Skip to Content Top

Furnace vs. Heat Pump: Which Should You Choose?

Heat pump outside of a houseWith winter just around the corner, now is the time to make sure your heating system is in proper working order. If you’ve done all the necessary maintenance checks and find that you’re in need of a new unit, you should weigh the pros and cons of what is currently out on the market.

Do your research before purchasing equipment and make sure you choose a system that is most effective for your home and your family’s comfort level.

Heat pump systems and gas furnaces are both effective and efficient, but each system has its own advantages and disadvantages. What’s the difference between the two?

RELATED: What you should know about a home energy audit

What You Should Know About Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are air conditioners that can work in reverse to heat your home. They move heat from one point to another. During warmer months, heat pumps remove heat and dispense it outside. During colder months, this process is reversed, and heat is moved from outside into your home.

  • These systems operate on electricity and are ideal for homes in moderate climates. If you live in a climate where there are extremely cold temperatures (like Ohio winters), a heat pump is not as effective as a furnace.
  • Most electric heat pumps are more energy-efficient compared to a gas-operated furnace. Normally, electricity rates are lower than natural gas rates, which means heat pump systems could cost less to operate.
  • It normally costs less to install a heat pump system than to install a furnace. Furnaces require an extensive ventilation system, increasing costs.
  • Heat pump systems can be safer for you and your family because there is no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Furnaces just have an indoor component, while heat pump systems have both indoor and outdoor units.

RELATED: 10 of the most frequently asked HVAC questions

What You Should Know About Furnaces

Gas furnaces create heat by burning natural gas. The heat is transferred to the air and spread through your home.

  • The lifespan of a furnace is usually much longer than that of a heat pump system.
  • A furnace requires less maintenance, mainly because it’s normally only used for a few months out of each year.
  • A furnace generally is more dependable because it has fewer mechanical parts than a heat pump system.
  • Furnaces aren’t as safe as heat pumps because a gas leak could result in a fire. There also is the added risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from gas furnaces.
  • Furnaces can cause poor air quality in a home because of the products of gas combustion are pollutants.
  • Sometimes furnaces can be noisier than heat pump systems.

Making the decision between heat pumps and a furnace may depend on what part of the region you live in.

Share To: