This is a great question, and one we hear often. The answer lies primarily is how the system heats your home.
A standard AC system heats your home with a heat strip, which is essentially a metal coil that is heated with electricity, much like a toaster oven. Heat strips are notorious for high electric bills, however, and are generally not preferred.
Most homes in Florida have heat pumps installed. A heat pump works on the same principle as an AC system, but has a reversing valve that allows the refrigerant to flow in the opposite direction. What this means is that it can use the refrigerant to heat your home without having to rely on electric heat. Heat pumps do, however, come with a heat strip as well, typically labeled as “EM HEAT” or “Emergency Heat” on your thermostat.
A gas furnace is just what is sounds like. It uses a standard AC compressor and coil to cool the home, but heats the home with the assistance of gas. Homes with gas furnaces will usually receive two bills: one for electricity and one for gas.
Something to note is that once you have a specific type of system, changing to a different one can be pricy. More often than not, an electrician is needed to switch from an AC to a heat pump or vice versa, and you cannot use a gas furnace unless your home is already hooked up to gas lines.
If you would like more information about any of these systems, please give us a call.