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Heat Pumps vs Furnaces: Which Is Best?

Heating System Differences

Stepping into warm cozy air on a cold winter’s day makes a house feel like home. And how you heat that home is up to you. When choosing the best heat source for your home, there are a few options to consider. Two of the most common heat sources are heat pumps and furnaces. Which system should you choose? We’re here to help you determine the best option for your home. 

heat pump system outside residence

What is a Heat Pump?

Forced-air furnace systems are not the only options for heating a home. To provide heat to a home, heat pumps work in the same way air-conditioners work, only in reverse. Heat pumps take warm air from outside the home, usually through pipes located in the ground, and transfer it inside the home. While heat pumps warm homes during cooler months, they also have the ability to work in reverse, providing cooler air in the summer months.  


What is a Furnace?

Furnaces generate their own heat through a pumped-in fuel source. Once the fuel is ignited, a furnace pumps heat through the home’s duct system via an internal blower. The most common source of fuel for a furnace is natural gas, but other options include oil, propane, and electricity. 


Is a Heat Pump Right For You?

Heat pumps are a great home heating option, but is it the right option for your home? Learn more about the pros and cons of heat pumps:

Upfront Cost

Heat pump installation can vary in cost but the upfront cost is higher than a typical furnace system. As mentioned above, a heat pump will also provide you with the benefits of an air conditioning unit during the summer months, negating the need for an additional unit and additional cost. 


Heat pumps do not generate heat, they simply move it from one area to another, putting them at the top of the list when it comes to efficiency in home heating options. Heat pumps also have the added bonus of being more environmentally friendly than furnaces since they do not require fossil fuels to operate. 

Run Cost

Heat pumps require electricity to run. The use of electricity over other forms of fuel such as natural gas makes them more expensive to run than traditional furnaces. Additionally, due to the way in which heat pumps are installed, heat pump service calls can cost more than a traditional furnace service call. 

Home Location

Is your home located in the Northeastern United States? You may want to consider a different heating option. Heat pumps are typically most effective in warmer climates that tend to experience milder winters. 


Is a Furnace Right For You?

Furnaces are the most common home heating source in the United States. Find out if they are the best option for your home:

Upfront Cost

Furnace installations are usually significantly cheaper to purchase and install when compared to heat pumps. 


While not as efficient as a heat pump system, newer, gas-fueled furnaces are still high on the list for most efficient home heating options. Gas-fueled furnaces have come a long way and most high-efficiency gas furnaces can now provide homeowners with 95% AFUE (Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency). 

Run Cost

Natural gas is often significantly cheaper than electricity, so a natural gas-fueled furnace will provide lower monthly utility bills when compared to an electric-fueled heat pump. Other options for furnace fuel include oil, propane, and electricity. When considering a furnace for your home, remember to take into consideration the type of furnace and the cost associated with the fuel source. 

Home Location

Furnaces are made for cold-weather climates, making them a great option for homes located in the northern United States. Because they don’t rely on finding outside heat sources to heat the home, furnaces are better equipped to handle subfreezing temperatures. No matter where you live, furnaces can get the job done. 


Choose ServiceMark For All Heating Installation Services

Whether a furnace or heat pump is in your future, you can count on ServiceMark for expert installation services. Our expert heating technicians are committed to your comfort and are available for 24-hour service, seven days a week. Schedule your heating installation service with ServiceMark today!

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