Heat Pump vs. Furnace- The Pros and Cons of Each Heating Type

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You may have memories of a scary, noisy, old furnace in the basement of your childhood home. You may still live in a building that’s heated with one. While a furnace is one option, technology has advanced to bring you more choices. If you’re looking for a new unit, compare a heat pump vs. furnace, and you may be surprised at the differences. Depending on the climate where you live, you may be able to save yourself thousands of dollars by going with a heat pump.

What Is a Heat Pump Anyway?

A heat pump is a type of system that uses electricity to move heat from one area to another to control the temperature. Because it moves heat rather than generating it, the unit is less expensive to purchase and maintain than traditional HVAC systems. Heat pumps come in three types: air to air, water source, and geothermal. Each type is named for where it pulls the heat from, either the surrounding air, a water source, or the ground around your home.

How Does a Heat Pump Compare to a Furnace?

Heat pumps are a good choice if you live in a moderate climate with only a few days a year of extremely cold temperatures. That’s because a heat pump works by moving heat from one area to another where it’s needed. For example, a heat pump takes heat from outside of your home and brings it inside to make the living space warmer. The process is effective and efficient unless it’s freezing out. When the temperature drops below zero for very long, there’s no heat available outside for the unit to draw inside.

Generally speaking, heat pumps have the following advantages when used in moderate climates:

  • A heat pump is significantly more energy-efficient than a traditional furnace since it uses electricity as opposed to another type of fuel.
  • Installing a heat pump is a much simpler process than installing a furnace. Adding a furnace to your home requires extensive ventilation due to the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Heat pumps don’t require this type of construction.
  • Electricity is cheaper than natural gas, so your utility bill will probably be lower with a heat pump than with a furnace.
  • A heat pump creates less noise than a furnace. In fact, the quiet operation is one of the most appealing things about a heat pump system.
  • Since heat pumps don’t create carbon monoxide, they’re safer for the occupants of your home.

When Is a Furnace a Better Option?

Even with all these advantages, sometimes a furnace is still the better choice for your particular circumstances.

  • If you don’t have the space available outside for your heat pump unit, you may have to go with a furnace. The furnace is all contained inside your home, while a heat pump has an exterior and an interior component.
  • If you live in a climate that gets extremely cold for a large portion of the year, a heat pump will not do an adequate job of heating your home. They’re designed for areas with mild winters, whereas a furnace can take on the harshest winter Mother Nature can throw at it.

Where Can I Learn More About Heat Pumps and Furnaces?

When it’s time to choose whether to keep your current setup or switch to an updated system, you’re facing an expensive decision. It’s helpful to have a trained professional in your corner as you evaluate the possibilities. If you need help choosing the best option for your home, contact us. We’ll also be glad to help if your current system needs service.