The Atlanta heating & AC contractors at Gagne compare the unique advantages of heat pumps and furnaces

If your furnace has recently bit the dust, or if you’re building a new home and are considering all the heating and cooling options, you might be curious to know about heat pumps and whether they’re better, or worse, than a traditional forced-air furnace. The fact is that furnaces and heat pumps are two different types of HVAC equipment that have different capabilities and strengths, and what you need will depend greatly on your specific situation.

Read on to learn which option might work better for you.

Heat Pumps

A heat pump can actually heat and cool your home. Unlike a furnace, a heat pump doesn’t combust any fuel. Instead, using an outdoor compressor and lines filled with refrigerant, it accumulates and transfers heat energy from the outside air into your home during the heating season. In the cooling season, it reverses this process and collects heat from within the home and transfers it outdoors.

Today’s heat pumps are very sophisticated and effective at heating and cooling. Some Carrier brand heat pumps can heat homes even in the coolest climates without a backup heat source to temperatures as low as -15 to -20°F.  Heat pumps usually do have a backup resistance electric heater or an associated gas furnace as a backup source in the unlikely event that the temperature drops below your heat pump’s capabilities.

Heat pumps can be a good option for you if:

  • You’re interested in a highly efficient way to both heat and cool your home (Learn more).
  • You don’t need your home extremely warm or cool. Because heat pumps transfer air, they’re a more temperate conditioning option that may be disappointing or expensive for those who really like to crank up the heat above 75°.
  • You’re looking to replace (or newly install) both your heating and cooling source.
  • You’re looking to add a heating and cooling option to a part of your home without existing ductwork. In that case, learn more about the ductless heat pump called a ductless mini-split.


Furnaces come in a fuel oil or natural gas burning option. A furnace combusts fuel to create heat and then blows this heat through your home with the use of a blower. Furnaces are a forced-air heating system.

Modern furnaces are highly efficient and, when properly installed, safe heating options. They provide hot air heating compared to a heat pump, which means the air within the home is initially very warm, but it will inevitably fluctuate more in temperature over the course of a day than a heat pump.

Furnaces can be a good option if:

  • You live in an area where gas/oil prices are competitive. You’ll need to feel comfortable with fluctuating heat prices and know the going rates for gas and oil in the Atlanta area.
  • You’re looking to replace the heating component of your heating and cooling system. There’s no need to replace your cooling system if it’s still working well.
  • You like the option to really heat up your house without leaning on a backup heat source. Furnaces provide that very warm, cozy feeling heat many people love.

At Gagne Heating and Air Conditioning, we understand that each situation is different. Our NATE Certified HVAC contractors are happy to go over the many Carrier heat pump and furnace options available to you in various price ranges. If you’re in the Alpharetta area, including Buckhead, Buford and Duluth areas, contact us today to request more information.

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