Which Home Heating Method Is Best: Heat Pump or Furnace?

If you own the same house long enough, at some point, you’ll likely be faced with an opportunity to consider a different heating method. Today, you have the option of an electric heat pump instead of a standard furnace. New heat pump installations in U.S. homes are growing at a steady 3% per year. But is it the right heating method for your home? Here’s a brief comparison of a gas furnace vs. the heat pump heating method, as well as an explanation of how these different technologies keep you warm efficiently and effectively:

  • While a furnace only heats your home, a heat pump combines both heating and air conditioning functions in a single installation. You don’t need an additional unit to cool the house during the summer.
  • A gas-fired furnace can theoretically heat a house no matter how low the outdoor temperature dips. Efficiency of heat pumps, however, is limited below 25 degrees when the unit cannot extract sufficient latent outdoor heat energy. In low temperatures, a heat pump must activate a standby heating method — usually internal electric heating elements or a separate, backup gas furnace.
  • The average cost to operate a heat pump in winter heating mode in the United States is $500. Heating costs for gas-fired furnace operation averages $850.  However, if a heat pump frequently relies on backup radiant heating due to low temperatures, monthly heating bills will quickly exceed the cost of gas-furnace operation.
  • Heat pumps are space savers because the entire unit is outdoors, just like a central AC. An indoor gas furnace, conversely, requires a dedicated inside area for installation, as well as venting and gas piping.
  • At about $2,000, the average purchase price of a gas-fired furnace, including installation, is considerably lower than that of a heat pump, which averages over $5,000.
  • Gas-fired furnaces have an expected service life of at least 20 years. Heat pumps typically last for between 12 and 15 years.

Make an informed choice about a new heating method with straightforward, objective advice from the pros at Paitson Bros, serving the Terre Haute community since 1922.

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    Jeff Paitson Jeff Paitson is a third generation business owner who continues to run the business with the same values that have been passed down from previous generations since 1922.

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