Furnaces vs. Heat Pumps: How to Choose

These days it seems almost everyone is trying to reduce their carbon footprint, while simultaneously minimizing the footprint left on their bank account from their monthly energy bill. And one of the biggest culprits of energy waste is old heating systems.

Although it’s prudent to update your old heater, it can also be a costly investment. Making sure you know which system to go for is essential if you don’t want to end up wasting more money installing the wrong unit.

If you’re in search of a new heating system, there are number a factors to keep in mind. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons of using a furnace or heat pump to warm your home or office:


When it comes to energy efficiency, heat pumps hold a clear advantage over gas or electric furnaces. An older gas furnace only has an energy efficiency rating of 65%, while modern units top out at 80%. However, a standard heat pump ranges anywhere from 80% to 97% in terms of efficiency.


Heat pumps are the more efficient and cost-effective buy in the long run. However, installing one can be expensive, so the cost-value of heat pumps versus furnaces varies greatly on the situation.

For instance, depending on the cost of electricity or gas in your area, it may make more financial sense to get your furnace professionally serviced, rather than tear it out and replace it with a new heat pump system.

In the end though, if you are looking to install a new heating system, a heat pump will be a much cheaper option than a furnace.

Convenience and Dependability

Another advantage of heat pumps is that in spite of their name, they can both heat and cool a space, whereas a furnace only heats. But while heat pumps are able to do two jobs, they only work in relatively mild cold weather.

When choosing between a furnace and a heat pump, one of the most important factors to keep in mind is your local seasonal climate. If the temperature in your area regularly dips below freezing, then your best option is a furnace—unless you supplement your heat pump with an additional heat source.

Heat pumps work by pumping in warm air from outside, so it’s almost impossible for a heat pump to warm a home comfortably when temperatures are below freezing. Fortunately, winters in Georgia are fairly mild, and in most cases heat pumps are enough.

Life Span

Since heat pumps are used all year around, they tend to have a somewhat shorter life span than a separated furnace and central air conditioning system. Gas furnaces have an average life span of 15 years, whereas heat pumps last slightly less.


Furnaces that run on gas are more dangerous than heat pumps or electrically-powered heat sources. Gas furnaces use in-house combustion systems, and leaks can be potentially deadly—leading to a fire, carbon monoxide poisoning, or worse. Electric-based heat is cleaner and safer.

Our Georgia HVAC certified heating and air conditioning contractors at Gagne AC specialize in installing both Carrier® heat pumps and gas furnaces. We also provide professional emergency repair on heating and air conditioning systems of all brands shapes and sizes.

Whether you are looking for residential, commercial, or industrial air conditioning, heating, and air quality services, give us a call to schedule a free consultation today!