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Which Is Cheaper A Heat Pump Or A Furnace With Air Condition Unit?

If you’re wondering which is cheaper, a heat pump or a furnace with an air condition unit, you’ve come to the right place. Making the right decision between a heat pump and a furnace with an hoair conditioner is essential for maintaining year-round comfort in your house. Your comfort and bank account will thank you if you make the right choices. This article will explore the age-old argument over which option is more affordable: a heat pump or a furnace with air conditioning.

It’s not only a matter of keeping warm in the winter and cool in the summer; the continuous expenditures of cooling and heating your home are another consideration. Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of each option can help you make a well-informed choice. During the winter, a heat pump moves heat from the outside air into your home; during the summer, it removes heat. On the other hand, a furnace with an air conditioner relies on burning fuel or electricity to produce heat and cool air.

You must consider elements like installation costs, energy efficiency, maintenance, and the local climate to decide which is more cost-effective. What works best for your neighbor might not be your best option because every home is different. So, if you’re prepared to learn more about house heating and cooling and want to discover which system can help you save some of your hard-earned money, keep reading. To assist you in making a choice that is comfortable for your house and your budget, I’ll break down the expenses and advantages.

Mechanism Of A Heat Pump In Regulating The Temperature In Your House

Which Is Cheaper A Heat Pump Or A Furnace With Air Condition Unit?

A heat pump uses a mechanism that involves the movement of heat between the indoor and outside surroundings to control the temperature in your home.

An element of a heat pump system called a heat pump air handler delivers heated or cooled air throughout your house. It manages the air circulation in both the heating and cooling modes, playing a critical part in the overall operation of a heat pump. The mechanism is broken down in the following manner:

  • Absorption of heat (heating mode): The heat pump draws heat from the outside air or the ground when it is in heating mode. This heat is absorbed by a refrigerant that circulates through an outside coil and is normally a specific fluid with a low boiling point.
  • Compression:  An internal compressor of the heat pump compresses the refrigerant, which is now transporting heat that has been absorbed. When compressed, the refrigerant becomes a high-pressure, high-temperature gas, increasing its temperature.
  • Heat release (indoor coil):  The compressed refrigerant is fed into a heat exchanger or indoor coil. The refrigerant releases heat to warm the indoor air flowing over this coil.
  • Air distribution: Through a network of ducts, the now-heated air is dispersed throughout the residence, or warm air is blown directly into the living areas.
  • Heat reversal (cooling mode): The heat pump can work in reverse when cooling. The cycle is reversed to discharge the heat outside and cool the interior area after the refrigerant removes heat from the air within.
  • Thermostat management: A thermostat gauges the temperature indoors and manages the entire operation. The heat pump modifies its operation to maintain the desired temperature when it deviates from the set point.

A heat pump is a flexible and energy-efficient alternative for temperature adjustment all year round thanks to the heat pump air handler, which enables it to efficiently supply heating and cooling in the heat pump for your home.

Mechanism Of A Furnace With An Air Condition Unit In Regulating The Temperature In Your House

The mechanism of a furnace and an air conditioner working together to control the temperature in your home is a dynamic process that incorporates both heating and cooling components.

Furnace Heating Mode

  • Your home’s heating system consists of a furnace powered by oil, gas, or electricity. 
  • The thermostat activates the furnace when it senses a need for heat.
  • Fuel is used in gas or oil furnaces to create heat. Electric coils produce heat in electric furnaces.
  • The heated air is dispersed throughout the rooms by the furnace’s blower fan.

Air conditioner cooling mode

  • The thermostat instructs the air conditioner to begin cooling when necessary.
  • The compressor, condenser, expansion valve, and evaporator coil are all components of the air conditioner’s refrigeration cycle.
  • The compressor circulates and pressurizes the system’s refrigerant. The refrigerant evaporates in the evaporator coil, absorbing heat from the interior air.
  • The heated refrigerant releases heat into the ambient air by moving to the external condenser coil.
  • When the appropriate temperature is obtained, the cycle is repeated with the refrigerant that has been cooled returning to the interior unit.

Comprehensive Control

  • The thermostat is the central control device and maintains the desired temperature by signaling either the furnace or the air conditioner, depending on the temperature difference.
  • Both systems share a blower fan that delivers conditioned air throughout the house.

