Furnace vs Heat Pumps – which system should you choose for your home?

The debate surrounding heat pumps and furnaces is a long-standing and common one. Is one really better off the other? A heat and a furnace will both raise your indoor temperature and they will do so in a different manner. Choosing an HVAC system that uses one these two heating systems must be based on features, cost, efficiency and your needs.

However, the principal factor that will determine the type of heating and/or cooling system you choose is your geographical location.

It is necessary that you acquaint yourself with the mode of operation of both systems, their benefits and drawbacks.

Furnace heating system

Furnaces in HVAC systems generate heat by combustion (burning oil or natural gas). The heat generated is transferred into coils through a heat exchanger (HeatX). Air sucked from a given space blows over the HeatX coils and its temperature is raised. The hot air is then redistributed to that space through the duct system.

Benefits of a Furnace Heating System

  1. It is reliable, designed to be extra efficient and it provides just the right amount of heating comfort.
  2. In regions experiencing harsh winters, the performance of a furnace outshines that of a heat pump because a heat pump does not function efficiently at extremely cold temperatures.
  3. In comparison with older models, modern HVAC furnaces are much more durable. They require less maintenance and their service life is longer than that of heat pumps.

Drawbacks of a Furnace heating system

  1. The release of pollutant gases such as Carbon (II) oxide makes the furnace system risky to use.
  2. Energy savings is lower than in heat pumps.
  3. Due to the combustion of fuels, the quality of air distributed in an HVAC furnace system can have a serious negative impact on the air comfort in your home.

Heat Pumps

Unlike a furnace that only heats your home, a heat pump doubles as both air conditioning and heating equipment. Instead of generating air, a heat pump moves hot air from inside your home in the summer and does the reverse in the winter. Heat pumps are highly efficient because the do not use fuel or energy to generate heat.


Benefits of heat pumps

  1. Highly efficient

Since a heat pump doubles as a heating and cooling system, it saves you the cost of purchasing another cooling or heating system. Heat pumps don’t generate air, they just move it, this will save a reasonable amount on energy bills.

  1. The installation cost of a heat pump system is relatively low compared to a furnace system because it does not require the ventilation needed by the latter.
  2. The operation of a heat pump is safe because there are no risks of toxic gas releases

Drawbacks of heat pumps

  1. Since a heat pump does not generate air but only moves it, it will not be as effective as a furnace in regions with extremely cold temperatures.
  2. In situations where a heat pump cannot provide adequate warmth, a supplementary heating system may be required
  3. Heat pumps need more maintenance than a furnace



Both systems are capable of providing your home with the desired warmth during winters. Whatever choice you make will depend on the prevailing climatic conditions in your region. Also, remember to contact your HVAC technician for further help on the best system that suits your home.


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