Upgrade To Comfort: Replacing Your Furnace With A Heat Pump

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By Debarghya Roy

Switching from a gas or electric furnace to a heat pump is a great move for homeowners looking to upgrade their home heating and cooling systems. Heat pumps use outside air as energy, making them more energy-efficient and cost-effective. Plus, they provide both heating and cooling, so no more separate units! One great benefit of heat pumps? Reducing carbon monoxide emissions and indoor air pollution. Unlike furnaces, heat pumps use electricity to transfer warm air and don’t create any harmful emissions or leaks. Climate heat pumps are now available even in freezing temps.

replacing furnace with heat pump

Key Takeaways

  • As a homeowner, if you are looking for an efficient way to heat your home during cold winter months, you might be considering the advantages of a heat pump over a furnace.
  • Heat pumps cost more than furnaces to install due to their complexity. But, research shows that homeowners could save up to 50% on energy bills by switching.
  • One important aspect of heat pump maintenance is understanding the optimal setting for emergency heat.
  • Before switching to electricity, ensure your home’s insulation and seals are up-to-date.

Advantages Of A Heat Pump Over A Furnace

replacing furnace with heat pump

As a homeowner, if you are looking for an efficient way to heat your home during cold winter months, you might be considering the advantages of a heat pump over a furnace. Here are some key advantages that might help you make the right choice for your home heating needs.

Advantages of Heat PumpAdvantages of Furnace
Fuel efficient as it uses electricity to transfer heatUses natural gas, propane, or oil as fuel
Operates as a cooling and heating system for your homeOnly heats your home during the winter months
Less carbon monoxide and air quality issues compared to furnacesBurning of fossil fuel leads to carbon monoxide emission
Longer lifespan of up to 15 years compared to furnacesLifespan of 10-15 years with regular maintenance
Lower upfront cost despite additional installation costsHigher upfront cost with lower installation costs
Provides efficient cooling during summer monthsNo cooling system during summer months

One unique advantage of heat pumps is that they can also work as a supplemental heating source during freezing temperatures. This dual heating system can provide both warmth and comfort to your home during harsh winter days. 

Considering the advantages of a heat pump over a furnace, switching to a heat pump can be a great option for many homeowners. Call HVAC experts in your area to explore whether a heat pump is a right choice for you. 

  1. Lower Energy Costs And Higher Energy Efficiency Of Heat Pump

Heat pumps are an increasingly popular alternative to conventional furnaces. They boast exceptional energy efficiency and lower energy costs. Heat pumps capture heat from the outdoors and transfer it into your home, providing an eco-friendly, cost-effective solution that conserves resources.

And that’s not all! Heat pumps run on electricity – no burning fuel like traditional furnaces. Plus, they can produce up to three times the energy they consume!

Heat pump technology is tried and true – with proper maintenance, these systems can last up to 15 years. So if you’re looking for a cost-effective heating system that keeps you warm all winter, a heat pump may be the perfect choice! Who needs a partner when you have a dual heating and air conditioning system?

  1. Dual Heating And Air Conditioning System Of Heat Pump

A dual heating and cooling system is a great way to keep your home warm in winter and cool in summer. Here are some of the advantages:

Advantages of Dual Heating and Cooling SystemFurnaceHeat Pump
EfficiencyLess EfficientMore Efficient
CostCheaper to installLifetime Cost Savings
Air QualityPoor Air QualityBetter Indoor Air Quality by Filtering Air from Outside.

Heat pumps use the surrounding air as an energy source, so they’re more efficient than furnaces. Plus, they use electricity, not fuel, so they’re kinder to the environment.

To get the most out of your dual heating and cooling system, keep up with regular maintenance like changing filters and scheduling inspections. And, upgrade to a smart thermostat for further savings and comfort. Why not give your heat pump a thank-you? It’s saving us all from a fiery apocalypse!

  1. Reduced Carbon Footprint And Use Of Fossil Fuels In Heat Pumps

Ditch traditional furnaces and switch to heat pumps for a reduced carbon footprint. Heat pumps use electricity, which can be generated from renewable sources like wind or solar which cuts down on emissions and pollution.

