Heat Pump vs Furnace

Heat Pump vs Furnace

Which is better: a heat pump or a furnace? Here at Associated Heating & Air, we are frequently asked that question. So, how do we respond? Well, we think the best way to look at it is that they are two different ways to achieve the same goal: heating your home. Before we discuss the pros/cons of both systems, let’s identify just how a heat pump works.


Simply speaking, heat pumps are machines that move heat from one location to another. It differs from a furnace in that it does not generate heat, it only moves it. When it heats your home, it takes warm air from the outside cool air and moves it into your home, where the air handler circulates it. Refrigerators and air conditioners are other examples of this technology, but they operate in cooling mode only. One of the pluses of a heat pump is that it can be used for both heating and cooling.


  1. Dual functionality. Like we said above, a heat pump can be used for both heating and cooling your home. The process is simply reversed when cooling and hot air is moved from inside your home to outside. This eliminates the need for both an air conditioner and a furnace.
  2. Reduced energy costs. Because it does not burn fuel to generate heat, heat pumps use much less energy. They require electricity, but actually consume less energy than the heat energy it pumps into your home, making them as much as 300 percent efficient. Furnaces will always be below 100 percent …  that is, they burn more energy than they produce.


  1. They don’t like below-freezing weather. One of the most important factors in considering what system to use is the area of the country you live in. Here in California, where it rarely dips below freezing, there is more warm air outside for your heat pump to capture than there is in colder regions. Frequent or steady sub-freezing temperatures can also damage a heat pump over time.
  2. Higher upfront costs. Though heat pumps are much more efficient and environmentally friendly than their furnace counterparts, the initial cost of the pump plus installation is considerably higher than with a furnace. This is also more problematic when installing a heat pump from scratch instead of replacing an existing unit.


Associated Heating & Air has proudly served the Orange County and Anaheim, CA areas since 1990. We specialize in Lennox equipment, but offer the utmost in HVAC maintenance, repair and installation services of all models. Call us today to find out about our Discount Club Program, which turns the maintenance of your system over to our pros. With membership, you receive two annual system inspection, discounts on parts and labor and priority service scheduling. Stay in touch with Associated throughout the year on Facebook and Twitter!