Florida Heating Options: Which Is Right for You?

ice on plants outside in Florida during winter

While Tampa and the surrounding areas enjoy one of the most temperate climates in the country, there are still times when it can get downright chilly out. Whether you’re new to the area or you suffered through the below-freezing temps for a few days during the last couple of seasons, you’re probably wondering what you can do to heat your home. Here are the best ways to get the “sometimes” heat that you need.

Air Conditioner with Heat Strips

Perhaps the most common way that people in Florida heat their homes is with what are known as “heat strips”. In a nutshell, a simple heating element is installed in the air conditioner unit which allows homeowners to switch over to what amounts to space heat whenever the temperatures plummet. This is a fantastic idea when heating is only needed at night and for a short amount of time, but the truth is that these are energy hogs and will drive your utility bills up quite a bit in a very short period of time. What’s more, if the temperatures fall below freezing for any length of time, the heat strips will have a hard time keeping up.

Traditional Furnace

Of course, another option that you have is a traditional electric or natural gas furnace. These are a bit of a costly investment for Floridians who will only need to use them on occasion as opposed to all season long, but they are often the most feasible and energy efficient options. The amount you’ll spend depends on factors such as the size of your home, the technologies you want, and whether or not you’ll need to install new ductwork. Unlike heat strips, though, these will keep your home toasty no matter how cold it gets outside. In the event that heating is only needed during the night hours, a programmable thermostat can be of assistance.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are the most energy efficient option when it comes to heating your home. However, if your home is not already fitted with a heat pump, these can be the most expensive initial investments. A heat pump can be connected to a boiler system which makes use of hot water to provide the warmth, and it can also be connected to a geothermal source of heat. This means that the warm air is partially provided by the heat that is already in the ground. The geothermal application has the highest SEER rating – up to nearly 40 – though the installation can be quite costly. It should be considered that geothermal heat pumps also provide cooling capabilities in the summer.

Whether heat strips, a traditional furnace or a heat pump is right for you depends on how much you run the heat during the winter months and how much you have to spend up front. By balancing cost with comfort, you can find the best option. Your heating and cooling experts can help you discover your costs based on the size of your home and present you with your options.