Heat pumps are also more efficient as they transfer existing heat rather than creating new heat. This means lower energy consumption and lower utility bills. Heat pumps are versatile, too. They can heat and cool air. So, you don’t need separate systems, you get the benefits of one.

For even greater efficiency, geothermal heat pumps are the way to go. They use natural warmth stored on the earth, so you save on operating costs. Plus, there’s no risk of carbon monoxide leaks.

  1. Lower Risk Of Carbon Monoxide Leaks In Heat Pump
  • A heat pump has a great advantage as it reduces the chances of carbon monoxide leaks.
  • Unlike furnaces, which burn fuel, heat pumps use electricity. This makes them much safer.
  • Furnaces have a higher risk of CO leaks. Maintenance and inspections can help, but there’s still a chance that problems could be overlooked. 
  • Installing carbon monoxide detectors can help detect leaks, but only after the fact.
  • Switching to a heat pump can prevent life-threatening situations. 
  • For example, a family whose lives were saved when their heat pump stopped a CO leak from their aging furnace.

It’s safer and more efficient to switch to a heat pump. If you’re considering updating your heating system, consider a heat pump. It’ll outlive your furnace and be the ultimate winner!

  1. Longer Lifespan Of A Heat Pump Compared To A Furnace

Heat pumps offer a longer life than traditional furnaces. This means more energy efficiency and lower costs in the long run. They can be used year-round as they both heat and cool. Plus, only half the maintenance of furnaces is needed. A few reasons are: 

  1. There are fewer mechanical parts
  2. Secondly, less wear and tear during operation
  3. Heat pumps work gradually, not suddenly.

Heat pumps have even more advantages over furnaces. Better indoor air quality and lower carbon emissions are some also you will save money on repairs.

Types Of Heat Pumps

As we explore the various options for home heating, let’s take a closer look at the different types of heat pumps available in the market today.

The following table shows the Types of Heat Pumps.

Type of Heat PumpDescriptionProsCons
Air-Source Heat PumpsTransfers heat between outdoor and indoor airHigh energy efficiencyLess effective in areas with freezing temperatures
Ductless, Mini-Split Heat PumpsNo ductwork required, ideal for room-specific heatingGreat option for retrofitting older homesHigher upfront cost
Geothermal Heat PumpsUses energy from the earth to heat homesGreat long-term energy savingsHigher upfront costs and installation hassle

It’s important to note that while there are various types of heat pumps available, the right choice to suit your home heating needs will depend on several factors, such as the climate in your area and the number of energy costs and savings you’re looking for.

The first heat pumps used to rely on natural gas or oil as a fuel source, but today’s heat pumps are fueled by electricity and are significantly more energy efficient. Replacing your gas furnace with an air-source heat pump is like the same amount of energy, but more efficient in the long run.

  1. Air Source Heat Pumps

Air-source heat pumps are becoming more popular due to their energy-saving and cost-effective capabilities. Below is a table of the different types of air source heat pumps, their characteristics, and their applications.

Type of Air Source Heat PumpCharacteristicsApplications
Air-to-Air Heat PumpTransfers heat between outdoor/indoor air; Heating/Cooling; Lower installation costs.Residential, commercial, and industrial
Air-to-Water Heat PumpTransfers heat from outdoor air to water systems; Can also provide domestic hot water; with Higher installation costs.Residential, commercial
Hybrid Heat PumpsCombine air source & boiler creating a dual fuel system; Efficient heating & high hot-water output; Saves electricity.Residential

To maximize energy savings, it is important to maintain the heat pumps regularly. It is recommended to get annual servicing from qualified engineers to check the equipment, controls, and effectiveness.

  1. Ground Source Heat Pumps

A geothermal heat pump system is one way to heat and cool a building. It uses the earth’s natural warmth, transferring it indoors. It’s highly efficient, eco-friendly, and cost-effective in the long run.

To get a ground-source heat pump system, pipes filled with antifreeze are buried or put in water. The heat from the earth is absorbed by the fluid and transferred indoors.

