Heat pump and furnace are two different types of devices. The term heat pump may give the impression that it is used to generate heat but it is used mainly to transfer or circulate ambient heat. Such a device can be used for both cooling and heating. That is not the case with the furnace which burns fuel to generate heat and is used only for heating. A variety of fuel sources like LPG, coal, natural gas, wood or fuel oil are used to operate the furnace. Common furnace devices and machines include boilers, ovens and kilns while the heat pumps include devices that use some type of refrigerant. Following are some other differential factors.
The heat pump simply distributes already available ambient heat so it is 30-40 percent more energy efficient compared to gas furnaces that burn fuel to generate heat. A heat pump consumes less energy because it does not have to generate new heat. At the same time, in areas where the temperature varies greatly between summer and winter months, the heat pump is not that efficient. If a unit with appropriate size is selected then a heat pump can be efficient. Manufacturers are now making energy efficient furnaces.
The pilot light of the furnace poses some risk. It should not be operated near combustible items. It burns fuel and releases carbon monoxide. There is no such risk with electric heat pumps.
If you need both heating and cooling then you have to buy two different devices – one device to heat and another to cool. The heat pump can be used for both heating and cooling purposes. A heat pump is better for places that see moderate climate while the furnace is better for places that are in cold climate area.
You can manage heating and cooling needs with only one heat pump device. If you buy furnace for heating then you have to buy another device for cooling. Consider prices of electricity and gas in your area to decide which type of device is better for you.
If you need guidance on deciding what type of device is best for your purpose then take help of an expert in this field. Call for all your heating and furnace needs.