Furnace vs Heat Pump? There is much debate about which heating system is best for Toronto residences. If you live in the Greater Toronto Area and plan to replace your home’s heating system, you have likely pondered which is best. 

There are quite a few differences between heat pumps and furnaces. For example, unlike a furnace, heat pumps do not produce heat; instead, they collect heat outdoors. Once the heat energy is collected, heat pumps can distribute warmth. 

Furnaces produce heat via combustion and then distribute it throughout a home. 

Related: Central air vs heat pumps

Types of Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are great for many reasons, primarily since they serve a dual purpose. A heat pump can be your air conditioning system during the summer and your heater during the cold winter months. Certain types of heat pumps use the existing air for heat production. Then there are geothermal systems, which collect heat from the earth and then distribute it throughout a home.  

Air source heat pumps (ASHP) are gaining popularity in the Greater Toronto Area and use both an outdoor and an indoor unit. The units are connected using a refrigerant line, and the system can change modes via a reverse valve. 

Your air source heat pump or ASHP will be in air conditioning mode during summertime. As temperatures get colder, the heat pump can switch modes, pulling in outdoor air and utilizing the heat energy. 

Pressurized refrigerant is the key to how an air source heat pump operates. Both condensation and evaporation cycles facilitate heat transference. 

How to compare heat pumps? In this video, we look at the different heat pump options, we compare them and look at how to select one. We also compare the energy efficiency for air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps and water source heat pumps.

Types of Furnaces

A furnace does not have to collect heat energy because it produces heat on its own. Furnaces require fuel to generate heat. Oil and natural gas are examples of fuels used for furnaces. 

Gas furnaces utilize a burner and heat exchanger, blower fan, and a flue. The flue is the exhaust system that enables a furnace to vent the hot gas. 

When temperatures rise, a gas furnace sends fuel to the burners inside the combustion chamber. After the burners ignite, they provide heat to the heat exchanger. The blower fan then moves the heat around and distributes it throughout your home. The heating process works similarly for electrical heaters but with electrical ignition. 

Your furnace is one of the most valuable appliances in your home. Watch the following video to find out the different types of furnaces, and their advantages and disadvantages.

Heat Pumps vs Furnaces: Which Is Best?

Many homeowners search for a cost-efficient heat source, and they want their system to last for many years. Additionally, consumers are more environmentally conscious in today’s world. Which type of system is best? Both types of heating systems tick each of those boxes at face value. 

Gas furnaces produce dry heat and do not switch gears based on outdoor temperatures. Heat pumps circulate warm, humid air, and they do make adjustments based on outdoor temperatures. Additionally, heat pumps do come with their limitations. For example, freezing temperatures can cause you to need a backup heat source. 

Heat pumps may have pros and cons, but they are incredibly versatile. Furthermore, they double as an air conditioning system during the summer months. There are also ductless models available for older houses without existing ductwork. 

Indoor Air Quality

While highly efficient, furnaces require maintenance to prevent carbon monoxide leaks and stay running optimally. Frequent air filter replacements are one way to ensure your furnace continues to run correctly. However, there are no carbon monoxide concerns regarding heat pumps. Furthermore, heat pumps work with warm, moist air, keeping your skin moisturized. The dry, hot air produced by furnaces can dry out your skin. 

Energy Efficient

Homeowners have both rising energy costs and environmental concerns on their minds. Climate change is no longer subtle but very pronounced and has people rethinking decisions they usually have made habitually. Which heating system is the most energy-efficient?

Air source heat pumps work efficiently, but they use much less energy than furnaces. Heat pumps can transfer three times as much energy as they consume. Gas furnaces are highly efficient, but the air source heat pumps are ENERGY STAR compliant. 

The Installation

There are typically more costs associated with installing an air source heat pump vs a forced air furnace, but quite a few factors come into play. For example:

  • Is natural gas accessible to you? 
  • What types of equipment do you already have in your home? 
  • Are there wiring issues? 
  • What is the condition of your existing ductwork? 

These factors will lay the groundwork for your project and help determine the installation costs. 

Furnaces are also typically more expensive to operate than heat pumps. Installing an air source heat pump might cost more initially, but you start making that money back and then some. 

Life Span

Do air source heat pumps stack up well against furnaces in terms of life expectancy? Remember, heat pumps operate during both the winter and summer seasons. Toronto residents can expect a heat pump to last about 15 years. Furnaces typically last 15-20 years, but they require regular maintenance to meet that expectation. Further, Furnaces only operate in the winter. 

Canadian Rebates

Many homeowners are making investments in energy-efficient heating sources, especially given the Canadian government is providing incentives to make the switch. Look into the Canada Greener Homes Grant, and see what rebates are available to you. For example, a smart thermostat comes with a $50 rebate. 

Government guidelines must be adhered to when attempting to qualify for one of the available grants. 

Furnace Repair Toronto – Heat Pump & Furnace Experts

Furnace Repair Toronto installs furnaces and heat pumps. Ask us which system is best for your home. We are committed to helping Toronto residents transition to a more energy-efficient heating source, and we can answer all your questions, including government grants and rebates.