Round-Year Operation

  • The integrated system offers year-round comfort by enabling smooth switching between the heating and cooling modes.
  • The heat pump feature of the air conditioner may be turned on by the thermostat during milder seasons, drawing heat from the outside air and transferring it indoors.

In conclusion, the furnace and air conditioner work together to produce heat or cool the air depending on the signals sent by the thermostat. Throughout the many seasons, this integrated system maintains a comfortable indoor environment.

Heat Pump Vs. A Furnace With An Air Condition Unit Expenditure 

When deciding which is cheaper, a heat pump or furnace with an air condition unit for your home’s ongoing cooling and heating needs, there are several variables to consider, including energy efficiency, fuel sources, and maintenance expenses. The main variations are broken out as follows:

FactorsHeat PumpFurnace With Air Condition Unit
Energy efficiencyHeat pumps generally use less energy, especially in climates with moderate temperatures. They are efficient for heating and cooling because they transfer heat rather than create it.The efficiency relies on the furnace and air conditioner models. Older models could use more energy, particularly in very hot climates.
Fuel sourcesMainly fueled by electricity. They can be more effective since they don’t create heat but transport existing heat.Electricity, gas, or oil can power a furnace with an air conditioner. The fuel source affects both cost and efficiency.
Round-year operationThis appliance is functional all year round because it offers heating and cooling in one unit. Requires separate heating and cooling units. The furnace is used in winter, and the air conditioner is used in summer.
Installation costAs it is for dual use, a heat pump usually costs more upfront.Installation requires two different units, which could reduce initial expenditures.
MaintenanceNeeds routine maintenance, which includes monitoring the refrigerant levels and ensuring the airflow is appropriate.The furnace and the air conditioner need routine maintenance, with the furnace’s burners, heat exchangers, etc., needing special attention.
Climate suitabilityIn temperate conditions, the heat pump is more efficient. It could be necessary to use additional heating in particularly cold climates.Versatile and appropriate for various regions, with the ability to handle extremely cold temperatures.

The decision between a heat pump and a furnace with an air conditioner ultimately comes down to your individual heating and cooling requirements, climate, and energy expenses. Although a heat pump may cost more upfront, its energy efficiency may save money over time. The furnace and air conditioner arrangement may be more flexible and suitable for some climates and tastes.

Advantages And Disadvantages

Whether it is a heat pump or a furnace with an air conditioning unit, both have their benefits and drawbacks. You must know what factors meet your needs to select a suitable heat source for your house. Hence, the chart below is for your better understanding to make a better choice.

Heat Pump

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of a heat pump: 

                      Advantages                   Disadvantages
Heat pumps transfer heat instead of producing it and are typically more energy-efficient than conventional heating systems.Compared to conventional heating systems, heat pumps frequently have higher upfront costs.
Heat pumps maintain a predetermined point rather than turning on and off, resulting in a more constant indoor temperature.Routine maintenance is necessary for optimum functioning, and repairs can be expensive when problems occur.
They don’t use combustion, which lowers the chance of carbon monoxide leaks and improves interior air quality.Heat pumps may perform less effectively in severely cold weather, necessitating additional heating.
Electrically operated heat pumps emit fewer greenhouse gasses than systems that rely on burning fossil fuels.Heat pumps run on electricity; thus, if that electricity comes from a non-renewable source, that could affect the overall environmental advantages.
Heat pumps can last longer than conventional heating systems when maintained properly.Heat pumps might not work as well in particularly hot or cold areas, in which case additional heating or cooling would be needed.
Heat pumps may be more economical to run than conventional heating and cooling systems in areas with moderate weather.Some heat pumps might make noise while operating, which may be a factor for sensitive locations.

