Furnace vs. Heat Pump: Which Is Right for You?

Heat pump and furnace installation

If you’re ready to replace your current heating system, you may be considering a replacement furnace or even having a heat pump installed. The problem is that you don’t know the benefits of either one nor which one is right for your home. Not a problem – our heating repair and installation company in Garner is breaking down what each system does, their benefits and drawbacks, and most important, which one may be right for you.

How Do Furnaces and Heat Pumps Work?

Both furnaces and heat pumps are used to heat your home in cool weather, but the way they do so is completely different. A furnace uses a fuel source like natural gas or heating oil to burn in a combustion chamber. A fan then takes the heated air that is produced and sends in through your home’s duct work.

A heat pump doesn’t rely on any fuel source to heat the air. While it acts as your air conditioner in the summer, in the winter it works in reverse. The refrigerant absorbs any heat from outside air (even when the air is below 30 degrees) and cycles it into the home and through your duct work. While a furnace generates heat, a heat pump transfers it.

Benefits and Drawbacks of a Furnace

Now that we know how each system works, let’s look at the benefits and drawbacks of a furnace.

Benefits of a Furnace

The leading benefit of a furnace is they generate heat, making them ideal during extreme cold, and the air that comes through the vents is often much warmer than what would come through from a heat pump. Additional benefits include easier repair because there are fewer parts involved and the operation is quieter.

Drawbacks of a Furnace

Homeowners need to consider that furnaces are significantly less energy efficient than a heat pump because it’s frequently burning a fuel source to create heat, so having one means you can expect to see higher bills in the winter. You also need a separate air conditioner system which can increase your overall heating and cooling maintenance and installation costs, as the only part the furnace and AC share is the air circulating fan that sends air through the duct work.

It’s also necessary to have carbon monoxide detectors when you have a furnace. Anytime you’re burning a fuel source indoors, which is how a gas furnace works, carbon monoxide is produced, which, if there is a leak, can be dangerous or even fatal.

Benefits and Drawbacks of a Heat Pump

Heat pumps are basically the opposite of a furnace when it comes to benefits and drawbacks.

Benefits of a Heat Pump

A heat pump is an energy efficient option that can keep your energy bills significantly lower than a gas furnace. Additionally, it’s an all-in-one heating and cooling system, so it’s also got your air conditioner connected. This means there’s only one system to install, maintain, and repair which also saves space in your home.

Additional benefits include:

  • No risk of carbon monoxide
  • Long life span
  • Less maintenance required
  • Low carbon emissions
  • Lower installation cost

Drawbacks of a Heat Pump

The main drawback of a heat pump is the refrigerant can only pull in heat when the air temperature is above 20 degrees (though it works best at 30 degrees and up). While the Raleigh area doesn’t often go below that temperature, in areas that see colder temps, having an auxillary heat source is important.

Similarities of a Heat Pump and Furnace

Just because they’re very different doesn’t mean they don’t have anything in common. Both furnaces and heat pumps require seasonal maintenance in order to get the best results, extend their life spans, and prevent issues like condensation dripping and dust clogging the system. They both need to have their filters changed regularly to keep clean air circulating through the system, too.

Also, both systems require electricity to function. A common misconception about a gas furnace is that it doesn’t need a power source for it to turn on, but power operates the safety mechanisms and the thermostats telling it to kick on and off. If the electric goes out, there’s no way for the furnace to turn on.

Most importantly, both systems should be installed and maintained by a certified HVAC technician to make sure the job is done correctly and safely and ensure you have the right sized system for your home.

Should You Get a Heat Pump or a Furnace

When it comes down to it, choosing a heat pump or a furnace really depends on where you live. Heat pumps are ideal for people living in mild, moderate climates, like the Southeast, where the average winter temperatures are above 35 to 40 degrees or higher. On the other hand, people living in colder climates should consider a furnace to be better able to combat temperatures in the teens or lower.

Schedule Service with Our Heating Installation Company

If you’re ready to get a quote on a new heating system installation for your home, we can help. We serve Garner, Raleigh, Holly Springs, Knightdale, and surrounding areas. Schedule service today at (919) 772-2759 or fill out the form below to learn more.

Schedule a Quote for a New Heat Pump or Furnace Today

Call our Heating Repair Company at (919) 679-9756 or fill out our form below to schedule service.

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