How it works:

  1. Heat exchanger: Transfers heat to/from ground loop fluid.
  2. Compressor/condenser: Increases/decreases refrigerant temperature.
  3. Expansion valve: Reduces pressure in refrigerant lines.
  4. Evaporator: Absorbs heat from air/water/glycol; cools working fluid.

Installing a geothermal system is more complicated than other pumps. It needs professionals and drilling around the home. But, it pays for itself in 5-10 years with electricity savings and reduced carbon footprints.

  • 3. Ductless Heat Pumps

Ductless heating systems come in many different designs. No ductwork is needed for air distribution, only outdoor and one or more indoor units. These systems are versatile and energy-efficient, providing both heating and cooling capabilities.

Features and specs of ductless heat pumps include:

  1. Number of Zones (rooms or areas that can be separately heated/cooled)
  2. Cooling Capacity (BTU) (amount of heat system can remove from a room per hour)
  3. Heating Capacity (BTU) (amount of heat the system can give to a room per hour)
  4. COP (Coefficient of Performance – the measure of efficiency)

Installation is flexible due to small conduits connecting indoors to outdoors. Some models even allow multiple zones with separate temp controls, providing personalized comfort. Energy Star says replacing central air conditioning with a ductless system can save homeowners up to 30% on utility bills.

Factors To Consider When Replacing Furnace With A Heat Pump

As one contemplates the switch from a gas furnace to a heat pump, there are numerous factors to consider. Here are some crucial elements for homeowners to keep in mind:

  • The upfront cost of installation.
  • Long-term energy efficiency and cost savings.
  • The lifespan of the heat pump.
  • The climate and whether a heat pump will efficiently heat the home during cold months.

It’s important to note that there are now “cold climate” heat pumps available, which are specifically designed to work in freezing temperatures, making them a great option for those living in colder areas. Additionally, keep in mind the benefits of air sealing and ductwork upgrades when installing a new heating system.

Consider adding a backup heating system to your home as a safety net in case of emergencies. Replacing your furnace with a heat pump may cost more upfront, but the long-term savings and efficiency make it a worthwhile investment.

  1. Upfront Cost And Installation Costs Of Heat Pump

My friend in Rochester, NY was hesitant to replace their furnace with an electric air-source heat pump due to its high upfront cost. But, after researching energy savings potential, they decided to take the plunge into renewable energy technology.

  • Installation and equipment costs for heat pumps vary. Prices range from $5,000 to $8,000 for an electric heat pump and up to $25,000 for geothermal systems. 
  • Additional costs include labor, ductwork, electrical capacity upgrades, and local permit requirements.
  • Factoring in energy efficiency savings can make the purchase of a heat pump system more attractive. 
  • Moreover, climate is an important factor when selecting a new heating system. Colder regions may require bigger units which can drive up the purchase price and installation costs.

Don’t miss out on potential savings – switch to a heat pump and enjoy the benefits of renewable energy!

  1. Energy Efficiency And Energy Source Availability Of Heat Pump

When considering a replacement, it’s essential to think about energy sources and energy efficiency. Opting for a heat pump can significantly reduce your carbon footprint and heating costs.

However, not all homes are suitable. Insulation type and climate in your area will determine if a heat pump is right for you and you’ll need electricity to run it.

Talking to an HVAC expert can help you decide. So, get informed, and consider energy efficiency and energy source availability when replacing your furnace with a heat pump. That way, you can save on heating costs and reduce environmental impact.

  1. Climate And Temperature Range In The Area 

When replacing a furnace with a heat pump, it’s important to consider the climate and temperature range in the area. Humidity and altitude can affect how well they perform.

Heat pumps become less effective in cold temperatures, but hybrid furnaces are available that use both electricity and fuel. Specialized equipment may be necessary for proper operation in polar regions. This includes insulated ducts to prevent heat loss. Also, size the heat pump properly for your home’s needs!

A table outlining various climates and their corresponding temperature ranges is given below.

