If you’re in the market for a new central heating system, you have a big decision ahead of you: Do you go with a heat pump or a furnace? They’ll both provide reliable comfort, but they go about doing so in different ways.
To better understand which one will meet your needs and budget, it helps to know how they operate.
The Difference Between a Heat Pump and a Furnace
How a Furnace Works
A conventional gas furnace works like this:
- Natural gas ignites flames in a burner assembly
- The flames heat up a heat exchanger
- The blower forces air across the heat exchanger, distributing warmth through the ductwork and into your home’s living spaces
- As each room warms up, the return ducts draw the cooler air through the vents to go through the heating process
- The cycle repeats
How a Heat Pump Works
A heat pump is a little more complicated. Unlike a gas furnace, a heat pump doesn’t need a fuel source to create heat. Rather, it pumps warm air out of cold air. That’s right, even cold air contains heat energy -- it’s science.
- The refrigerant absorbs heat from the outside air
- The outdoor compressor unit converts this heat into a hot liquid
- This liquid travels to the indoor coils
- The blower distributes this heat through the ductwork
So, is the Furnace or Heat Pump More Efficient?
The winner, by a long shot, is the heat pump. It’s the efficiency champion because, as previously stated, it doesn’t burn fuel to produce warmth. Instead, it taps into a free and abundant energy source: the outside air. It does, however, have limitations. The colder the air, the harder it has to work to convert it into heat. So, it’s losing a bit of efficiency with each drop in temperature. But this is Texas we’re talking about. It rarely dips below freezing, so a heat pump will do just fine.
A heat pump also doubles as an air conditioner. It reverses course, extracting heat from the inside and replacing it with cool air in the summer.
Bottom line: You can’t go wrong with either a furnace or a heat pump. Modern heating systems are designed with efficiency in mind and include a number of energy-saving features to slash operating costs. When you’re ready to replace your central heating system, turn to the experts at Lex Air Conditioning and Heating by calling (972) 217-8955.