Heating Pumps and Furnaces: The Difference Explained

The choice between a heat pump and a furnace is an important one and can affect homeowners in various situations:

  • Replacements—You may wonder if replacing your furnace with a heat pump, or vice-versa, is a viable option.
  • New Installs: In new construction applications, the choice between heat pumps and furnaces involves many factors.
  • Prospective Buyers—Often the choice between homes can heavily involve a debate between the two heating sources.

The Key Differences

Furnaces and Heat Pumps differ in how they produce heat. Gas Furnaces produce heat through combustion, whereas most heat pumps do not rely on combustion, instead drawing heat from one of two sources:

  • Ground-Source heat pumps draw the latent heat energy from the ground and redistribute it inside your home in the cooler months. In the warmer season, they remove heat from your home and draw on the naturally cooler temps in the ground to keep your home cool.
  • Air-Source heat pumps operate on a similar principle, drawing their heat instead from the air outside your home.

As heat pumps generally avoid any reliance on internal combustion, they do not suffer from many of the common repair problems that a gas furnace might develop over its life. However, gas furnaces are generally more frequently used in colder climates (far north of Charlotte), as they are considered more effective sources for quick and consistent heat. Which option is best? In the Charlotte area, it comes down to choice informed by necessity. Many factors play a role in this important decision, and each situation is unique.


When you’ve decided to replace your heating and cooling system, you may want to consider heat pump technology. In this case, rely on the installation experts at One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning to assess your home’s viability for heat pump technology. We will examine and evaluate your home’s structural properties and insulation quality. If you’re thinking about replacing your gas furnace and air conditioner with a heat pump, make sure to keep track of your electric and gas expenditures. This information may prove significant when weighing the benefits of a switch.

New Installation

For those building their own homes, it’s best to decide early between these two approaches. Calling in the certified installation technicians at One Hour Heating and Air Conditioning will place you in the most advantageous position possible. We can take you step-by-step through the process and even recommend any alterations, before it’s too late, which may maximize your preferred HVAC system. Chances are, if you’re building a relatively short-term domicile, a gas furnace may seem to be the most economical option. If you’re building your long-term residence, a heat pump will provide the most economical source of heating and cooling energy. We will guide you through the choice between geothermal and air-source functionality, as well as take you through the unique rebates available to new heat pump users.

Prospective Buyers

You’ve narrowed it down to two choices. One has a geothermal, the other a gas furnace. In addition to your home inspector, call us at (704) 703-4220. We’ll send a certified technician to ensure that your prospective home is properly constructed and rated for its geothermal heat pump, providing you with the confidence you need and deserve during this difficult and important decision. Contact us at any time during the buying process to experience our unmatched commitment to customer service.

The debate between gas furnaces and heat pumps will continue, but at One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® of Charlotte we know it’s a choice that each homeowner is entitled to make. We will provide you with the honest, straightforward service we’re known for throughout this process. Call us today at (704) 703-4220, or contact us online to schedule an appointment or to learn more about our heat pump services.