Climate TypeTemperature Range (Fahrenheit)
TropicalAverage Temperature Above 64 degrees
Arid or SemiaridUp to 86 degrees during the day, drops below 68 degrees at night
Mild25 degrees to 65 degrees
Cold5 to 25 degrees
PolarBelow 5 degrees
  1. Size And Condition Of The Home And Existing Ductwork

When replacing a furnace with a heat pump, it’s important to consider the size and type of the residence. Essential aspects to note include ventilation methods, square footage, insulation levels, the number of floors in the house, and checking existing ductwork, and windows for natural light.

The table below presents relevant criteria for assessing whether a house can accommodate an adequate heat pump:

Square FootageThe actual measurement of living space
Insulation LevelsThe insulation R-value of the walls, roofs, and foundation
House OrientationThe direction at which your property faces
Window / Door Seal QualityMeasure of air leakage around doors and windows
Home AgeThe age group of the home

It’s crucial to understand each criterion’s significance when purchasing and installing a heat pump. Other things to consider include start-up costs and necessary upgrades for a seamless installation process. Additionally, regular maintenance helps achieve high-performance levels and increases the machine’s lifespan.

  1. Cooling Needs During Summer Months For Replacing Heat Pump

When replacing your furnace with a heat pump, consider the area to be cooled, the insulation of your home, and your lifestyle. Installing a larger heat pump than needed can cause reduced efficiency, higher bills, and comfort issues. Pick the right one for your home and have maximum cooling comfort.

Also, where you live matters. Your geographical location and sun exposure may affect your heat loss calculation. People in hot regions may need more power than people living in temperate areas. Insulation is key in preventing unnecessary heat gain and uneven cool air distribution.

Heat pumps cost more than furnaces to install due to their complexity. But, research shows that homeowners could save up to 50% on energy bills by switching.

Installation Process Of A Heat Pump

When it comes to installing a heat pump in your home as a replacement for a gas or electric furnace, there are a few key steps that need to be followed. The process of installation is not complicated but requires a professional technician and good planning.

First, a professional technician will assess your home’s heating and cooling requirements, and determine what type of heat pump is the best fit for your climate, your lifestyle, and your budget. They will also check if there are any issues with your current ductwork or air handler that needs to be addressed before installation.

Next, the technician will work with you to determine the best place to install the heat pump unit and outdoor components. Once that’s decided, the installation process generally involves the following:

  1. Removing the old furnace or air conditioning unit if needed.
  2. Installing the outdoor unit, which typically involves placing it on a concrete pad or mounting it to the side of your home.
  3. Running refrigerant lines and electrical wiring between the outdoor unit and the indoor air handler. If your home doesn’t have any existing ductwork, the technicians will install ductless heads for air circulation.

It’s recommended to schedule the installation during the summer months when you’re not dependent on your home’s heating system. The installation period takes around 1-2 days and does not cause much hassle or worry.

Air sealing and ductwork can help reduce air leaks and increase your home’s comfort and energy efficiency. Getting the right size and placement of your heat pump unit, not too big, not too small, just perfect for your home’s heating needs.

  1. Proper Sizing And Placement Of The Heat Pump Unit
  • When selecting a heat pump, size, and positioning are key. 
  • The size must match the building’s heating needs, accounting for insulation, climate, and energy efficiency. 
  • Place the unit in a shady area with plenty of surrounding space for proper air circulation and noise reduction.
  • For the right sizing and placement, HVAC professionals can assess individual requirements. They consider outdoor temperature, humidity, home layout, and square footage. 
  • Professional advice ensures optimal performance, comfort, and cost-effectiveness.
  • Some may prefer indoor installation when the property can’t accommodate an exterior fixture. For best results, locate the furnace in a central interior wall.

Don’t forget to seal leaks tight or you’ll be blowing hot air like a dehydrated llama!

  1. Air Sealing And Ductwork Inspection Of Heat Pump

Efficient air sealing are essential for the installation of a heat pump. A thorough inspection of the ductwork will ensure there are no leaks or damages, optimizing the performance and reducing energy costs. 

