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Heat Pumps vs. Furnaces

January 20, 2023

By Air-Master Heating & Air Conditioning

What is your favorite winter activity to do in Bedford? Some prefer to find warmth in a local coffee shop in Bedford, while others embrace the snow every chance they get. Either way, your heating system is ready to warm you up when you return home. Whether your home utilizes a heat pump or furnace, both are reliable options to keep your home cozy all season. However, both systems have their advantages and drawbacks. In this blog, we discuss heat pumps and furnaces and the benefits to both.

What Is A Heat Pump?

Heat pumps are an efficient and versatile heating option for your home due to its heat process and ability to both heat and cool. Heat pumps simply transfer heat from one location to another depending on the seasonal setting. In the winter, heat pumps draw heat energy from the air, ground, or water and transfer it inside your home. The process is reversed in the summer seasons, because heat pumps collect heat from inside your home and direct it outdoors.

Types Of Heat Pumps

There are three main types of heat pumps: air source, water source, and ground source. All heat pumps have similar operation processes and components. The difference in types of heat pumps is the source where the unit draws heat energy.

Air Source Heat Pumps

Even when it is cold outside, air source heat pumps draw heat energy from the air and use it to warm your home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, air source heat pumps can deliver three times more heat energy than the electrical energy it consumes. Air source heat pumps are the most common type due to the easy installation process and energy savings the unit can provide.

Water Source Heat Pumps

Water source heat pumps are an efficient option if your home has access to a nearby lake or pond. The system is connected by a water loop and rejects heat in the summer months and absorbs heat in the winter. Water source heat pumps are typically located tucked away in a closet or above the ceiling.

Ground Source Heat Pumps

Ground source heat pumps take advantage of heat found within the ground and transfers it indoors for your convenience. Similar to water source, ground source heat pumps use a ground loop, which is typically buried underground or underwater, to transfer heat energy. Ground source heat pumps are a reliable option, because ground temperature is warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.

Main Components Of A Heat Pump

While the components of each type of heat pump can differ depending on its process, the main components that make up a heat pump system are:

  • Outdoor Unit
  • Indoor Unit
  • Refrigerant
  • Compressor
  • Reversing Valve
  • Expansion Valve

Benefits Of Heat Pumps

Heat pumps can provide multiple benefits for you and your home. Below are 4 advantages to installing a heat pump in Bedford or surrounding areas.

  • Energy Efficient
  • Two-In-One System
  • Environmentally Friendly
  • Less Maintenance

What Is A Furnace?

Furnaces operate by generating heat and distributing it through the ducts in your home. Furnaces are the most commonly used heating system in the U.S. due to the effective and reliable heating the unit can provide. Additionally, furnaces are one of the oldest types of heating systems and continue to be modified with efficiency improvements.

Furnace operation processes depend on the type of furnace system. However, the unit uses similar components and processes to generate heat into your home. To simplify a general process, the unit burns gas, oil, propane, or electricity to produce heat in the furnace’s burner. The heat then passes through the heat exchanger, making it hot. The final step of the process is the blower blowing the warm air into the ductwork to be distributed throughout your home. Another important furnace component is the thermostat, which acts as the brain of the operation process.

Types Of Furnaces

There are four main types of furnaces: natural gas, oil, electric, and propane. Each type uses a different source to generate heat effectively.

Natural Gas

Gas furnaces are the most common type of furnace, because most homeowners have access to a municipal gas line. Natural gas is ignited in the furnace’s burner to produce heat for every corner of your home. Gas furnaces typically last about 15-20 years if well cared for.


Oil furnaces burn hotter and can provide more heat while using less energy compared to a gas furnace. However, oil is typically more expensive than gas. Additionally, oil furnaces can last 20-25 years if in good condition.


Rather than burning fossil fuels, electric furnaces run strictly on electricity. Electric furnaces can be an environmentally friendly heating option and last up to 30 years. While electric furnaces can benefit the environment, the unit can also cost more to operate.


Propane furnaces work similarly to natural gas furnaces, but a cleaner burning fossil fuel. Propane is typically more expensive than natural gas, but can serve as a more efficient heating option. This furnace type usually lasts between 15-20 years.

Benefits Of Furnaces

Furnaces can provide many benefits for your home in Bedford, especially when winter temperatures get low. Below are 4 advantages to installing a furnace.

  • Fast Heating
  • Reliable
  • Improve Air Quality
  • Long Lifespan

With proper heating maintenance, heat pumps and furnaces can keep your home warm and cozy all winter long. We hope this article helps consider the benefits and operation processes when deciding on a reliable and efficient heating unit. For heat pump and furnace installation in Bedford and surrounding areas, give us a call!

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