Replacing Your Furnace With a Heat Pump: Is It Wise?

As you’re getting ready for the winter season, you may have noticed that your heating system is no longer operating at peak efficiency. It may have even given off a weird sound or two before dying completely. Now, you’re faced with the decision of how to replace the old, dead furnace. You’ve heard of heat pumps, but you’re not entirely sure it’s the best choice for you. Is it even possible to replace a furnace with a heat pump? 

For over 50 years, heat pumps have been reliably providing heating and cooling to homes, and this piece of HVAC equipment could just possibly meet your needs as well. Let’s look at how heat pumps work and why this heating source may be a good replacement option for your old furnace. 

How a Heat Pump Differs From a Furnace 

You may be surprised to learn that, despite its name, a heat pump can both heat and cool a house. Many people are drawn to this HVAC unit when their furnace and air conditioner need to be replaced for a safer, greener option to burning fossil fuels. 

Unlike a furnace, which uses combustion to generate heat, a heat pump uses a compressor to transfer heat from outside to inside through the same refrigerant lines used for an AC unit. A simple way of looking at a heat pump is that it is an air conditioner that can work in reverse to heat instead of cool. Since a furnace is limited to being 100% efficient, the heat pump’s method of moving heat can offer potential energy savings.  

Benefits of Owning a Heat Pump 

You may want to consider replacing your furnace with a heat pump to enjoy the following benefits: 

  • Greater safety: Heat pumps are more environmentally friendly than gas or oil furnaces since they run on electricity and do not produce harmful byproducts. This method of operation also means the heat pump is safer to use. You don’t have to worry about gas leaks, carbon monoxide poisoning, or combustion issues. 
  • Potential energy savings: Heat pumps are more energy-efficient than furnaces, but the total operational costs vary depending on fuel source and energy rates. Heat pumps will always save money over oil or Propane, but natural gas may still offer a lower cost, especially for PECO gas customers whose rates are much lower than PGW. 

Why a Heat Pump May Not Be Ideal for You 

While there are many significant advantages to owning a heat pump, it may not be the best option for your household for a few different reasons. Most heat pumps lose efficiency and capacity as the temperature drops so an auxiliary or backup heat source is needed in most northern climates. This can be a simple, low cost electric heat kit added to the air handler or you can opt for a “dual fuel” system that  uses a furnace when the heat pump cannot provide enough heating.  

You should also consider your area’s electricity and gas prices before replacing your gas furnace with a heat pump. A professional HVAC sales person can assist you with analyzing your current usage and current fuel and electricity costs to help you decide if a heat pump makes sense for your home.  

Replacing Your Old Furnace 

If it’s time to replace your furnace, reach out to our HVAC sales team. We will be able to assess your heating and cooling needs and determine whether a new furnace or heat pump is best. Don’t freeze this winter. Let us take care of your Philadelphia furnace maintenance, emergency heating system repair, and heater replacement. We’ll provide prompt, reliable service so you can stay comfortable all season long. Contact our team today to schedule an appointment.

W.F. Smith HVAC testimonial

I chose W.F. Smith based on past experience. Prompt and efficient installation of my last Lennox unit nineteen years ago, and trouble free operation since then until breakdown last month. Equally pleased with this installation. While I have been pleased with Lennox, I am really buying based on experience and trust in W. F. Smith.