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Heat Pump vs Furnace

Which System is Your Best Option – a Heat Pump, or a Furnace?

Comparing Heat Pumps and Furnaces

Deciding between a heat pump and a furnace is an important decision. Their purchase prices are fairly similar. They can both be a great way to increase your home’s efficiency. But which system is the best choice for your home? Let’s look at a few important factors in the heat pump vs. furnace debate.


The newest furnaces on the market are about 98% efficient, meaning that only about 2% of the energy it uses is wasted, while the rest goes to generating and distributing warm air in your home.


Furnaces typically use electricity, natural gas, or oil to generate heat. Burning oil or natural gas obviously comes with some risk. If these furnaces are not ventilated properly, they can disperse carbon dioxide in the home. Carbon dioxide leaks are dangerous enough that most homes now have CO2 detectors in place, but it’s still important to be aware of the importance of proper ventilation.

Heat pumps do not burn anything, but they do depend on an electricity source as well as their liquid-filled earth loops. If the liquid isn’t filled to the correct level, or if the earth loop springs a leak, the system won’t work very efficiently. However, a leaky earth loop is not a safety concern, so the safety point goes to the heat pump.


The South Carolina climate is considered to be humid subtropical. Our winters are fairly mild during the day, with nighttime temperatures dipping to the freezing point. Most residents only use their furnaces at night in the winter, which means that the typical South Carolina furnace isn’t used very frequently… except during unusually cold winters.

A heat pump will also keep those chilly nighttime temperatures at bay. But on the other hand, a heat pump can be used in the summertime to keep the hot and humid conditions out of the house. Because heat pumps are more versatile and can be useful year-round in South Carolina, the suitability point goes to the heat pump.

Comfort Services believes that a heat pump is an excellent choice for most families in the Columbia, SC area. For efficient, versatile heating and cooling, a heat pump can’t be beat. But each home and each family is unique. Many families choose to keep a furnace as backup for the heat pump, which is a smart idea. If you have more questions about choosing between a heat pump and furnace for your home, Comfort Services will be glad to help you make the decision – just call us anytime at 803.772.4490.

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