Heating Your Phoenix-Area Home: Furnaces vs. Heat Pumps

Heating Your Phoenix-Area Home: Furnaces vs. Heat Pumps

Adjusting Thermostat while FreezingUnlike most of the rest of the country, the winters in the Valley of the Sun are pretty mild. However, there are still a few cold days a year that require an efficient home heating system.

And Valley residents have two main choices to keep them warm: gas furnaces and heat pumps.

In this blog, we’ll take a brief look at the benefits of each of these types of home heating systems.

Energy Efficiency

Heat pumps and gas furnaces can both be extremely energy efficient.


Fountain Hills Air sells furnaces with AFUE ratings of up to 95%. That means 95% of the gas consumed by your furnace is turned into heat for your home. By contrast, older furnaces can be as low as 60% AFUE and the current federal minimum is 80%.

Heat Pumps:

Heat pumps, on the other hand, use electricity to heat your home rather than gas. A heat pump’s heating efficiency is expressed as HSPF (Heating Season Performance Factor). The higher number, the more efficient the heat pump.

Cost to Operate

More goes into the price to operate a gas furnace or heat pump than just its energy efficiency. You must also consider the cost of fuel. Here are a few points to remember when comparing heat pumps and furnaces:

  • Heat pumps are typically more energy efficient than gas furnaces (better for the environment).
  • Electricity is more expensive than natural gas, which can negate the efficiency savings.
  • Heat pumps operate in reverse to also cool your home in the summer. Therefore, a heat pump could be more cost-effective as you only need to purchase one product, rather than an efficient air conditioner + furnace combo.

Purchase Price

Prices vary tremendously depending on the efficiency and size of the furnace and heat pump you need. However, heat pumps are typically more expensive to purchase than gas furnaces.

But remember, with this higher price tag, you are getting two products in one (an air conditioner and a heater.) With a gas furnace, you may also need to update your air conditioner.


Whether you should choose an electric air-source heat pump or gas furnace for your East Valley home really depends on your individual circumstance.

However, here are a few general guidelines that can help you make your decision.

Purchase a heat pump if:

  • You already have electric heat. Heat pumps are 30-40% more efficient than other electric heating methods.
  • You are most concerned about the environment. Heat pumps have less of a carbon footprint than furnaces because they are more efficient and do not burn fossil fuel.
  • You are also replacing your air conditioner. With it’s built-in ability to heat and cool your home, a heat pump may be you most cost-effective solution.

Purchase a furnace if:

  • You have gas heat and want to save the most money on your energy bills. With low natural gas costs, a high-efficiency furnace will save you the most money on your utility costs.
  • You need back-up heat. Air-source heat pumps may need back-up heat for days below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • You recently replaced your A/C. If you have an air conditioner that is only a few years old, it may make the most financial sense to keep it and upgrade your gas furnace.

Want a professional to take a look at your home’s needs to determine whether a heat pump or furnace would be better for you? Contact us online today for a free estimate!

Fountain Hills Air has technicians with the experience and knowledge to help you select the perfect heating system for your East Valley home.