When you’re exploring heating-system options for your Indianapolis home, furnaces and heat pumps are the most common options. Both kinds of heating systems can heat your home so you stay warm all winter long. However, they don’t work the same way. The following can help you understand the difference between a furnace and a heat pump.

Energy Source

Furnaces and heat pumps use different sources of energy to heat homes. Many furnaces rely on oil or natural gas to produce heat. Some use electricity to generate heat. A heat pump uses electricity to draw heat from outside and bring it indoors.

How They Work

Furnaces burn natural gas or oil, or they use electrical coils to generate heat. This heat then blows through vents in your home to warm it up. Heat pumps don’t actually produce heat. Instead, they move heat from outside to your home interior. That heat comes through your vents and warms up your home.

Energy Efficiency

Heat pumps are generally considered more energy-efficient than furnaces. They also don’t depend on fossil fuels as furnaces do. However, keep in mind that heat pumps can’t always use outdoor air to heat up homes. If it’s too cold out, a backup electrical strip kicks in to keep your home warm. This can end up causing you to use more energy than usual.


Furnaces are only able to heat your home. Heat pumps are able to heat and cool your home. During the summer, they pull warm air from inside your home and transfer it outside. This helps cool your home off. When you have a furnace, you need a separate central air-conditioning system for cooling.


Furnaces tend to be less expensive to install, but they might have higher costs over the years due to maintenance and repairs. Heat pumps tend to cost more to install. However, they usually cost less in the long run.

If you need more information on heat pumps and furnaces, please contact Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing. Our HVAC experts can help you choose the best heating system for your Indianapolis home.