Should You Replace Your Furnace with a Heat Pump?

If your furnace is coming to the end of its lifespan, you may be looking at your heating options. Should you stick with a furnace for heat, or would a heat pump be a better option? Which is better depends on where you live and your preferences. Here are some of the basics about heat pumps and when they can be a better choice than furnaces for heat.

Efficient Source of Heat

Heat pumps are usually more energy efficient than most furnaces. They use electricity for energy, while many furnaces use oil or gas. Your monthly heating bills can be less.

Great for Mild Climates

Heat pumps are great for heating in mild climates but are not a good choice for areas that have cold winters. Since they rely on pulling heat from the air, they may not be able to maintain a comfortable temperature when the outside air drops below freezing consistently. Furnaces are a better choice for cold climates.

Cooling During the Summer

Heat pumps work as a heating and cooling system in one. You can replace a furnace and air conditioning unit with a heat pump for year-round climate control.

Quiet, Safe Heating

Heat pumps tend to run quieter and can be safer than a gas furnace. You do not need to worry about gas leaks that can cause carbon monoxide poisoning or explosions in your home.

If you live in a region that has mild winters, a heat pump may be a good choice for replacing your old furnace. Discuss the benefits with your local HVAC service company to determine whether a heat pump is right for your home.

Posted on behalf of:
Western Aire Heating & Cooling
264 Buchanan Highway
Dallas, GA 30157
(770) 505-7426

Furnace or Heat Pump – How to Decide

If you are building a new home or replacing your heat source in your existing home, you may be considering your options. Both heat pumps and furnaces are popular heat sources, each with their own benefits. But, there are differences and advantages, depending on what your needs are for your home. Here is a quick comparison of the two to outline the differences.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps use the outdoor air to keep the home warm during the winter and cool during the summer. They do not use fuel for heat, but pull in heat from the air to heat the home, or pulls in cold air to cool it. Heat pumps warm the home like an air conditioner in reverse, and they can also cool a house during the summer. Heat pumps are energy efficient for climates that do not have extreme winter weather, offering a substantial energy savings.


Furnaces can offer a wonderful heat source, using oil, gas or electricity for fuel. Furnaces have one purpose – to heat the home. Furnaces burn fuel to make heat and distribute through the home, usually with a duct system. They are wonderful for cold weather, especially regions that often fall below freezing during the winter. However, they only heat and do need to be paired with an air conditioner for cooling during the summer for complete year-round climate control.

In a nut shell, heat pumps are an efficient option for regions that do not have severe winters, while a furnace can offer better heat for below freezing temperatures. Talk to your local HVAC service company to learn more about your heating options for your home.

Posted on behalf of:
ClimateSmith, LLC
5950 Shiloh Road East
Alpharetta, GA 30005
(770) 475-9555

Pros and Cons of Heat Pumps

Are you considering updating your heating system in your home? If a heat pump is on your list of options, it is important to know the benefits and disadvantages of this system of heating and cooling. Heat pumps are very popular in mild climates, but don’t work as well in climates with more dramatic season changes. Here are some of the pros and cons of owning a heat pump for your climate control needs.

Heat Pump Pros

The reason heat pumps are common in mild climates is that they use the outdoor air to generate heat or to cool the air. Mild air temperatures are easier for a heat pump to be efficient, especially when generating heat. Here are the pros of using a heat pump:

  • Efficiency. Heat pumps tend to be more energy efficient than furnaces. They can quickly convert air to heat using minimal amounts of electricity, often saving money on heating your home.
  • Heating and cooling. Heat pumps heat and cool the home, providing comfort in both the winter and summer months.
  • No fumes. While furnaces create dangerous fumes that need to be ventilated out of the home, heat pumps do not create carbon monoxide or other hazardous fumes.

Heat Pump Cons

While heat pumps are efficient, safe and convenient, they are not the best heating source for all climates. Here are a few of the cons of heat pumps:

  • Cold climates. If the outside temperatures consistently are below 40 degrees, heat pumps may have trouble heating to comfortable levels.
  • Electricity costs. In areas where electricity rates are high, the cost for using a heat pump versus a furnace may be more, especially if it is colder during the winter.

If you are still not sure if a heat pump is the best option for heating your home, talk to your local HVAC service company. They can discuss the benefits of all heat sources for your area and help you find the best one for your needs.

Posted on behalf of:
ClimateSmith, LLC
5950 Shiloh Road East
Alpharetta, GA 30005
(770) 475-9555

Basic Information About Heat Pumps

More and more homeowners are turning to heat pumps for energy efficient home heating and cooling.  For many homes, a heat pump is an excellent choice that can minimize your heating and cooling costs without sacrificing comfort.

There are two basic types of heat pumps:  ground source and air source.  An air source heat pump is similar to a central air conditioning system that can operate in reverse in the winter.  In the winter, it uses outside air as a heat source in the winter and as a place to dump heat in the summer.

A ground source heat pump uses the earth as a wintertime heat source and a summer time heat sink.  Closed loop ground source heat pumps have a closed loop of pipes buried underground that circulate a refrigerant.  Open loop heat pumps use well water or water from a lake, river, or other source for heating and cooling.

Air source heat pumps are the most common type and are also less expensive to install than a ground source heat pump.  However, they need more maintenance and have a shorter lifespan, particularly the outdoor unit.  An air source heat pump lasts about as long as a central air conditioner – 10 to 15 years.  A ground source heat pump generally lasts longer, especially the pipes that are buried underground.

