcountry homeowners have opted for.

As we all are well aware 2 years can be quite a long time (especially with a year like 2020 we just had) so let’s get reacquainted with our Lowcountry heating options and see which type may work best for your home in Charleston.


Heat Pumps in Charleston, SC

Heat Pump Advantages & Disadvantages

Simplifying things a bit from our original blog post mentioned above, heat pumps — generally speaking — look and function pretty much the same as any air conditioning system you may have installed in your home.

Unlike a typical central air conditioner, however, a heat pump can function in the winter to provide heat to your home. It does this by transferring ambient heat from the outside air into your home — essentially reversing its summertime operation (moving warm air in your home to the outside).

This is obviously a huge advantage for many homeowners. One system to install, one system to maintain and one system to provide year-round comfort.

This advantage does get diminished when temperatures dip far below normal lows, when there is little-or-no ambient warmth to draw from outside to warm your home. Well designed HVAC systems may come with a backup heating source (like the heating options found in many modern air handlers), so you may be alright if that is the case.

Temperatures rarely, if ever, dip low enough to cause heating issues with your heat pump, so that’s why they’re so popular here in Charleston.


Furnaces in Charleston, SC

Furnace Advantages & Disadvantages

Having a dedicated furnace, as you might imagine, means always having a dedicated heat source when temps get cooler in the Lowcountry. Furnaces produce heat by passing electricity through coils or burning some type of fuel, like gas, oil, wood or wood pellets.

Needing that extra fuel to heat your home can obviously mean additional and/or larger bills when you’re running your furnace in the winter.

The additional parts, equipment and maintenance that go with having a furnace can mean more things to worry about as well, especially if you have an older one installed in your home.


Ductless Heating Options in Charleston SC

Other Heating Options In 2021

When we reviewed heat pumps above, we singled out the “typical” heat pump many homeowners have installed — the models that look pretty much the same as any other central air conditioning system you may see around the Lowcountry. Like those central air conditioning systems, they still very much rely on your home’s ductwork to move heated air into your home.

What we didn’t mention are the ductless heating and air conditioning options you could install in your home.

Ductless mini-split HVAC systems are a great option for reliable heating as well as cooling, just like the more traditional heat pumps, but don’t need your home’s ductwork to distribute heated air. They can be installed individually in rooms or other areas, to allow your family to make more personalized heating adjustments depending on where they are in home.

As many Lowcountry home have more and more issues with their ductwork (flooding, duct availability, etc.), ductless heating solutions can be a great, reliable heating option for your Lowcountry home.



Whichever route you choose for your primary heating source in your Lowcountry home, be sure to discuss your project with your local heating and ac company to make sure you get the best heater installation possible.

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