Heat Pumps and Furnaces: The Facts on Their Key Differences

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When choosing a reliable heating system for your home, you may have learned that heat pumps and furnaces are your primary options. However, you might also be wondering what sets the two apart. In this blog, we’ll shed some light on their key differences in terms of function, heating mechanisms, and energy efficiency.

Heat Pumps and Furnaces: The Facts on Their Key Differences

  • Function- When it comes to function, the biggest difference is that furnaces only provide heat. They’ll need to be paired with a separate AC system to get cooling in the summer. Heat pumps, on the other hand, can be standalone systems providing both heating and AC.
  • Heating Mechanisms- The heating mechanisms also differ. Furnaces burn oil or gas or use electric coils to heat air that blows through ducts into your home. Heat pumps use electricity and refrigerant to move heat from one area to another. In the winter, they extract heat from outside and release it indoors, and in the summer, they remove the warm air from inside and release it outdoors.
  • Energy Efficiency- While heat pumps are highly efficient at extracting heat, they struggle to do so in sub-zero temperatures. You won’t encounter this problem with a furnace, provided there’s a reliable fuel supply and the system is in good order. Nevertheless, both heating systems perform exceptionally well in places with mild climates, like the Lake Norman area.

Now for the tricky part: comparing energy savings. While modern furnaces boast up to 100% efficiency, heat pumps can be up to three times more efficient at delivering heat. However, gas is more cost-effective than electricity. Couple that with the lower lifetime operating costs for gas furnaces, and the scales begin to balance out.

So, which heating system is better for your home? It depends on your needs and preferences. The fact is you can’t go wrong with either system. But if you need some help deciding, don’t hesitate to give us a call today.