Heat pumps typically produce less heat compared to furnaces, and may not be the ideal depending on how warm you like to keep your home. Unlike a furnace that creates heat at the source via a flame, a heat … Get free, no-commitment repair estimates from licensed HVAC technicians near you. To generate heat, furnaces burn oil or gas, while heat pumps run on electricity, drawing heat from outside air—even cold air—and transferring it indoors. We are here to help: we will work with you to determine whether a furnace/air conditioner combo or heat pump is best for your home based on your budget and efficiency needs. In such climates, heat pumps offer an energy-efficient option to air conditioners and furnaces. A heat pump is actually a system that can be used to either heat or cool a home. While today’s furnaces are much more energy efficient compared to a decade ago, they still don’t compare to the efficiency of a heat pump. Most people are more familiar with furnaces than heat pumps. To cool the home, it takes heat from the inside and pumps it outdoors. Generating heat requires a lot of fuel, but because a heat pump doesn’t generate heat, it only needs enough electricity to circulate the refrigerant through its pressurized lines. Here’s a quick breakdown of each type of heat system, and some of the factors you should consider when making your decision, like location, energy efficiency, cost and reliability. Gas-powered forced air heating and cooling systems require warm or cold air to be generated via a furnace or air conditioner. For example, in the summer heat pumps move heat from your home and deposit it outside. A heat pump typically harnesses heat energy from the ground (geothermal) or from the outdoors (air source) to heat or cool a home. Heat Pump vs. Instead, external heat, pulled from outside or the ground, flows into the home. A heat pump condenses heat present in the outside air -- usually down to about 30-degrees Fahrenheit, depending on the region and the amount of moisture in the air -- and pumps it into the home. The difference between a heat pump and furnace can be summarized as: Heat pumps are used in many parts of the U.S. Heat that’s generated through a furnace could dry out the air in your entire home, which can cause skin and other health issues. I haven’t ever shared a side-by-side comparison of the two, though. Copyright © 2021 Acton Media Inc. All rights reserved. In the winter, the process is reversed and heat is moved from outside into your home. If you experience incredibly cold winters with temperatures below freezing, a furnace … Furnaces can also be powered by electricity. And unlike furnaces, these are rated using Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) or Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF). Disclosure: BobVila.com participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for publishers to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Pros of heat pumps: Heat pumps will cost more than either a furnace or an air conditioning system. A heat pump extracts heat from the outside air (even if it’s cold) to move warm air through your home. There are generally two popular options available, namely, the furnace and the heat pump. At what temperature is a heat pump not effective? Because furnaces don’t depend on outdoor air to produce heat, they produce much warmer air for homes located in cold temperature climates compared to heat pumps. Geothermal heat pumps can be especially energy-efficient. For this section we’ll look at a heat pump vs. gas furnace and a heat pump vs. oil furnace as those are the predominant furnace types in Central Virginia. If you live in an area with mild winters, a heat pump is a great option. In the heat pumps vs gas furnace competition, heat pumps have quite a few advantages, the most notable of which is their energy efficiency (not to be confused with their cost to operate), with modern heat pumps ranging from SEER values of around 14 to over 21 SEER. During hot weather, a heat pump operates in an identical manner to an air conditioner, by reversing the pressure and the flow of refrigerant through its coils. In short, if you live in a climate that doesn’t see long, cold winters, a heat pump is typically a better option. But in an older leaky home, a 30F to 35F outdoor-indoor delta is about the limit, depending again on size of heat pump vs. the home's heat load. Furnace installation can range between $2,000 to upwards of $7,000, depending on the furnace and company you are using to install the unit. The Pros and Cons of a Heat Pump vs Furnace: Heat Pump Pros & Cons Again, heat pumps are essentially air conditioners that work in reverse to provide warmth for the home. Furnaces are typically cheaper compared to heat pumps, but the price varies depending on unit size and features. And, I’ve talked a great deal about furnaces as well, i.e. Furnace: Heat Production. Because heat pumps transfer air with electricity, they’re very energy-efficient. Since heat pumps use air from the outside, colder temperatures mean that your heat pump will struggle to generate warm air. When it comes to heating, most homes have a choice between a heat pump or a furnace. At Home Comfort Experts, we install heat pumps and furnace & AC systems in Indiana homes, so here is a basic rundown of the differences between them. This is also a better option if you’re in the market to replace your existing air conditioner, since heat pumps can double as