Should You Buy a Heat Pump or a Furnace This Winter?

If you’re in the market for a new heating system this winter, you may be wondering what the better choice is for your Maryland or Washington, DC area home—a heat pump or a traditional electric or gas-powered furnace. While a traditional furnace is the best choice for the coldest regions of the United States and a heat pump makes the most sense for those who live in warmer regions, those of us who live in the Mid-Atlantic states can benefit from either, depending on our budget, lifestyle, and the layout of our homes.

Heat Pump vs Furnace: How They Both Work

A traditional furnace heats your home by using gas or electric-powered combustion to heat air and then force it through your ducts to your living spaces.

A heat pump, on the other hand, works by transferring heat from the exterior of your home to the interior and then blowing the warm air throughout your home. Most heat pumps also have an auxiliary furnace to heat air when the ground is too cold to generate enough warmth for your home.

Benefits of Heat Pumps

When you’re comparing a heat pump vs. furnace, consider the benefits heat pumps have to offer, including:

  • More efficient operation. This type of system is a much more efficient way of heating your home than a traditional furnace and thus uses less energy, reducing your monthly heating bills in the process.
  • Both heating and cooling capabilities. The same heat pump system can be used both for transferring warm air from the ground to your home in the winter and for transferring hot air in your home during the summer.
  • More even heat distribution than a traditional furnace. You won’t find those hot and cold pockets in the house with a heat pump that you often find with a furnace.
  • Quieter operation.

However, heat pumps are generally more expensive than traditional furnaces and require regular maintenance to keep them running smoothly, adding to the overall cost. If you live in a pocket of the DC region where the temperatures fall well below freezing in the winter, a heat pump will probably not be able to satisfy your family’s demand for heat and you will have to rely on the auxiliary system (which is essentially a traditional furnace.)

Benefits of a Traditional Furnace

The chief advantage to a traditional furnace is that it will keep your family as warm as you’d like in any temperature with little maintenance. In addition, many furnaces run on natural gas, which can be less expensive than the electricity used to operate a heat pump.

The type of heating system you ultimately choose will depend on a number of factors, such as your budget, your home’s location, and its size. However, it makes sense to carefully weigh the pros and cons of a heat pump vs. furnace before you go to see your local HVAC contractor in the DC area.

Need More Advice on Heat Pumps vs. Furnaces?

If you’re still not sure whether you should invest in a heat pump or a furnace for your Maryland or DC area home, the HVAC experts at Michael Bonsby HVAC, Plumbing & Electrical can help you make a well-informed choice. Contact us to schedule a consult and keep your home warm and comfortable with the most reliable HVAC products this winter!

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