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What’s the Difference Between a Heat Pump and a Furnace?

Furnace, Heat Pump, Heating

In Southern Maryland, two popular options to heat our homes are heat pumps and furnaces. Both can keep your home comfortable during the cold winters, but how do you know which is best for your home?

It’s important to understand how each system works and the major differences between them. We’ll break down the functionality, efficiency, and life span of each to help you make the best decision for your home.

Learn more about which system is right for you. Contact Southern Pride Service today at (301) 932-4925.

How Heat Pumps Work

Heat pumps transfer warm air from one location to another rather than creating heat, making them highly energy-efficient systems. During winter, heat pumps will absorb warm air from the ground or outdoors and move it indoors, and vice versa during the summer.

The benefits of heat pumps include:

  • Quiet operation
  • Energy-efficient
  • Reduced carbon emissions

Heat pumps work well in milder climates and don’t tend to hold up as well in frigid weather. They typically have a higher upfront cost, but they offer long-term savings on energy bills.

    How a Furnace Works

    Traditional furnaces work by burning fuel to heat the air in your home. The burning fuel generates heat, which goes into the heat exchanger. The air in your home passes over the heat exchanger, which warms the space; as the air circulates through your home, the temperature rises.

    The benefits of furnaces include:

    • Low installation costs
    • Can be used in colder temperatures
    • Fast and reliable heating

    Furnaces generate their own heat, making them less energy-efficient than heat pumps; however, they’re more reliable in colder temperatures.


    The Key Differences Between a Furnace & Heat Pump

    To determine if a heat pump or furnace is better for your home, you also need to know how they differ.

    Energy Efficiency

    A heat pump will win the battle for energy efficiency. While a reliable, energy-efficient furnace can operate at 95% energy efficiency, a heat pump can run at almost 300% efficiency. That means it creates 300 times more heat than the energy it uses.

    Don’t count your furnace out just yet! When temperatures drop below 25 degrees Fahrenheit, a furnace becomes more energy-efficient because the heat pump doesn’t have enough warm air around it to draw from.

    Life Span

    The average life span of a heat pump is around 15 years. Some heat pumps will fail after 10 years or so with heavy use. Heat pumps should be regularly maintained to keep them as efficient as possible.

    The average life span of a furnace is 15 to 20 years. Even with heavy use, furnaces can typically outlast a heat pump. Furnaces should be professionally maintained at least once a year, with twice-a-year service being ideal.

    Maintenance should be thorough to ensure your furnace lasts to its full capacity.

      Schedule Heating Services in Southern Maryland

      If you need heating services in Southern Maryland, choose Southern Pride Service. We’ve helped families with their HVAC needs for over 25 years, guaranteeing 100% satisfaction. We’re family-owned and -operated and offer upfront pricing and same-day service.

      Schedule your heating service with the efficient, trustworthy, and honest team at Southern Pride Service.

      Call (301) 932-4925 to talk to our team today.