Heat Pump vs Gas Furnace: What’s The Difference?

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Air source heat pumps

Most homeowners know there are two main options when it comes to heating your home: using a heat pump or heating via a gas furnace. But what exactly is the difference, and which one is right for your home?

Both have their pros and cons, and the best choice for your home will depend on your specific needs. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the differences between heat pumps and gas furnaces so that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you.

What Are The Key Differences?

We all want to make sure we stay warm during those chilly Flagstaff winters, so it’s important to make sure you have the heating that is best suited for your home. To answer the question of whether a heat pump or gas furnace is better will depend on a variety of factors, like climate, cost, and efficiency. Let’s take a closer look at the key differences between these two types of heating systems.

One of the most important differences is that a heat pump uses electricity to move heat from one place to another, while a gas furnace creates heat through combustion. As a result, heat pumps tend to be more efficient than gas furnaces, especially in milder climates.

Another key difference is that a heat pump can also be used for cooling, while a gas furnace cannot. Heat pumps work by moving heat from the inside of your home to the outside during the summer and from the outside to the inside during the winter. This makes them a versatile option for year-round comfort.

Gas furnaces tend to be better at heating homes in very cold climates. One downside of gas furnaces is that they require a constant supply of natural gas, which can be disrupted during severe weather conditions. They are, however, affordable to maintain and operate, and they can provide the most reliable heat during even the coldest winters.

Even though Arizona isn’t known for its cold, we know that here in Flagstaff, once winter rolls around, the weather can change dramatically.

How Does A Gas Furnace Work?

Modern gas furnace in home

It’s important to know how these systems work to understand what is best for your home.

A gas furnace is essentially a system of heating coils and a fan that circulates warm air throughout your home. The furnace starts by drawing in cold air from your home using a fan. The air is then drawn over a set of heated coils. As the air passes over the coils, the heat from the coils warms the air. The warmed air is then circulated back into your home through a series of ducts.

The coils in a gas furnace are heated by burning natural gas. The burning gas creates heat, which is then transferred to the coils. A set of thermostats regulates the temperature of the coils to make sure they’re always at the ideal temperature for heating your home.

How Does A Heat Pump Work?

Heat pump that uses air

Simply put, a heat pump is a device that transfers heat from one area to another. Heat pumps can be used to heat a home or office by moving heat from the ground or air outside into the building. Heat pumps can also be used to cool a building by moving heat from inside the building out into the ground or air.

The exact process of how a heat pump works depends on the type of heat pump, but all heat pumps use refrigerant to transfer heat. The refrigerant absorbs heat from the air or ground outside and then releases that heat inside the building. The process is reversed to provide cooling in the summer.

One advantage of heat pumps (as mentioned earlier) is that they can provide both heating and cooling, making them a versatile option for climate control. Another advantage is that they are typically more energy-efficient than traditional HVAC systems, which can save you money on your energy bills.

Now that we have a basic understanding, we can dive into how this affects the cost of each system.

Cost of Heat Pumps vs. Gas Furnaces

The cost for gas furnaces are typically less expensive up front, but heat pumps can offer significant savings in the long run.

Heat pumps work by transferring heat from the air outside into your home, and they can be used for both heating and cooling. In contrast, gas furnaces generate heat using natural gas or propane, which can be more expensive to operate. In addition, heat pumps are generally much more efficient than gas furnaces, meaning they use less energy and can help you save money on your utility bills.

As discussed before, heat pumps are more efficient than gas furnaces in moderate climates. It’s worth noting that their efficiency drops off sharply when temperatures dip below freezing.

Let’s dive a little deeper into heat pumps to understand some of these differences in cost.

Heat pumps are a type of HVAC system that can be used for both heating and cooling. In the winter, they work like a furnace, drawing heat from the air outside and circulating it through your home. But in the summer, they can operate in reverse, pulling heat out of your home and dumping it outside. Since they can be used year-round, heat pumps can help to even out your energy costs.

The cost for heat pumps changes depending on the type, too.

The Efficiency of Heat Pumps vs. Gas Furnaces

Gas furnace

Heat pumps are often more energy-efficient than gas furnaces, and they also tend to be more environmentally friendly since they don’t use fossil fuels. However, heat pumps can be less effective in extremely cold weather, and they typically have a shorter lifespan than gas furnaces.

Gas furnaces are less efficient than heat pumps, but they’re often cheaper to operate in colder climates when the snow starts rolling in. They also typically last longer than heat pumps, so they may be a better investment in the long run.

Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your specific needs and priorities.

Confident Comfort Can Help You Decide Which Is Best And Install It

So, which type of heating system is right for your home? If you live in a moderate climate and are looking for an affordable and efficient option, a heat pump may be the way to go. But if you need a system that can handle very cold weather, a gas furnace is your best bet.

Here at Confident Comfort, we specialize in installing both gas furnaces and heat pumps. If you’re interested in exploring the options for your home to prepare for winter, fill out our contact form today!