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Furnace vs. Heat Pump

Posted Apr 7, 2017

If you’re currently looking for a new home heating system, you may be wondering whether a furnace or heat pump would be best for your purposes. Each system carries unique benefits and risks that depend on your individual needs. In this article, you’ll learn about the advantages and disadvantages of each type so you can make an educated buying decision when you invest in a quality heating system for your home.


As the classic heating solution, furnaces are still the hottest seller with homeowners who need heat. Consumers can choose between furnaces that run on electricity, oil or gas. Old models of gas furnaces were known for their inefficiency, but this is no longer a concern with newer gas models, which are favorites with consumers who are concerned about their gas bills.

Heat Pumps

Unlike furnaces, heat pumps don’t use gas, electricity or oil to heat your home. As their name suggests, heat pumps actually work by pumping. In the winter, heat pumps compress air to warm your home with the heat generated in the process. Because no gas is used in their operation, heat pumps are preferred by some homeowners because there is no risk of carbon monoxide poisoning during use. Heat pumps are also more than just heaters– they can also air condition your home in the summertime by using refrigerated coils to absorb heat.

So Which Is Better?

Furnaces are more appropriate for those living in colder climates because heat pumps are not effective when outside temperatures drop below freezing. Those in milder climates can benefit from the cost efficiency, safety and simplicity of heat pumps. Plus, their ability to be used for cooling makes heat pumps perfect for homeowners who want to avoid running costly air conditioning systems in the warmer months.

The downside of heat pumps is that they are generally more expensive to install. Despite this higher initial cost, heat pumps frequently save consumers money in the long run because they are cheaper to heat with than furnaces.

The biggest issue to consider when deciding between a furnace or heat pump is the temperatures your home is exposed to in the colder months. You may also wish to weigh the price you pay for electricity, considering that heat pumps and some furnaces run on electricity. Finally, you will want to consider the estimated cost of gas required to run a gas furnace and compare it to the electricity you would use with the electrical options.

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