Heat Pumps vs. Furnaces: Which System is Best for Denver Metro Area Homeowners?

Heat Pumps vs. Furnaces: Which System is Best for Denver Metro Area Homeowners?For Denver residents, the right heating system has a great impact on the quality of life in your home. The most common choices for heating in the Denver area are the gas furnace and the heat pump system. Each has its pros and cons, so let’s examine the strengths and weaknesses of each so you can decide which one is right for you.

Gas Furnaces

A gas furnace is powered by natural gas or propane. As the fuel burns, it heats up cold air which is then blown throughout the home via a series of ducts. When the hot air is pushed into the room, it forces the cold air that is already there into return ducts which carry the cold air back to the furnace for heating, completing the cycle.

Heat Pumps

A heat pump does not heat the air, it transfers heat using the law of thermodynamics. Even when the temperature is cold outside, a heat pump can still warm up the ambient temperature of a room by absorbing and then transferring heat to colder areas. During summer, the transfer process is reversed and heat pumps help cool the temperature of a room, sending the heat outside rather than pulling it inside.

Heat Pumps vs. Gas Furnaces

It can be difficult to decide which one is right for you. Heat pumps and gas furnaces have certain advantages and disadvantages that must be weighed before installation.

1. Ambient Temperature

If you get cold easily, then a furnace may be a better choice for you. A heat pump certainly keeps a home at a comfortable temperature but it may struggle to keep up during the coldest parts of the winter. Many heat pumps have a backup heating source for this very reason, but those can use extra energy and your utility bills may be higher if the temperature drops too low.

2. Energy Consumption

Right now, gas prices are lower in Denver than in other places, so gas furnaces are popular and energy-efficient HVAC systems even more so. As we mentioned before, a heat pump may require a backup energy system during the coldest temperatures, causing you to use more electricity with a heat pump.

3. Cost of Operation

Cost is the primary objection to heat pumps. All-electric heat pumps are usually more expensive than gas furnaces but as gas prices rise, the costs may soon be comparable. The other thing to consider is that a heat pump doubles as an air conditioner and the cost savings during the summer months may compensate for the higher bills during the winter.

4. Home Layout

The layout of your home can determine whether or not a gas furnace or heat pump is right for you. An HVAC professional can point out your options and any barriers there might be for installation. If you have zone heating in your home, that might also factor into whether or not a heat pump or furnace is the better choice.

5. Long-Term Needs

On average, a gas furnace has a longer lifespan than a heat pump, but that’s because heat pumps do twice the work. Remember that a heat pump serves as an air conditioner and therefore runs year around. Consider whether or not you want two units or one for your heating and cooling needs.

Heat Pumps vs Gas Furnaces: The Final Verdict

When it comes to the right heating system for Denver homes, both gas furnaces and heat pumps are great options. Gas furnaces are generally less expensive but they only do half the work of the heat pump. Your utility bills will probably be lower with the heat pump except for the coldest months of the year. Consider your needs and consult with a professional to determine which one will work best for your needs and setup.

Contact IAQ today to schedule your annual HVAC maintenance appointment. We serve homes in Highlands Ranch and throughout the Denver Metro Area.