Space Heating: Differentiating Heat Pumps, Boilers, and Furnaces

a man fixing the furnaceSpace heating is the key to comfort in the Beehive State. It’s imperative to have a functional and energy-efficient equipment to fight the cold without paying for ridiculously high utility bills every month. If your old unit is starting to act up, don’t delay its retirement to update your HVAC system ahead of winter.

Then again, as All Hours Plumbing and HVAC reminds, don’t just get any heating unit because each of them is unique on many levels. Determine whether a heat pump, boiler, or furnace replacement makes the most sense to your home to spend your home improvement dollars wisely. For starters, here’s how each equipment work:

Heat Pumps

Instead of producing heat, heat pumps harness ambient energy from the air, water, or even the ground. The fact that they maximize the existing heat in natural sources makes them highly energy-efficient and environmentally smart. Also, they can work in reverse. During hot months, heat pumps can also pull the heat from indoor air and transfer it outside — much like how air conditioners do.

The problem with them is that their production is limited to the amount of heat available. Without any backup burners, they might not satisfy your heating needs when it’s frigid.


These heating units run on different types of fuel to produce steam and hot water. They use radiators as a distribution system throughout the house. Without circulating indoor air, they don’t spread pollutants and allergens. Plus, they work more quietly than other heating systems.

Their drawback, however, is their price. They’re often the least economical option on the market. If your house gets too cold, frozen pipes can paralyze their operation.

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Like boilers, furnaces run on all-too-common types of fuel as well. They produce hot air and distribute it to different zones in your home through the duct work. In other words, frozen pipes are a non-concern to them. Most importantly, they’re the most affordable.

The downside is they need regular maintenance to help keep indoor air quality good. Routine air filter replacement is necessary to avoid re-circulating dust and animal dander.

No heating equipment applies to all situation. It’s best to speak with a seasoned HVAC and plumbing expert to figure out the most suitable unit for your heating needs.

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