Furnace With An Air Condition Unit

Now, let’s look at the pros and cons of a furnace with an air conditioning unit: 

                        Advantages                    Disadvantages
A furnace and air conditioner offer year-round comfort by providing warmth in the winter and cooling in the summer.A single-unit solution like a heat pump can be more affordable in the long run than installing a furnace and an air conditioner.
Furnaces can be quite effective in extremely frigid climates where extensive heating is necessary.Requires room for the furnace and the air conditioner, which could be an issue in homes with limited space.
Due to the separation of the furnace and air conditioner, it is possible to repair or replace each separately at a lower cost.Requires professional installation, which could take longer due to the complexity of the two different systems.
Furnaces offer flexibility based on availability and cost because they may run on various fuels like gas, oil, or electricity.Compared to electric-powered heating options, the carbon footprint of a furnace may be larger depending on the fuel source.
During hot weather, air conditioners are typically excellent in quickly cooling indoor rooms.The furnace and the air conditioner need routine maintenance, necessitating continuous maintenance efforts.

Factors To Consider 

When deciding between a heat pump and a furnace with an air conditioner, there are several important aspects to consider. Here is a breakdown to help you make your choice:

  • Climate: Heat pumps are effective in temperate climates and less effective in locations with extreme cold. In comparison, a furnace with an air condition unit is versatile and appropriate for different conditions.
  • Energy efficiency: Heat pumps are typically more energy-efficient for heating and cooling because heat transfer and furnaces with AC units’ efficiency depend on fuel type and system layout.
  • Costs of installation: Heat pumps can save long-term energy at the expense of a potentially greater initial cost. In contrast, separate installation expenses apply to the furnace and air conditioner’s respective parts.
  • Operating expenses: Consider continuous energy expenses based on the fuel type (electricity, gas, or oil) and regional rates.
  • Requirements for maintenance: Both systems require regular maintenance. Think about the ongoing maintenance expenses and frequency.
  • Replacement and lifespan: Consider each system’s lifespan and prospective replacement expenses.
  • Technology developments: Check whether recent models offer more cost and energy savings. 
  • Available rewards: Look into local rebates, tax credits, or other incentives for installing energy-efficient technologies.
  • Individual preferences: Consider your personal comfort preferences, system control options, and any unique needs your home may have.
  • Rates for local utilities: To determine the continuous operating costs, compare the electricity, gas, and oil prices in your region.

Different Types of Heat Pumps And Furnaces With Air Condition Units 

Let’s explore different types of heat pumps and furnaces with air conditioner units, each accompanied by an example:

Heat Pump With Air Source

Which Is Cheaper A Heat Pump Or A Furnace With Air Condition Unit?

An air-source heat pump moves heat from the outside air into or out of your house.

As an illustration, the Mitsubishi Electric FH Series is a well-known air-source heat pump renowned for its effectiveness and efficiency.

Geothermal Heat Pump

Which Is Cheaper A Heat Pump Or A Furnace With Air Condition Unit?

Geothermal heat pumps use the consistent temperature of the Earth’s interior to produce effective heating and cooling. As an illustration, the WaterFurnace 5 Series is a well-liked geothermal heat pump system renowned for its environmentally beneficial functioning.

Ductless Mini-Split Heat Pump

Which Is Cheaper A Heat Pump Or A Furnace With Air Condition Unit?

Ductless mini-split heat pumps provide heating and cooling without requiring ductwork, making them flexible for various home setups. The Daikin Quaternity Series is a ductless mini-split heat pump offering precise temperature control and energy efficiency.

Portable Heat Pump

Portable heat pumps provide portable heating and cooling and may be moved from room to room. As an illustration, the Black+Decker BPACT12HWT is a portable heat pump with an integrated air conditioner appropriate for smaller settings.

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Gas Furnace With An Air Conditioner

Which Is Cheaper A Heat Pump Or A Furnace With Air Condition Unit?

In addition to providing year-round climate control when used with an air conditioner, gas furnaces produce heat by burning natural gas. As an illustration, the Bryant 987M Evolution® System combines a Bryant air conditioner with a high-efficiency gas furnace to provide the best possible heating and cooling results.

Electric Furnace with AC Heater Combo

Which Is Cheaper A Heat Pump Or A Furnace With Air Condition Unit?

A complete heating and cooling system is produced when an air conditioner is added to an electric furnace. The Goodman GMVM97 Distinctions Series is an electric furnace with an integrated air conditioner that provides a flexible HVAC solution.

Reliable Sources To Explore The Options

It’s essential to rely on trustworthy sources when looking into heating and cooling solutions for your home to make wise choices. Here are a few reliable sources:

Energy Star 

The Energy Star program provides information on energy-efficient products like heating and cooling systems. Their website provides articles, reviews of products, and advice on how to maximize energy savings.

