Heat Pump vs. Furnace: Which Heating Unit Is Best for Your Home?

Furnaces and heat pumps are installed in homes or offices to deliver heat to the indoor area. However, the heating capabilities, maintenance requirements, energy efficiency, usage requirements, size, cost, etc., are the areas of difference between the two.

If you are planning to purchase a heating system for your office or home but are wondering which one to choose, this article will be helpful for you.

While you can also opt for a dual-fuel system that offers the benefits of both a heat pump and a furnace, it is much costlier than a regular heating pump or Furnace. Therefore, if you are looking forward to saving more in terms of purchase cost, make sure that you scroll down to the end and determine which one of the two heating systems, i.e., a furnace or a heat pump, suits your needs better.

Things you must know about a heat pump

Heat pumps are heating devices that rely solely on electricity, and usually do not use any fuel to generate heat. They simply pull outdoor heat & blow it inside the room. During summers, it does the exact opposite; it extracts the warm air out of the room and makes it cool.

As heat pumps rely on electricity, they are more efficient than furnace heating units. Some heat pumps claim to offer 300% efficiency, which means that they can generate three times the heat of the power it consumes.

Things you must know about furnaces

A furnace heating unit heats a room by burning natural oil or gas. Traditionally, furnaces were solely dependent on natural gas or oil, but with the advancement of technology, today, you can also find furnaces that are powered by electricity. Some of the furnaces can provide up to 95% fuel efficiency, i.e., they can convert 95% of the fuel it uses into heat while the remaining 5% gets released from the system.

Factors you must consider while choosing a heat pump vs. furnace

Keep the following things in mind while choosing a heating unit for your home:

Cost of installation

The first thing to consider while choosing a heating system is the short-term and long-term costs associated with the system you choose. The installation expenditure mostly depends on the design and compatibility of your home. A furnace can be a good choice if you have an installed AC at your home and an existing gas line system.

Contrary to this, a heat pump will be more suitable for you if you don’t have an existing gas line or an air conditioning system installed at your home. Generally, a new heat pump might cost you somewhere between $4000 to $ 8000, whereas a furnace might cost you somewhere between $2000 to $5000.

Energy Savings

Before giving a clear answer to which one of the two is more energy efficient, it is pertinent to mention that the way a heat pump heats a room is very different from how a furnace does. The difference in power source, applicability, and functionality set them apart, which is why a heat pump tends to deliver better efficiency in terms of power consumption to heat generation ratio. However, a heat pump cannot necessarily be used wherever a furnace could be.

Air Quality

Since a heat pump system involves no combustion of fuels to generate heat, it delivers better air quality than furnaces. As a result, a heat pump does not emit carbon monoxide while generating heat. Therefore, the air quality delivered by heat pumps is far better than the ones delivered by furnaces.

Expected lifespan

No matter what system you choose, the heating units’ lifespan mostly depends on how you maintain them. The other factors that affect the heating system’s lifespan are the manufacturer’s brand, indoor air quality, design of the home, size of the unit, geographic location, and model.

Generally, a gas-fired furnace lasts longer than a heat pump unit. While a gas-fired furnace can last up to 20 years, a heat pump can last up to 15 years (depending on the usage and maintenance).

Climate condition

Since a heat pump produces less heat than a furnace, it works best in milder climates, especially in coastal or southern parts of the country. Whereas a furnace works best in harsher climates, that is, the northern parts of the country.


Again, as heat pumps rely on electricity, they are easier to maintain and need servicing once a year. The working of heat pumps is less complicated than furnaces. Therefore, they require less maintenance and are less prone to disruptions. However, both units have air filters that can easily be cleaned and replaced by homeowners.

Which heating unit is best for your home?

There is no one-line answer to this question. Both heat pumps and furnaces come with their separate set of pros and cons. To sum up, if your budget is low and you already have a gas line at your home and are looking for a unit that will last longer, you should opt for a furnace heating unit.

But if you are ready to spend some extra bucks and are looking for an HVAC unit that will work both as a heating system and air conditioner and will be energy efficient, then you should opt for a heating pump.

Now that you have a clear idea about furnaces and heat pumps, it’s time to choose a brand with a good reputation in the industry. Also, while choosing a heating system, you should check which brand offers a better warranty to help you save on unnecessary repair costs. The final thing is to focus on the maintenance of your HVAC system. No matter which heating system you choose, the better the unit is maintained, the more would be its longevity.

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