What Are the Major Differences Between Heat Pumps and Furnaces?

When selecting a new heating system, you’ll have many choices, thanks to the vast selection of quality heating units on the market. Your first step should be choosing which type of heating system is right for you; a heat pump or a furnace. We’ve put together some information to help you learn about these two heating options, including the differences between them as well as their benefits and drawbacks.

Below are some of the distinct differences you’ll find between heat pumps and furnaces:

  • Furnaces provide only heating, while heat pumps are capable of providing heating and cooling. Heat pumps use refrigerants, like an air conditioner does, giving it the power to serve you both ways.
  • Heat pumps are generally powered by electricity. Electric furnaces are available, though many burn fuels, such as natural gas, propane, or oil.
  • Furnaces heat air using a flame while heat pumps extract heat from an outside source. Heat pumps can be either air source or geothermal.

Benefits and Drawbacks of Heat Pumps and Furnaces:

  • Heat pumps provide heating and cooling, so you only have to buy one unit for year-round comfort. A furnace cannot provide cooling, so it will be necessary to also purchase a cooling system.
  • Heat pumps can be up to 40 percent more efficient than gas furnaces.
  • Furnaces can deliver higher temperatures than heat pumps are capable of, making some feel more comfortable indoors.
  • Heat pumps can provide heating and cooling in areas where natural gas and other heating fuels are not accessible.
  • Heat pumps aren’t as efficient when temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Gas heating is more efficient than heat pumps at lower temperatures.
  • Furnaces can be used as a backup heat source to a heat pump, providing heating when temperatures drop too low for a heat pump to be efficient.
  • Heat pumps are usually more expensive to buy, but cheaper to operate. Furnaces are usually cheaper to purchase, but more expensive to operate.
  • Furnaces require proper venting to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide buildup in the home. Since heat pumps do not burn fuel, they will not produce carbon monoxide.

If you’re considering a new heating system but have questions about whether a heat pump or a furnace is right for you, call us. All Temp Co. has a staff of skilled heating technicians who are available to answer any equipment questions you may have, help you select the perfect unit for your home, and provide reliable installation services.

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