Sealing gaps around ducts, walls, windows, doors and more prevents air leakage and improves air quality. The technician conducts a visual inspection of the whole unit, looking for cracks or gaps where hot or cold air could seep out.

Airflow testing before fixing duct leaks aids in identifying pressure imbalances. Regular maintenance is recommended to prevent mechanical failures in the heat pump system. Cleaning indoor and outdoor coils and annual inspections should be done for continued efficiency. In case of failure, an optional backup heating system can be installed; no one wants to freeze in their own home.

  1. Optional Backup Heating System Installation For Heat Pump

 Ready to get toasty? Here’s how to set up an alternative heating method for your heat pump.

  • Choose Your Backup Heating System – Gas furnace, electric resistance heater, or oil-fired boiler, just pick your poison.
  • Close Your Heat Pump Circuit – Install a double-pole breaker labeled for the backup system on the main panel.
  • Install Wiring for the Backup Heater – Consult a licensed electrician for wiring and controls.
  • Additional Controls & Ductwork if Required – Thermostats, zone dampers, and extra controls may be necessary with an electric heater.

It’s important to check installation instructions/codes and perform regular maintenance. Adding a backup heating system ensures warmth during power outages, malfunctions, and extreme winter conditions. Get some peace of mind with a well-planned backup system.

  1. Installation Of Ductless Heads For Zoned Heating And Cooling Of Heat Pump

Installing a ductless head for zoned heating and cooling is a popular solution to keep your home comfy. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

  1. Pick a spot for the indoor unit.
  2. Drill a hole in the wall for refrigerant and supply lines.
  3. Connect refrigerant lines to both indoor and outdoor units.
  4. Attach supply and return lines to the indoor unit; mount it.
  5. Plug in electrical connections; test system.

Look at your home’s layout to decide how many zones you need as this affects efficiency. Regular maintenance boosts performance and keeps your system running smoothly. Have an expert check it out once a year.

Maintenance And Upkeep Of A Heat Pump

  • Heat pump maintenance is crucial for ensuring efficient operation and a longer lifespan. 
  • Regularly inspecting the air filters, outdoor unit, and indoor air handler is important for preventing malfunctions and keeping the unit clean. 
  • Additionally, sealing any air leaks and insulating ductwork can improve efficiency and reduce energy costs.
  • It’s recommended to schedule professional maintenance at least once a year, especially before the start of winter, to ensure the unit is in optimal condition. 
  • A technician can perform tasks such as inspecting refrigerant levels, cleaning coils, and testing electrical components.
  • In freezing temperatures, the heat pump may struggle to extract sufficient heat from outside air, and a backup heating system may be necessary. 
  • Interestingly, heat pumps have a lower risk of producing carbon monoxide compared to fossil fuel burning systems however, it’s still important to install carbon monoxide detectors for added safety.
  • The key factors to consider when choosing a heat pump for a cold climate include the unit’s heating capacity, speed, and ability to control humidity.

Keeping your furnace clean is like keeping your ex’s number in your phone, you never know when you’ll need to heat things up again.

  1. Regular Cleaning And Filter Replacement Of Heat Pump

Maintaining the cleanliness of your heat pump and replacing filters regularly is key for efficient functioning and keeping energy costs low. Plus, it extends the life of the system! Here’s how you do it:

  • Clean the outdoor unit: Remove leaves, debris, or obstructions and keep it dust-free with a mild detergent solution and hose.
  • Replace air filters: Do this every 1-3 months, depending on usage. It boosts airflow and reduces energy use.
  • Clean the indoor unit: Clear away dirt, mold, or bacteria buildup from evaporator coils and drainage lines. Use a soft brush.
  • Refrigerant levels or leaks: Check for these two as that could damage the heat pump’s efficiency. 
  • Don’t install outside covers: In winter, this blocks airflow needed for defrosting.
  • Keep vents open: Remember to do this all year for proper circulation of warm/cool air.

Neglecting filter changes can cause serious damage that’ll up repair costs. Regular maintenance avoids these costly mistakes and preserves performance. Before inspecting refrigerant levels, unplug the heat pump to avoid unexpected connections.

