An outdoor heat pump unit installed outside a house.

Heat Pump vs. Furnace: Which One Fits Your Needs?

Choosing the best heating solution for your home can be overwhelming, especially when faced with the decision of a heat pump vs. furnace system. Many homeowners ponder, "Should you get a heat pump or furnace?" Both have their pros and cons, so understanding the differences will help guide your decision. In this blog, we will explore the key factors you should consider to make the right choice for your home.

Understanding the Basics

If you want to know if you should get a heat pump or furnace, you need to have a general understanding of how both options work. So, before diving into the heat pump vs. furnace debate, it's essential to learn the basics of each home heating system:

Heat Pump

A heat pump system works by moving heat from one location to another. During colder months, it extracts heat from the outdoor air and moves it indoors. Conversely, in warmer months, it operates like an air conditioner, extracting heat from inside the home and expelling it outside.


  • Works for both heating and cooling.
  • Generally more energy-efficient.
  • It can be used in most climates, but some types, like the air source heat pump, may struggle in extreme cold.


  • Heat pumps don't produce heat but move it, which may make them less effective in extremely cold climates.
  • Their lifespan can be shorter than furnaces, often around 15 years.


A furnace generates heat by burning fuel, typically natural gas, oil, or electricity, in its heat exchangers. The warm air produced is then distributed throughout the home.


  • Produces consistent and powerful heat, making it ideal for cold climates.
  • Longer lifespan, often between 20 years or more.
  • An electric furnace doesn't rely on fossil fuels, making it a cleaner option.


  • Only provides heating, requiring a separate air conditioner for cooling.
  • It can be less energy efficient than some heat pumps.

Heat Pump vs. Furnace: Key Considerations

Choosing a new heating system isn't something you should rush into; it requires thought and care. As you contemplate how best to heat your home, it's imperative to consider several factors. Whether you're looking to install a heat pump or another heating method, it's essential to understand how each system will impact you in the long run. Let’s discuss both options to see which will provide the most efficient and healthy indoor air for your household.

Energy Efficiency

When wondering which is cheaper to run — a heat pump or furnace — it often depends on the type of heating system and your local energy costs. Heat pumps are generally more energy-efficient than traditional furnaces, especially in milder climates. However, if you're considering an electric furnace, this could change the equation, as electricity costs tend to be higher than natural gas in many regions.

Initial Costs and Long-Term Savings

While heat pumps can be more expensive to install initially, they can lead to savings in the long run due to their efficiency. On the other hand, furnaces, especially gas-based ones, can be cheaper to install but might have higher operating costs.

Lifespan and Maintenance

A furnace can last anywhere from 20 years or more with proper maintenance, while most heat pumps have a lifespan of around 15 years. Considering this, if longevity is a concern, a furnace might be the better choice.

Integration With Other Systems

Heat pumps often double as air conditioners, eliminating the need for a separate cooling system. On the other hand, if you opt for a furnace, you might need a separate air conditioner for the warmer months.

Should I Replace My Gas Furnace With a Heat Pump?

This depends on various factors, including your location, the age of your existing system, and your energy goals. Suppose you live in a milder climate and aim for energy efficiency; in this instance, making the switch might be beneficial. Additionally, with advancements in technology, certain types of heat pumps, like geothermal systems, are proving effective even in colder climates.

Making the Right Choice

If you’re unsure if you should get a heat pump or furnace, it’s vital to consider the pros and cons of each system. Remember to think about your specific needs, the climate, and your budget. Whichever system you decide on, ensuring its proper installation is crucial. G.F. Bowman has been serving Harrisburg, PA, and the surrounding areas since 1967. Our NATE-certified technicians have a rich history of providing top-notch service, whether you're looking for heat pump or furnace installation services.

Schedule Your Heating System Installation Today!

Are you considering a new heating system? Trust the expertise of G.F. Bowman. With decades of experience, our team can guide you through the process, ensuring your home remains warm and comfortable.

Now that you know the key features of a heat pump vs. furnace, don’t wait any longer. Contact our furnace and geothermal heat pump installers today for a consultation on the best heating solution for your home!