The ASHRAE website

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) offers HVAC system standards, recommendations, and research. Their resources could be useful for gaining technical knowledge.

Online HVAC Direct Store

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning items are available through HVAC Direct, an online retailer. On their website, you may look through and buy HVAC systems, parts, and accessories.

HVAC.com

HVAC.com is a website that provides guidelines, articles, and professional guidance on heating and cooling systems. You can go through product reviews and discover data to guide your decision-making.

Heating and Cooling Guide from the Department of Energy (DOE)

The Energy Saver webpage from the DOE provides a thorough reference on heating and cooling. It offers information on different systems, energy-saving advice, and suggestions for selecting the best HVAC equipment.

When choosing heating and cooling systems for your house, you may learn a lot of useful information by looking at various sources, including direct access to HVAC items through HVAC Direct.

Conclusion

The voyage through heat pumps, furnaces, and air conditioners exposes an array of options in the world of home climate management. There are several possibilities, whether you like a geothermal heat pump’s efficiency, mini-split portability, or a gas furnace with a Bryant air conditioner’s dependability. HVAC Direct establishes itself as a practical online hub that provides easy access to several solutions. 

While Consumer Reports and ASHRAE provide direction and industry standards, ENERGY STAR and DOE offer insights into energy efficiency. Consider your environment, interests, and budget as you search for the ideal heating and cooling system to ensure a cozy and affordable home investment.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Which is cheaper, a heat pump or a furnace with an air condition unit?

The cost-effectiveness of a heat pump vs. a furnace with an air conditioner depends on several variables. In moderate climates, heat pumps, renowned for their energy-efficient functioning, are frequently more affordable. They serve as heaters and air conditioners, possibly lowering long-term energy costs. 

On the other hand, a furnace with an air conditioner can be more appropriate in colder areas because it provides efficient warmth throughout the winter. Which system best fits your budget and needs for home comfort will depend on the upfront costs, regional climate, and energy prices. It’s a complex choice influenced by your unique situation and tastes.

How can I be sure the HVAC system I select complies with ENERGY STAR energy efficiency standards?

First, search for the product’s ENERGY STAR logo to ensure your HVAC system complies with ENERGY STAR requirements. This shows that the system complies with stringent energy efficiency requirements. Go to the official ENERGY STAR website for a comprehensive list of approved items. 

Ensure the system’s Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) and Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) ratings are equal to or higher than those recommended by ENERGY STAR. Use the ENERGY STAR HVAC Guide for insightful advice and ideas. To make an informed decision and ensure your pick is energy-efficient and ecologically friendly, speak with HVAC professionals and research customer feedback.

How to confirm that the HVAC system aligns with ENERGY STAR standards for energy efficiency?

Look for the ENERGY STAR mark on products, which denotes compliance with stringent energy efficiency norms, to ensure your HVAC system complies with ENERGY STAR requirements. 

See the ENERGY STAR website for approved goods, including heating and cooling systems. Consult the ratings and specifications the manufacturer provides before purchasing to ensure compliance. Consult with specialists in energy-efficient solutions or recognized HVAC dealers for additional assistance. 

Maximizing the energy efficiency of your chosen HVAC system also depends on proper installation and routine maintenance. Always remember that making informed judgments results in a more economical and energy-efficient home climate solution.

Compared to an electric furnace with an integrated AC heater combo, how efficient is a gas furnace with an air conditioner?

Energy sources are the focus of the efficiency comparison between an electric furnace with an integrated AC heater and a gas furnace with an air conditioner. Despite frequently being more energy-efficient than electric furnaces, gas furnaces may have greater operating expenses due to shifting gas prices. However, although possibly slightly less efficient, electric furnaces with built-in AC heater combinations can deliver reliable performance. 

The decision is based on regional utility rates, environmental concerns, and the harmony between up-front investment and ongoing operating costs. It’s a complex choice driven by personal priorities and external factors.

Author

  • Alanna Greene

    Alanna is an avid traveler who lives in Michigan. In addition to writing for Temperature Master, he also sells crafts on Etsy and takes long walks through the forests near her home.

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