The operating cost of a heating system depends on several factors, including the rated efficiency of the system, the cost of fuel or electricity, and the climate in which it operates.
When considering different heating systems, such as furnaces, boilers, pellet stoves, and heat pumps, which has the lowest operating cost? In general, heat pumps tend to have the lowest operating cost among heating systems. Heat pumps are highly efficient because they move heat rather than generate it, which means they use less energy to produce heat. Additionally, the cost of electricity, which is the primary energy source for heat pumps, tends to be lower than the cost of other fuels, such as oil or propane. The efficiency of a heat pump decreases as the outside air gets colder. During the warmer shoulder months (Spring and Fall) heat pumps can have a COP (Coefficient of Performance) of 4 or greater. Even when outside temperatures dip into the single digits, heat pumps can operate with a COP of 2, while the most efficient furnaces and boilers only have a COP of .97.
Pellet stoves can also be relatively efficient, but their operating cost can vary widely depending on the cost of pellets in your area. Pellet stoves also lack whole home comfort and tend to overheat some areas and not reach others. Furnaces and boilers can be efficient, but their operating cost can be higher due to the use of fossil fuels, such as natural gas, oil, or propane, which can be expensive.
Overall, heat pumps are often the most cost-effective heating system, especially in areas with mild to moderate climates where the system can operate efficiently without requiring excessive energy consumption. However, it is important to consider all of the factors that can affect operating cost, as well as the specific needs of your home and location, before choosing a heating system. Contact an A.J. LeBlanc Heating Home Comfort Advisor to learn more about your heating system options.