both. Where you live plays a large part in whether or not a heat pump vs. furnace is right for your home. So the space conditioning costs less compared to using a conventional cooling or heating system. If you have a heat pump that uses electric backup heat, it probably uses electric heat strips, which use a lot of electricity. One other thing to take into consideration is the experience. Installing a geothermal heat pump, however, can run as high as $25,000, due to the added cost of excavating to bury its refrigerant lines. Heat pumps operate as both heating and cooling systems, replacing the need for a separate furnace and central air conditioning system. Heat pumps both heat and cool homes by moving warm air in or out, while furnaces burn fuel to create and distribute warm air throughout a home. In the heat pump Vs the electric furnace, the heat pump should still be ideal for you. Because heat pumps make use of both an indoor and an outdoor unit, the installation process can be difficult and time-consuming and may disrupt your house and daily life. Glenda Taylor, Bob Vila, U.S. Department of Energy’s Climate Zone Map, 10 Home Heating Mistakes That Spike Your Bills, 10 Home Gym Must-Haves to Help You Lose the Quarantine Weight, The Best Heating System You’ve Never Heard Of, Unsound Sounds: 7 Noises You Don't Want to Hear From Your House, 15 Products to Help You Warm Up Every Corner of Your Home, Slash Your Electric Bill with 11 Savvy Hacks. © 2021 HVAC.com – a Red Ventures Company, All Rights Reserved | Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell My Info | Terms and Conditions. A heat pump does not generate heat; instead, it moves heat from one place to another. Since a heat pump’s indoor air handler does not use combustible fuel or generate its own heat, it doesn’t need additional safety clearance. Homes with a furnace also require a separate unit for air conditioning, while heat pumps act as a two-in-one. During the summer months, your heat pump can also act as an air conditioner, making this a more versatile product compared to a furnace. However, a heat pump can provide both heating and cooling which makes it less expensive than having to buy a furnace and an A/C solution. It uses four main components: a burner, heat exchanger, blower and flue to produce hot and toasty temperatures inside the home during cold winter months. However, the indoor part of a heat pump system doesn't contain a furnace. Your climate is extremely important when choosing between a heat pump vs. furnace. Heat pumps are suitable for areas that have moderate cooling and heating needs. A conventional air source heat pump will operate effectively between 25-30°F. If you live in zones 4 through 7 and you want to install a heat pump, you’ll need a geothermal model. A heat pump provides a very efficient pathway to household heating. A furnace burns fuel to create and distribute hot air throughout a house. You can also consider the overall cost, air quality and reliability. A heat pump heater, on the other hand, removes heat from the outdoors and deposits it inside your home. Your climate is extremely important when choosing between a heat pump vs. furnace. A gas furnace generates heat by burning combustible fuel, such as gas or propane, while an electric furnace generates heat in much the same manner that a hairdryer would, by blowing air over a hot element. A compressor takes heat from the outside and uses a refrigerant to convert it into gas. A furnace generates heat in a traditional way by burning oil or natural gas and sending the resulting heat into the home. Essentially, a heat pump just moves heat from one location to another. There is only one type of heat pump. Maintaining a comfortable indoor temperature is a priority for homeowners all year round, but in winter you’re bound to be even more aware of how well your heating system is working—and what to replace it with should it give out. Southeastern climates are ideal for heat pump use. Both heat pumps and furnaces require direct wiring into a home’s main electrical panel, and most local building codes require a professional HVAC technician to connect a gas line to a furnace. Heat pumps are generally more efficient than furnaces anyway, especially in mildly cold weather. Depending on how cold your winters are, you may not use this often. When the temperature drops below freezing, there's not enough heat in the air to sufficiently heat the home with the pump alone, so the backup electric or gas furnace kicks in to provide warmth. A gas-fired furnace generally has a longer lifespan than a heat pump. For instance, furnaces generate heat by burning oil or natural gas while heat pumps use electricity. Furnace: Which One is Right for You. As homeowners prepare to settle in for the long Massachusetts winter, more and more are considering making the switch to an all-electric Ductless Heat Pump system. Likewise, installation isn’t a DIY project. Instead, it uses electricity to pull air from the outside and transfer heat into your home. A heat pump system looks a lot like an air conditioner (outdoor unit) and furnace (indoor unit) combination. Because furnaces use fuel to create heat, they blow much warmer air compared to heat pumps. That doesn’t mean the outdoor temp needs to be balmy—a heat pump can draw warmth from air that’s below freezing—but as the temperature drops, heat pumps become increasingly less efficient. @pbb Another comparison of heat pump tank water heaters