What Is The Difference Between A Furnace And Heat Pump?

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A home that is safe and warm is an absolute must-have during the winter season. Therefore, it is a wise move to invest in a heating unit that will best serve your needs. The furnace and the heat pump are the two usual go-to choices of most homeowners. It might be challenging to choose which one of the two will work best for your home. This is why we have listed all you need to know, like their capabilities and features, among others, to help you decide.

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What Is The Difference Between A Furnace And Heat Pump?

This article will discuss the furnace vs. heat pump, and how they differentiate from one another.

What Is A Heat Pump?

A heat pump is an HVAC unit with four major parts: the compressor, the evaporator, the expansion valve, and the condenser. This type of HVAC equipment does not generate heat. Instead, it transfers heat from a source. Thermal energy is produced from a heat pump’s source of heat. It is then transferred to a thermal reservoir that allows the heat to be stored and distributed.

Heat pumps work much like how air conditioning systems do but in reverse when in heating mode. It absorbs the heat from outside and with the help of the refrigerant and electrical power, it distributes warm air throughout your home. Thus, heat pumps can also be utilized to cool your house when the process is reversed. They absorb the warm air from inside of your home and push it outdoors. This makes a heat pump highly versatile as it can be used in both cold and hot months.


Heat Pump: Pros & Cons

A heat pump certainly comes with advantages and disadvantages of its own. Here are a few:


  • Low Maintenance: A heat pump does not need as much maintenance as other combustion-based heating equipment. However, make sure that it still receives annual check-ups so that the system remains in tiptop shape.
  • High Efficiency: It is efficient in converting energy to heat. This way, your carbon emissions are also reduced.
  • Cooling Function: They can be used during the summer months to cool your home as well.
  • Long Lifespan: A heat pump has an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years of regular use. This means you do not have to replace your heating unit frequently.


  • Expensive: Unfortunately, heat pumps come with a hefty price tag. You also need to spend more to have it installed by a professional HVAC installation company.
  • Difficult To Install: A heat pump is also harder to install than a furnace. This is because they use electricity and might need special planning permissions to install it in your home.
  • Damage From Extreme Weather: Heat pumps are also more prone to damage when exposed to extreme weather.
  • Need For Backup Heat Source: This type of heating unit does not operate well under extremely frigid weather. This can be a problem when your home is in an area that has freezing winters. Therefore, you will need to install a backup heating unit when the temperature drops to the extremes.
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What Is A Furnace?

A furnace also called a ducted forced warm-air distribution system and utilizes oil or gas to generate heat. It makes use of the ductwork to transfer and distribute the warm air across different areas in your home. The warm air is released via registers or grills on the wall or floor.
This type of heating unit needs a heat source like fire. The fire heats the metal heat exchanger, and the furnace fan forces the air through the heat exchanger. The heat is then transferred to the air. Any harmful by-products are removed via the flue pipe.


Furnace: Pros & Cons

Some of the pros and cons that a furnace has includes:


  • Easy To Install: The furnace installation process is relatively easy. However, it is still best to have a professional do the job instead of conducting a DIY.
  • Affordable: Compared to other heating systems, a furnace is inexpensive. Unit replacement and repair are also affordable.
  • Energy-Efficient: A furnace heats a house quickly. This allows you to potentially save on power in the long run.
  • Constant & Even Heat: This type of heating system also produces constant and even heat. This is an essential feature, especially during frigid winters.


  • Increased Risks: A gas-based furnace increases the risk to your household’s health and well-being. Some of these issues that might arise include fire, explosions, and carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Heat Only: A furnace cannot serve as a cooling system, unlike the heat pump. You will need to install a separate air-cooling system to provide cold air during the summer months.
  • Increase Noise Level: A furnace uses fans to move the heated air. Unfortunately, these fans can be noisy.
  • Distribution of Contaminants: Furnaces also tend to blow and distribute particulates in your house. Make sure to replace the air filter regularly to prevent this from happening.
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Although both HVAC systems provide heat to your home, a furnace and a heat pump are very different types of heating systems. You must distinguish between how they differ and weigh in on the pros and cons to ensure that you choose the one that’ll best fit the needs of your home. You should also consider your home’s design and structure, budget, and long-term needs. If you need more advice, do not hesitate to contact your local HVAC installation company. They can assist you in which heating system will work best for your home. Expert advice is useful in ensuring that all your heating expectations are met.

Call Wilcox Energy For Your Home Heating & Cooling Requirements

Wilcox_LOGOWilcox Energy provides excellent HVAC services in the area. We only hire licensed and certified technicians who can conduct superior heating and cooling services, including furnace repairs, heat pump installation, AC replacements, boiler tune-ups, and more. Rest assured that all our experts are equipped with years of knowledge and experience to correctly and quickly work on your HVAC system.

Our company provides one of the most competitive heating and cooling service rates in the area. Should you need to replace your old or faulty HVAC system, we can help you find the best one within your budget. Your home’s comfort, air quality, and efficiency are our top priority. Book an appointment with Wilcox Energy by calling one of our representatives today. We provide free, in-home estimates.

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For more information about our HVAC services, be sure to contact Wilcox Energy. You can click here to contact us, or you can call us at (860) 399-6218 to find out more. We offer a full line of heating and cooling repairs, maintenance services, and installations.