Few decisions a homeowner can make are as important as what system they choose for heating and cooling their home. Two of the most popular picks for HVAC systems are heat pumps and gas furnaces. But which is the right fit for your property?
You’re in luck as we’ve put together a heat pump vs gas furnace side-by-side comparison. We’ll examine cost, efficiency, installation complexity, maintenance requirements, and more. By the end of the article, you’ll have a better idea of how each could work for you. Let’s get started!
Heat Pump Overview
Heat pumps are a type of HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system that uses thermodynamics to transfer heat from one area to another.
Just like most air conditioners, heat pumps are often used in residential and commercial properties to regulate temperatures indoors.
How They Work
Heat pumps use refrigerant gas or liquid to absorb heat from the outside environment and release it inside the building or structure. This process is known as “heat exchange.” It is done through convection or conduction. However, this will vary by the model of the pump being used.
The energy efficiency of an electric heat pump system depends on its:
- Location relative to other air conditioners
- Thermal energy sources, such as solar radiation or geothermal
Types of Heat Pumps
There are two main types of heat pumps – air-source heat pumps and ground-source (or geothermal).
Air-source heat pumps draw thermal energy from outdoor air, while ground-source systems extract it from underground water sources like wells or aquifers.
Both types have advantages over traditional heating systems, such as furnaces that require burning fuel for combustion to generate warmth indoors.
- Uses 25% less electricity than conventional electric resistance heating systems while providing comparable comfort levels indoors
- Easy to install and maintain as most heat pumps use a single unit
- Heat pumps require less energy than traditional heating systems, offering savings on your utility bills
- Environmentally friendly, as heat pumps produce no emissions and don’t require burning fuel
- Heat pumps can struggle in temperatures below freezing or above 95 degrees Fahrenheit, so additional backup systems may be needed
- May not provide sufficient heating in colder climates prone to severe winters
Gas Furnace Overview
Gas furnaces are a type of HVAC system that uses natural gas or propane to heat the air inside your home. They are popular among homeowners thanks to being relatively inexpensive while still being reliable and energy efficient.
How They Work
A typical gas furnace consists of four main components:
- An igniter burner assembly
- A heat exchanger
- Blower motor(s)
The igniter burner assembly heats the air by burning natural gas or propane fuel in the combustion chamber.
Heated air passes through the heat exchanger, which is further warmed before being blown into your home via ductwork or vents. Next, blower motors move this warm air around your house while thermostats control when the system turns on and off based on your selected temperature settings.
Types of Gas Furnaces
There are several types of gas furnaces available today. They include:
- Direct vent (or sealed combustion)
Single-stage models are the most basic type and only operate at one predetermined speed. However, two-stage furnaces offer more precise temperature control as they can adjust their output to match the cooling needs of your home.
Meanwhile, modulating furnaces use variable speed blowers to adjust their output in small increments, resulting in better efficiency and increased comfort as compared to an electric furnace.
- Lower upfront cost compared to heat pumps or geothermal systems
- Reliable and require less maintenance than other heating options
- Durable construction, as gas furnaces are built to last and can provide many years of consistent performance.
- More efficient at transferring heat into your home than other heating systems
- Higher operating costs due to natural gas and propane fuel prices fluctuating more than electricity prices
- Risk of carbon monoxide exposure if not properly maintained or ventilated.
- System needs to be checked regularly to mitigate potential risks
Heat Pump vs Gas Furnace: Comparison
We’ve looked at how heat pumps and gas furnaces work. Next, we compare how they stack up against each other.
Heat pumps typically require a higher initial investment but may save money on your energy bills over time. On the other hand, gas furnaces are cheaper upfront but may have higher operating costs due to fluctuating fuel prices.
Heat pumps are complex systems that require more time, effort, and skill to install correctly. In contrast, gas furnaces have fewer components. This way, they can be installed relatively quickly with minimal disruption to your home.
Heat pumps are more efficient than gas furnaces when transferring heat into your home. However, they can struggle to generate heat in extreme temperatures and cold climates, meaning you might have to invest in a backup system.
Gas furnaces require regular checkups to ensure they are running correctly and won’t produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Heat pumps require less frequent maintenance. Most repairs can be done on the spot without calling in a technician.
Still, it is wise to use an experienced technician like Aquarius Home Services for optimal performance in servicing your home’s HVAC systems.
So, which system is going to work best for you? Choosing between heat pump systems and gas furnaces depends on your needs, location, and budget. A heating system may be the better option due to its higher efficiency and better temperature control capabilities.
However, a gas furnace may be more economical if you have a tight budget or don’t need extensive temperature regulation. It’s always a good idea to consult a professional HVAC technician before deciding between a heat pump vs furnace.
At Aquarius Home Services, we know how important it is to get the best HVAC system for your home. Contact us today to speak to one of our knowledgeable professionals about your heating and cooling needs.