vs. gas tankless water heaters is resilience. Expert advice from Bob Vila, the most trusted name in home improvement, home remodeling, home repair, and DIY. You agree that BobVila.com may process your data in the manner described by our Privacy Policy. In addition to being energy-efficient, heat pumps are typically easy to install and operate quietly. While heat pumps are more energy efficient, furnaces have fewer moving parts, which means there’s less heating repair and maintenance involved and fewer pieces that could potentially malfunction. The cost to have a gas furnace installed averages $4,500, and the cost to install an electric furnace runs about $4,000, but you could pay up to 10,000 or more for a high-efficiency model of either type of furnace. Furnaces can run on natural gas or oil, and depending on where you live, there are hybrid options available that can use both. Heat pumps are notorious for clicking and knocking as the compressor that circulates the refrigerant through the lines powers up or shuts down, producing sounds from the air handler (the part of the heat pump that installs inside the home and emits warm air). Furnaces, however, are often located away from the living area—in a basement or utility room—and a soft whoosh of air is often the only sound they make. Safety . To install the most common type of heat pump—an air-to-air model—you’ll pay an average of $3,500 to $4,500, depending on size and efficiency. Instead of creating heat, like a furnace does, heat pumps move heat from one point to another. You might think that it is not very easy to choose between them at first. Furnaces with proper maintenance can last 20 years or more. Furnaces, which are typically installed indoors, can take up a lot of square footage because manufacturers and local building codes often require a 30-inch clearance on all sides for fire safety purposes. Furnaces generate warm air and then distribute it throughout your home by burning fuel. Heating Fenwick is your trusted name in heating services offering an unmatched level of service. We want you and your family to be comfortable in your home all year long. Heat pumps operate most efficiently in warmer climates with mild winter months, while furnaces thrive in colder climates with temperatures that reach below freezing. So while a heat pump will not generate heat, it is able to absorb heat via pressurized refrigerant lines and then release that heat into your home. A traditional gas or electric furnace lasts about 15 years, but before you purchase a new one, consider if a heat pump would be a better choice. Heat Pump Vs Furnace . Heat pumps, which also have an average 15-year lifespan, have been around for more a century but didn’t become popular furnace alternatives until the 1970s. This often worries owners of a new heat pump until they realize the noise isn’t a symptom that something is amiss. Heat pumps require less space. Forced Air vs. Heat Pump. “Space heating is the largest energy expense in the average U.S. home, accounting for 45 percent of energy bills,” according to energy.gov . RELATED: 10 Home Heating Mistakes That Spike Your Bills. Depending on the type of air handler that comes with your heat pump, you might be able to mount it high on the wall so the unit doesn’t encroach on any floor space. And now that you understand both systems, the reasons will make more sense! While exact operating costs depend on the climate where you live, the unit’s efficiency, and local utility costs, for a single winter season, heating costs run an average of $1,550 for a propane furnace, $850 for a natural gas furnace, $900 for an electric furnace, and just $500 for a heat pump. A heat pump is, overall, a better choice for most homes. Oil furnaces are one of the most common methods used by Atlantic Canadians to heat their homes. This technology is the same used in refrigeration and air conditioners. A heat pump uses less electricity than a typical electric furnace. In addition, heat pumps aren’t as efficient if temperatures reach below freezing. When you consider that a heat pump is also used to cool a home, you may save even more money by not having to purchase an air conditioner. If you experience incredibly cold winters with temperatures below freezing, a furnace is the best option for you. If you prefer hot, toasty temperatures inside your home, a furnace might be the better option for you. There are four main components to a furnace: burners, heat exchangers, a blower and a flue that acts as the exhaust. A furnace uses fuel (natural gas, electricity, heating oil, or propane) to heat air. Keep in mind that beyond the limit, the heat pump continues to product the lion's share of the heat, sloping off as outdoor temps drop further. There is no pilot light or combustion involved. You could also choose a geothermal heat pump and save a lot of money on your power bills. To ensure you make the best possible choice, check the various capabilities, features, advantages, and disadvantages of furnace vs. heat pump systems. Since heat pumps work on the same principle as air conditioners during the summer months, the costs to cool your home with either will run about the same—$300 or more, depending on your climate. Although they both accomplish the same goal of heating your home, they do so in different ways. There are three types of heat pumps: air-to-air, ductless mini … Whether you need furnace repair, heat pump replacement, new system installation, or