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Heat Pump Vs. Furnace: Which Is Best in North Carolina?


No one wants to replace their furnace, but it will need to go eventually. Did you know that you have other options to heat your home besides a furnace? Heat pumps are an alternative heating method that can also cool your house as well. Many North Carolina homeowners enjoy heat pumps because of their flexibility and energy efficiency.

Your trusted HVAC specialists at A+ Heating & Cooling – Electrical are going to break down how heat pumps and furnaces work along with the pros and cons so you can make the best decision for making your home comfortable all year long.

What Are My Heating and Cooling Options?

When it comes to the comfort of your home, it’s best to weigh all of your options upfront. By learning about each system, you can make the best choice based on your needs. Cost is often a significant factor as well as energy savings. There are many different heating and cooling options to choose from. 

Air Source Heat Pump

Air source heat pumps are commonly referred to as “heat pumps.” Instead of using natural gas to heat cold air during the winter, heat pumps use refrigerants to absorb heat from outside even in cold temperatures. In the summer, heat pumps run in reverse, taking warm air from inside the house and transferring it outside. 

Geothermal Heat Pump

Geothermal heat pumps use the constant temperature of the earth as a heating and cooling source. These units are very energy efficient but require an underground piping system to be buried in your yard. Geothermal heat pumps are the most expensive HVAC system option, but you’ll recoup some of that money back through lower energy bills and tax credits which are available if you purchase an Energy Star-certified unit.


A furnace is the heart of the central heating system of your home. Furnaces use gas to heat the air and then force the air through ductwork in your home. Furnaces include a flue to exhaust gas away from your home to keep your family safe. 

Dual Fuel System

Air source heat pumps are generally not advised for areas that get colder than 30-40℉. This is when they tend to struggle to keep up with heating the air to a warm temperature. Those who live in colder climates who want energy efficiency, as well as cozy winters indoors, might have both an air source heat pump and a furnace. This is called a dual fuel system, but since it rarely gets that cold in North Carolina, a dual fuel system isn’t necessary for most homes.

Air Source Heat Pump Vs. Furnace

The most common of these four heating systems is the electric heat pump and the gas furnace. It’s a tough decision. Both are very efficient at heating your home. When it comes to deciding between a heat pump and a furnace, it’s best to weigh the pros and cons between them. 

Heat Pump Pros

  • Heat pumps can provide heating as well as cooling, making them an all-season appliance.
  • Heat pumps are more energy-efficient.
  • Paired with mini-splits or zoned climate control, they can help with indoor air quality
  • They do not emit greenhouse gasses.

Heat Pump Cons

  • Has a life span of 10-15 years, shorter than a furnace
  • Struggles to heat on very cold days.
  • Requires both indoor and outdoor units.
  • Warms more slowly.

Furnace Pros

  • Heats homes quickly.
  • Longer life span.
  • More reliable in colder climates.
  • Has a lifespan of 15-20 years.

Furnace Cons

  • Only provides heat
  • Can provide uneven heating
  • If gasses are not exhausted properly, it could be a health hazard.
  • Less efficient than a heat pump. 

A+ Heating and Cooling – Electrical Can Answer All of Your Heat Pump Questions

At A+ Heating and Cooling – Electrical, we find that heat pumps are energy-efficient heating and cooling solutions that are ideal for North Carolina homes. Since our winters aren’t as cold as other parts of the country, they typically keep up with our customer’s comfort needs. To learn more about heat pumps, contact us today. Our heating, cooling and indoor air quality technicians will be happy to answer all your questions and give you a free estimate for heat pump installation in your home.

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