Heat Pumps vs Furnaces

The temperature of your home is important. You should be able to feel comfortable in your house at all times, regardless of how warm or cold it is outside. An important part of keeping your home comfortable is choosing to use a heat pump or a furnace. It might not seem like a crucial decision on the surface, but it can help you determine how to keep your house the proper temperature at all times.

Heat Pumps vs Furnaces: What’s the Difference?

The primary difference between a heat pump and a furnace is what they do and how they function. A heat pump is a central heating and cooling system. It uses the outside air to keep a home warm in the winter and cold in the summer. Thus, it transfers heat instead of generating it. This makes heat pumps more energy efficient and often more affordable as well. It wasn’t until the 1970s that heat pumps finally became a common alternative to furnaces.

A furnace is another part of the central heating and cooling system, but it’s designed to only produce heat. So, an air conditioner is required along with a furnace. This system burns fuel to change the temperature of the house. It usually uses gas or oil to function, and it’s often the better choice for colder climates. In many cases, it costs more as well.

Pros and Cons for Furnaces

Furnaces excel in one specific area: cold climates. Heat pumps are able to create heat no matter how bone-chilling it is outside, but they’re less efficient the colder it gets while furnaces can thrive through the entire winter season. So, those who experience cold winters will benefit most from a furnace. Plus, furnaces often make less noise than heat pumps as well.

The downsides to furnaces are price and size. Heating costs during a winter season can be almost double the price with a heat pump. Installing a furnace is often more expensive too, especially if it’s a gas furnace. As for size, furnaces take up more square footage than heat pumps. They often require a 30-inch clearance on all sides too. So, many people are not fond of the bulky shape of a furnace.

Pros and Cons for Heat Pumps

In many ways, heat pumps vs furnaces is an easy battle. Heat pumps are often superior to furnaces in most people’s eyes. Plus, they can generate hot and cold temperatures all in one system, making them more convenient since you won’t have to purchase two separate systems.

Heat pumps typically have indoor and outdoor parts. This means that they take up less space because the part with a 24-inch clearance is located outside. Then, the part with no clearance is located inside. This makes the heat pump look more natural in your home without requiring a room or basement to store it in.

As mentioned earlier, heat pumps are not ideal for very cold climates though. Since they take in air from outside, it becomes more difficult to warm the air when temperatures reach below -10 degrees Celsius.

Another potential issue with a heat pump is the sound. A heat pump might make unusual noises even when functioning properly. This is because the heat pump has to work hard to change the temperature of the air, which causes it to click and squeak now and then. Since furnaces are usually away from main areas of the house, their sounds are not as noticeable. If you search for a high efficiency heat pump, they will emit less noise pollution. The lower the decibel ratings of a heat pump, the quieter it will be.

Heat Pumps vs Furnaces Verdict: Which is Better?

Neither option is universally better than the other. A lot of this has to do with the climate you live in. A furnace is made specifically for heat and it doesn’t rely on outside air, so it can effortlessly heat your home in the winter.

That being said, a heat pump is probably the better choice if you have mild winters. It’s more affordable and efficient in most cases. It can still be used in colder climates, but there will be more things to consider when choosing the right one. Plus, then you won’t have to worry about purchasing an air conditioner too. So, overall, heat pumps are the best, but furnaces can still excel in cold areas.

Before you decide on a heat pump or furnace though, you should consult a professional for sizing and installing. Professionals like Westisle Heating & Cooling can give you the best advice about which system to use in your home. We can help you with all your heat pump or furnace needs, so contact us today to help your home feel as comfortable as possible.