The region of the nation in which you reside is possibly the most important element in your furnace vs. heat pump debate. Heat pumps have traditionally performed best in regions with moderate winters, such as the coastal and southern states. Furnaces are more capable of heating your house in harder, colder winter climates and are thus better adapted to northern areas.

The majority of furnaces in the United States utilize natural gas for heating, but electric, propane, and oil furnaces are also used. You can experience greater comfort and possibly reduce running costs by choosing a heating system appropriate for your climate. When comparing furnaces and heat pumps, you should consider how they function, their efficiency, maintenance, and space requirements.

Furnace vs. Heat Pump: How They Function

Furnaces use electricity, gas, or oil to produce heat, whereas heat pumps use electricity to pull heat from atmospheric air — even chilly air — and move it indoors. Heat pumps generate less thermal energy than furnaces and perform best in warmer areas due to how they operate.

Heat pumps are more flexible in terms of producing interior warmth because they can give warmth during the colder months as well as serve as air conditioning units in the summer. This means that individuals in hotter climates can use a heat pump device to cool and heat their homes. On the other hand, furnaces only offer heat, so an additional air conditioner is needed to cool your house during the summer.

While both products serve distinct functions, some climates permit the installation of a furnace in conjunction with a heat pump, resulting in a dual-fuel heating system for heating and air conditioning. A dual-fuel system can provide more benefits. Combining an air-source heat pump with a furnace is one example. The system will measure the outside temperature and use two heat sources to decide the most effective way to heat your house.

Energy Efficiency

Comparing the energy efficiency of heat pumps and gas furnaces is difficult. Heat pumps are theoretically more energy efficient than heating systems because they can move more energy than they utilize. A high-efficiency natural gas furnace can achieve up to 98.5% efficiency (AFUE).

This is where things get complex. In warmer weather, highly efficient heat pumps use much less energy than gas furnaces. Gas heaters with 95% efficiency outperform ENERGY STAR-rated heat pumps in colder regions, however. Furthermore, because natural gas is less expensive than electricity, lifetime running expenses should be considered. Your local HVAC professional can assist you in navigating the energy-saving comparisons for your house.


Heat pumps function better and utilize minimal energy in warm climates with milder winters because they pull heat from the outside air. Heat pumps must work harder and cost more to obtain heat in exceptionally frigid regions. On the other hand, heat pumps are becoming more capable of performing as technology improves, making them a more feasible choice in colder climes. Furnaces are utilized in colder regions where a unit that can produce heat is superior to one that depends on transferring heat from extremely frigid outside air.


Preventative maintenance will help furnaces and heat pumps last longer and run more effectively. Both systems have air filters that are easy to replace. A typical home heat pump system consists of an outside unit and an interior unit that should be cleaned and examined once a year. A furnace does not require an external unit but is frequently used in conjunction with an air conditioner unit. Your HVAC professional can suggest an appropriate service plan based on your specific system.


Furnaces are usually placed indoors and need a minimum of 30 inches of space on all sides. A heat pump only needs 24 inches of space and is placed outside. On the other hand, a conventional air-source heat pump needs an interior air handler device known as a fan coil.


Another aspect to consider when choosing the best heating option is the cost and accessibility of energy in your region. A furnace may be the best option if you can access inexpensive fuel (natural gas, fuel oil, propane, or pellet fuel). However, a heat pump is worth contemplating if electricity is reasonably priced.

Call the Experts

The best option for you depends entirely on your home, your local climate, and your particular preferences. At Denver Pro Mechanical, we can assist you in making a decision. We provide a variety of heating system choices, such as air-source heat pumps, oil furnaces, gas furnaces, and more. Our service technicians can evaluate your requirements, explain the benefits and drawbacks of each option, and make suggestions on options that will work for your house, including cost estimates.

Contact Denver Pro Mechanical today for reliable cooling, ductless, and indoor air quality services in the Denver Metro area.

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