Heat Pump vs. Furnace: What’s the Best Heating System for My Home?

Heat pump outside of Midlothian, VA home

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If you’re shopping for a new heating system, you’ll quickly discover that there’s no shortage of options on the market. Among these HVAC systems, heat pumps and furnaces are some of the most popular choices for homeowners.

So, what is better, a heat pump or gas furnace? The answer to this question depends on your home’s specific needs. If you’re unsure which option is best for you, knowing how these systems work and what you can expect from them is important.

Below, let’s review some factors that can help you choose between a heat pump vs. furnace.

What Is the Difference Between a Heat Pump and a Furnace?

Although heat pumps and furnaces can both be used to heat a home, they work in two extremely different ways. For starters, heat pumps can be used as heating systems and air conditioners, as they have heating and cooling modes. They also have one outdoor unit that connects to multiple indoor air handlers.

When it’s cold outside, a heat pump works by pulling energy from the outdoors and sending it into your living spaces. A heat pump can keep you cool during the hot summer by removing heat energy from your home. These systems can also have various heat sources, such as air and water.

On the other hand, furnaces work by generating heat. These heating systems can run on various fuel types, such as oil and natural gas, and essentially convert these fuels into heat. Furnaces have several integral components, such as a heat exchanger and blower motor, that work in tandem to complete a full heating cycle.

Heating Capabilities

Now that we’ve discussed the main differences between a heat pump vs. furnace system, it’s time to discuss performance. In general, furnaces provide homes with hot air on the drier side, while heat pumps provide heat that can sometimes be on the cooler side.

A heat pump system might not be the best solution for your home if you live in an extremely cold climate. Although heat pumps supply heat, their capabilities are limited on the heat energy they can extract. For example, when outdoor temperatures drop below freezing, there is no heat source for your heat pump. In these instances, a backup heating system, like a furnace, is necessary.

Before choosing a heating system for your home, it’s certainly worthwhile to consider the weather where you live. Heat pumps usually perform better in moderate climates, while outdoor temperatures don’t affect furnaces.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is a major deal for homeowners. After all, an efficient heating system can potentially help you save on your energy bills in the long term. So, when it comes to efficiency, what is better: a heat pump or gas furnace?

Generally speaking, heat pumps tend to be more efficient than furnaces. Since heat pumps transfer heat energy instead of generating heat, they typically use less energy than furnaces. However, it’s important to mention that some furnace fuel types are more efficient than others. For example, gas furnaces are known for being more efficient than most electric furnaces.

Efficiency can also vary depending on the type of heat pump. For instance, air-source heat pumps are usually less efficient than ground-source systems because of fluctuations in air temperature.

Upfront Costs

It’s no secret that costs can play a significant role in the choices you make for your home. So, the time has come to discuss a heat pump vs. furnace installation cost.

Overall, heat pumps are frequently cheaper to install than furnaces. But, of course, the exact price you’ll end up paying can depend on many factors, including the type of furnace you’re interested in and your current heating situation. For instance, if you currently have an oil furnace, installing a gas furnace in its place will also require you to install a gas line, increasing costs.

You should also remember that heat pumps can heat and cool a home. As a result, you’ll only need to install one unit instead of individual air conditioning and heating systems, which can also lower costs.

Both furnaces and heat pumps have an average lifespan of 15 years, so longevity won’t play a factor in which heating system you choose. Instead, you’ll want to consider your current heating and cooling systems and how an installation may impact them.

Maintenance Needs

If you’re concerned about maintenance, you might be wondering: what is better, a heat pump or gas furnace? When it comes down to it, heat pumps and furnaces should be regularly maintained by a professional technician to ensure they’re running smoothly. However, it’s worth mentioning that heat pumps will need to be maintained twice a year (instead of once a year, like a furnace) because they can be used year-round.

Find the Perfect Heating System at Southern Goodman

If your home needs a new heating system, it’s important to make the best decision for your home. After all, a heating system can impact your family’s comfort and safety during the colder winter months.

So, what is better: a heat pump or gas furnace? As we mentioned earlier, the answer to this question will vary depending on your situation. If you need help choosing between a heat pump vs. furnace system, turn to Southern Goodman!

Our heating specialists offer everything from heat pump installations to furnace repair in Richmond, VA, to meet your needs. As a customer-focused company, we provide a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee with every service and prioritize honest communication. We’re happy to help you find the perfect type of heating system for your home.

Are you ready to install a furnace or heat pump in Virginia? Contact us today!