An air source heat pump loses efficiency as outdoor air temperatures drop.  In below freezing conditions, an auxiliary heating element may be needed to maintain the desired temperatures.  In areas that experience extended periods of sub-freezing temperatures, a dual fuel system can be installed. These systems use the heat pump for heating in the Spring and Fall but rely on a natural gas, propane, or oil for heating in very cold temperatures.


Heat Pump Misconceptions

When it’s time to replace your old heating and air conditioning system, don’t overlook heat pumps as an energy efficient alternative to a central air conditioning system coupled with a traditional gas or oil fired furnace.  Many homeowners don’t even consider installing a heat pump because they have heard that heat pumps are unreliable and heat poorly, especially in temperatures below freezing.

These misconceptions are based on heat pump systems that were marketed twenty and thirty years ago.  When heat pumps were first introduced to the residential heating and air conditioning market during the energy crisis of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, they had some problems that earned them a poor reputation.

A heat pump is essentially a central air conditioner that can operate in reverse.  In air conditioning mode it absorbs heat from inside the home and moves it outside the home.  In heat mode, the cycle is reversed.  Early residential heat pumps were rushed to market during the energy crises and used standard modified air conditioner compressors that were not robust enough to handle this double duty and as a consequence, compressor failures and other breakdowns were common.

As the years went by, it became clear that heat pumps were far more energy efficient than a traditional furnace and manufacturers set about making them more reliable.  As a result, modern heat pumps are equipped with compressors and other components specifically designed to withstand the demands place on them by a heat pump.  Modern heat pumps are not only the most energy efficient home heating system on the market, but they are every bit as dependable as a central air conditioning system or furnace.

Talk to your heating and air conditioning contractor about whether an energy efficient heat pump makes sense for your home.

Energy Savings With Heat Pumps

Modern heat pumps are an excellent, energy efficient heating and cooling system for most American homes.  A heat pump is an HVAC system that handles both the heating and cooling of your home.  Despite a slow start when they were first introduced, heat pumps are now considered to be one of the most cost effective, energy efficient heating and cooling alternatives.

Heat pumps are very efficient heating systems because they use electricity to move heat rather than creating it.  Since they don’t create heat, they are much more efficient than most other heating alternatives such as furnaces that burn fossil fuels or use electric heating elements to create heat.

Most homes with a traditional furnace and central air conditioning system can be easily retrofitted with a split system heat pump.  These look a lot like a traditional central air conditioner and operate like a traditional central air conditioner in the summer when they are in cooling mode. They absorb warmth inside the home and discharge it outside the home.

When switched to heating mode in the winter, the heat pump operates in reverse to absorb warmth outside the home and discharge it inside the home.

The first heat pumps that were mass produced in the 1970’s were poorly designed and installed in homes with inadequate weatherstripping and insulation.  The result was that heat pumps initially earned a reputation for needing frequent repairs and for poor heating performance, especially in colder climates.

Today, heat pump technology has improved to the point that the opposite is true.  Modern heat pumps have excellent reliability and do a great job of heating in all types of climates, even those with prolonged periods of below freezing temperatures.  They are very efficient in both heating and cooling modes and can save homeowners a bundle on energy costs.

Cool Climate Heat Pumps

A heat pump is an energy efficient home heating and cooling alternative.  A heat pump is essentially a central air conditioning system that is equipped to operate in reverse during the winter.  A heat pump’s efficiency is based on the fact that it moves heat from place to place rather than creating heat.  In the summer, it moves heat from inside your home to the outside and in the winter, it takes heat from outside your home and moves it inside.

It may sound counterintuitive, but a heat pump can extract heat from cold air although its efficiency suffers at temperatures below freezing.  For this reason, heat pumps have generally been considered best suited for moderate climates.

However, if you are replacing your heating or cooling system, talk to your HVAC contractor about whether a heat pump would be a good alternative for you.  Recent technological advances have made heat pumps more efficient at lower temperatures so they are suitable for more areas than in the past.

Also, heat pumps can be equipped with supplemental heating strips that improve heating ability at lower temperatures.  In addition, a heat pump can be combined with other heating methods such as a radiant floor heating system, geothermal heating system, solar heating or other alternative heating system.

Some homeowners use a heat pump to heat in the fall and spring before switching to a conventional gas or oil furnace for the coldest months.  Whether a heat pump makes sense for you will depend on your unique situation and the relative cost of electricity in your area.  A reputable HVAC contractor that handles heat pump installation and repair can help you decide if a heat pump is right for you.

Heat Pumps

A heat pump is a heating and cooling system that uses refrigeration technology to heat and cool your home.  A heat pump takes the place of a traditional central air conditioner and furnace. In the summer, a heat pump operates much like a central air conditioning unit.  It uses Freon or other refrigerants to absorb heat inside your home and pump it outside.  In the winter, the process is reversed to heat your home.  There are advantages and disadvantages to consider before investing in a heat pump.

One of the primary selling points of heat pumps is that they are very efficient.  Because they transfer heat rather than create it (such as by burning oil or gas or electric heating elements), they are much more efficient at heating your home than a traditional furnace. 

Another advantage is that a heat pump uses a single piece of equipment to heat and cool rather than two separate pieces of equipment such as a furnace and central air conditioning unit.  This means that there is less maintenance and upkeep with a heat pump.  In addition, a heat pump generally produces more even heat with a higher level of humidity than a furnace. 

The main disadvantage of a heat pump is that it does not heat well in very cold weather.  When outside temperatures drop below 40 degrees, a supplemental heat source is necessary.  In addition, a heat pump is more expensive that a central air conditioning system and has a shorter lifespan because, unlike a central air conditioning system, a heat pump is used year round. 

Your local HVAC professional can help you decide if a heat pump is right for you and handle your heat pump installation and repair needs.