comprehensive maintenance for your home’s heating system, you can rely on … Some heat pumps even go as high as a 9 HSPF rating and SEER ratings reaching 16. A heat pump works on a different thermodynamic principle: It draws heat from the outdoors (even if it’s cold outside) and transfers that heat to your home’s interior. the backbone of most HVAC systems. In terms of air quality, heat pumps don’t produce CO, so you don’t have to worry about carbon monoxide leaks. The biggest difference between a furnace and a heat pump is the method in which they heat your home. A heat pump uses much less energy than an electric or gas furnace. Heat Pump vs. While both furnaces and heat pumps can grind, clank, and screech when having mechanical problems, a heat pump is typically the noisier of the two when both are operating as they should. Gas Furnace Efficiency vs. Heat Pump Efficiency According to Energy Star, the average American household spends over $2,200 annually on energy costs. In the heat pump versus gas furnace debate, climate is the biggest deciding factor. Since heat pumps draw warmth from the outdoors, the warmer the outside air, the more heat they’ll provide. A heat pump, like an air conditioner, … A furnace heats your home through combustion. Compare Heat Pumps vs Central Air Costs What is a Heat Pump? A heat pump doesn’t burn fuel to generate heat. If you’ve been considering replacing your furnace, you’ve probably heard or read a lot about the heat pump vs furnace debate. A unit that’s too large will cycle on and off frequently, which can result in indoor temperature variations. A furnace burns fuel to create heat. Geothermal systems are very efficient. Plus, heat pumps circulate humid air so it won’t dry out your skin like heat from a furnace can. The compressor part of a heat pump, which is located outdoors but close to the house—in a similar manner to an air conditioner—requires a minimum 24-inch clearance around its outdoor unit. Run through these eight comparisons—furnaces vs. heat pumps—to find out which one is best suited to your heating needs. If you live in Climate Zones 1 through 3 (check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s Climate Zone Map), a heat pump might be a good choice, but if you’re in zones 4 through 7, a furnace will probably be your best bet. Electric Heat pumps are different from furnaces in one big way. Both heat pumps and oil-fueled furnaces can be energy efficient, but both systems also have potential disadvantages. Though a heat pump performs the same function as a furnace and air conditioner, these systems accomplish their jobs in different ways. Heat pumps don’t generate heat from a … This can be a big benefit for homeowners who would otherwise need to purchase a separate air conditioner. Because of how they work, heat pumps produce less heat than furnaces and work best in warmer climates (zones … A gas furnace provides heat more quickly. Heat Pumps vs Gas Furnaces for California Homes: The Basics I’ve talked about how to troubleshoot heat pump problems in the past, as well as plenty of other topics about them. Furnaces, which are typically installed indoors, can take up a lot of … By Glenda Taylor and Bob Vila. There are systems that work alongside heat pumps to generate warmth by moving the air over heating coils, but they typically use a lot of energy. One last consideration with a heat pump Vs an electric furnace. Efficiently Heating Your Home – Pros and Cons of Heat Pumps vs Gas Furnaces Leaves are falling and so is the temperature outside. When it comes to selecting either a furnace or a heat pump, make sure to have a professional heating-and-air technician measure the volume of air in your living space, factor in your climate zone, and consider your budget to help you choose the right size furnace or heat pump for your home. They can act as an air conditioner by lowering the temperature of your home in the summer, or they can work as a heating unit to keep you warm and toasty during the winter. A unit that’s too small won’t keep you warm on the coldest days and will force the unit to work overtime, which can reduce its lifespan and increase the need for repairs. Using a heat pump vs AC is a more environmentally-friendly way of heating and cooling your house. This allows you to enjoy a comfortably heated home knowing that your heat pump could contribute to a lower energy bill during the colder months. Get the Catalogue A Heat Pump vs. A Central AC & Furnace: Main Differences. An exception to this rule is the geothermal heat pump, which buries refrigerant lines below the frost level, where the ground temperature remains a stable 40 to 50 degrees all winter, even though above-ground temperatures may be much colder. Furnace & AC Combo Many of our customers ask us about the difference between an air conditioner/furnace heating and cooling system and a heat pump system. Do heat pumps live up to the hype? Heat Pump vs. Heat pumps move heat instead of generating heat. Here are 5 reasons to get a heat pump instead of a furnace: 1. Read on, or learn more about heat pumps in our product catalogue. While a furnace is designed to generate only heat, a heat pump warms your home in winter and cools it during the summer months. A heat pump basically acts as a reverse air conditioning unit and, for that reason, doubles as an air conditioner when in cooling mode. Heat Pump & Furnace Installation in Raleigh & Durham. 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