If you live in a climate where it gets cold during the fall and winter months, then there's a good chance your home is already equipped with either a heat pump, a furnace, or both. Often times, however, heat pumps are confused for central AC units and homeowners don't understand how they work. By having a better understanding of what a heat pump is and how these HVAC system work, you can make an informed decision regarding whether one is right for your home.

What is a Furnace?

A furnace is an HVAC components that is designed to heat your home, usually through the use of electricity or gas. Most homes in climates that see snow and freezing temperatures during the winter have a furnace. These components are found inside the home, usually in a utility closet or basement near a home's water tank and other utilities. 

What is a Heat Pump?

A heat pump, on the other hand, looks similar to a central AC unit and is kept outside of the home. Unlike a furnace, a heat pump does not actually produce heat, but it can help to keep your home a more comfortable temperature year-round by essentially cycling and pumping air to and from your home. During the cool winter months, a heat pump can be effective in removing cold air from your home, whereas the same HVAC component can be used to pump hot air from your home during the sweltering summer months.

Which is Right for You?

A heat pump can help to keep your home more comfortable throughout the year while taking some of the burden off your AC and furnace. Generally, you should not rely on a heat pump to keep your home a safe temperature during the winter months, so it isn't a standalone unit for those who live in the north. Still, if your home has an existing furnace and no heat pump, you might want to consider replacing your central AC unit with a heat pump to help balance out your energy bills and keep your home more comfortable throughout the entire year.

Overall, heat pumps, AC units, and furnaces operate in very different ways. However, most homes could benefit from the installation of a heat pump. If your home doesn't currently have one, now is a good time to consider obtaining an installation quote from a trusted HVAC company in your area.