  1. Inspection of refrigerant levels and electrical connections

Safety first! Shut down the heat pump system. Check for loose, corroded cables and burnt terminals and get a gauge to measure the refrigerant levels and make sure it’s within the manufacturer’s range. If it’s low, look for leaks before adding more.

Label your task list when done. It’s important to maintain the refrigerants for optimal efficiency and to save money on electricity. Neglecting this routine maintenance can cause higher power consumption, so be careful!

Wear protective gear, like gloves and safety goggles, when inspecting, and don’t forget to scan for dust in the ductwork too!

  1. Inspection Of Ductwork And Airflow Of Heat Pump

Maintaining your heat pump is critical. Here’s what to look out for:

  • Inspect insulations, seals, and joints for damage or misalignment. These can lead to air leaks and lower efficiency.
  • Check ducts for blockage. This could be caused by dirt or debris.
  • Make sure vents are properly adjusted and aligned.

Also, check for visible damage caused by pests or impact. Even minor issues can cause long-term damage.

For optimal efficiency, consider these tips:

  • Clean your ductwork at least every two years to avoid build-up.
  • Use energy-efficient filters to encourage airflow and trap dust & pollutants. Replace these regularly.

By inspecting your heat pump’s ductwork and airflow often and making tweaks, you can increase longevity, improve performance, and maximize effectiveness while saving costs. Don’t wait for a breakdown, call a pro before it’s too late!

  1. Professional Tune-Ups And Inspections Of Heat Pump Every Few Years

A heat pump’s job is to keep your building heated and cooled. To make sure it works properly, it needs a professional tune-up and inspection every few years.

  • Maintenance makes sure all the parts of the heat pump work perfectly.
  • It stops sudden breakdowns and expensive repairs.
  • Technicians can spot potential problems before they become worse, and do preventive maintenance.
  • Cleaning or changing air filters, lubricating moving parts, and more can make the heat pump more efficient and lower bills.

Also, proper servicing gives better indoor air quality (IAQ). Make sure you use qualified professionals who have certifications from NATE or ACCA for the best job. And when you get a new heat pump, remember: efficiency comes first!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a heat pump?

A heat pump is a type of HVAC system that utilizes outside air to both heat and cool your home. It works by extracting heat from the outside air during the winter months and transferring it inside through an air handler. Similarly, during the summer months, it extracts heat from inside your home and transfers it outside.

What are the advantages of installing a heat pump over a gas or electric furnace?

One significant advantage is energy efficiency. Heat pumps are incredibly efficient and can save homeowners a lot in energy costs in the long run. Additionally, they are also an excellent option for people concerned about air quality and reducing their carbon footprint.

Are there any upfront costs associated with installing a heat pump?

Yes, there are upfront costs associated with installing a heat pump. However, in many cases, the energy savings over time outweigh the initial investment.

Can a heat pump work in cold or freezing temperatures?

Yes, heat pumps, including models designed for cold climates, can operate in freezing temperatures. They are designed to extract heat from the outside air, even in temperatures as low as -15 degrees Fahrenheit.

Can I use my existing ductwork with a heat pump?

In most cases, yes. But depending on the age and condition of your ductwork, you may want to consider having it inspected or sealed to improve efficiency.

Can a heat pump be used as a backup heating system?

Yes, many heat pumps come with a backup heating system, typically electric heat strips, that can automatically kick in when temperatures drop too low for the heat pump to work efficiently.


Replacing a gas or electric furnace with a heat pump is a great option for many homeowners. Benefits include energy efficiency and cost savings. Heat pumps also provide better air quality and humidity control. As well as heating, they can be used to cool too. If backup heating is needed in cold weather, a dual system or backup system can be installed. The cost of installation may be high, but the lifespan of heat pumps usually makes it a good investment. Ductless heads are an option that further reduces energy costs. Before switching to electricity, ensure your home’s insulation and seals are up-to-date. Speak to local HVAC experts to decide if a climate heat pump or cold climate heat pump is best for your home.

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