Understanding the Difference between Heat Pumps and Furnaces

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In nearly all Phoenix area homes, heating is provided by either a heat pump or a furnace. Both types are effective, but there are differences and unique characteristics that you should weigh before purchasing a heating system.

Heat Pumps

A heat pump is basically an air conditioner that can also work in reverse to heat your home. Rather than creating heat, as a furnace would, a heat pump shifts heat from one point to another. Thus, during the scorching hot summer days, a heat pump moves heat from your home. In the winter, the process is reversed, and heat is moved from outside into your home.

The pros of a heat pump are:

  • It’s a single unit that works efficiently year-round.
  • More environmentally-friendly.

The cons of a heat pump are:

  • More expensive than a furnace
  • May require an additional heat source when exterior temperatures are extremely cold.


Gas furnaces create heat by burning natural gas. Heat is transferred to the air and distributed throughout your home.

The pros of a furnace are:

  • Less expensive than a heat pump. However, you will require maintenance on both your air conditioner and your furnace, which increases the cost of upkeep.
  • More energy efficient. Gas furnaces can convert up to 97 percent of the gas they consume into heat.

The con of a furnace is:

  • Gas costs more than electricity.

Making the Decision

Before choosing a heat pump or a furnace, it’s a good idea to weigh the pros and cons and to consult with an HVAC specialist who can help guide your decision. At Ellsworth Home Services, not only can we help you with this decision, we can provide the latest information on sizes, brands, warranties, and rebates to ensure you get the best product for your specific needs. Call us today at 480-593-2265 for a free estimate.