What to Know about Heating and Heat Pumps in Florida
Temperatures are rising again after a big freeze in the Tampa Bay area and much of Florida and the southeast. If you have a fireplace in your home, it was certainly the time to take advantage of it. Otherwise, you fired up whatever heat source you must keep your home comfortable.
Here in the Sunshine State it does get chilly in the winter, but hard freezes are unusual in most of the state, though they do happen. It’s a good idea to have an efficient heating system in place for the times when it does get cold so that you can avoid a huge energy bill.
If you’re looking to upgrade from an older system that’s faulty or just inefficient, there are a few options to consider. Here we’ll look at what you need to know about heat pumps and heating options for the Tampa Bay area.
A heat pump is the most energy-efficient option for heating in Florida. These systems can cool your home in the hot Florida summers, and they use either hot water from a boiler system or geothermal energy to heat your home during chillier winter months.
Heat pumps transfer heat from the ground or from a hot water boiler instead of using electricity or natural gas. The latter are resistance heaters, and they have higher operating costs because of the power sources required.
If you’re looking to reduce your energy costs over time, a heat pump is a great choice. They’re the most efficient option, but you’ll need to determine what kind of heat pump will be best for your situation. Things to consider when deciding on a heat pump are your current heating setup, the size of your home, and your budget for installation. Setup can be expensive, but over time, they’ll pay for themselves with the savings on your energy bills.
Air Conditioner Heat Strips
Air conditioners are ubiquitous in Florida, and so an AC heat strip is the most common type of heating here. This is a heating element inside of the air conditioning unit, which provides sufficient warmth for cooler nights and short periods of time. The AC unit uses electricity, or possibly natural gas, to power its heat strip, so it can be expensive to run for extended periods of time, and when the temperatures drop below freezing, they can struggle to provide sufficient warmth for an entire home.
Electric or Natural Gas Furnaces
If you rarely need a heat source in your Tampa Bay area home, you may want to invest in an electric or natural gas furnace. They’re a bit expensive to buy and install, but they work much better than a heat strip in very cold temperatures. Once they’re installed properly, they’ll last a long time and so they’re a great way to stay cozy in the coldest Florida winter.
Propane and Electric Space Heaters
The most inexpensive option is an electric or propane space heater. These can keep a single room or small area comfortable, so they’re a convenient option if you need heat right away. Today’s models have lots of useful features, such as programmable thermostats and auto shut offs. They’re also not too expensive to operate.
However, despite these features, it’s still important to be aware of the risks that come with these devices. There’s still a risk of burns or fires, so it’s important to keep them away from anything flammable, and never leave them running unattended. Follow all manufacturer instructions, and if you’re using a propane heater, be sure that you have a functioning carbon monoxide detector.
Heat System Installation
Here in Florida, we don’t switch the heat on very often. But it’s a good idea to have an efficient system in place for those times when the temperatures do dip to the point where we’re pulling our sweaters out of storage and looking for our warmest socks.
If you’re interested in a heat pump or a new furnace, it’s important to find a good installer who has the experience to recommend a system that will work for your home and heating needs. Heating systems can be complex, and installation is expensive, so you want to get it right the first time. Regardless of the size of your home, there are efficient heating options available, and working with the right contractor will make the process of deciding what to install and getting everything up and running much easier.
Heat System Maintenance & Repairs
Like air conditioning systems, heating components also require regular maintenance to keep them clean and make sure they’ll operate correctly when you need them. There’s not much worse than discovering that your heating isn’t working properly only when you need it during a cold snap. Regular maintenance is important so that you can avoid this unfortunate situation.
If your heating system fails, look for a heater repair technician with experience in your type of system, and look at reviews to ensure that they’re honest and trustworthy. This will help you avoid delays and extra expense and get your heating back as quickly as possible. Regular checkups on your system by a reputable HVAC technician will help you avoid more expensive repairs, and you’ll also have someone you can count on for a successful service call when needed.