If you’re considering which heating method is the best fit for your home, in most cases the choice comes down to a gas-fired furnace or a heat pump. While most Indianapolis residences have traditionally utilized affordable gas heating, heat-pump installations across the nation are increasing at a rate of about 3% per year. However, factors influencing the choice of heating method tend to be very localized, factoring in the cost of energy as well as local climate. Here’s a brief compare-and-contrast between these two major heating options:

  • A heat pump is basically a central air conditioner that can also run in reverse during winter, extracting latent heat present in cold outdoor air and moving it indoors to warm the house. In certain specific circumstances, heat pumps may eliminate the need for a separate furnace or other heating method to warm the home.
  • During a typical Indianapolis winter, average low temperatures in December, January, and February dip below 25 degrees. A properly sized gas furnace can efficiently heat a residence at these temperatures and lower.
  • Below 25 degrees, standard residential heat pumps cannot extract sufficient heat energy to warm the house. In that case, the heat pump must activate a supplemental heat source — usually electric-heating elements integrated into the unit.
  • Because heat pumps consolidate both cooling and heating functions into a single unit, maintenance requirementsare simplified because you’ve eliminated the need to service two separate units. Since major heat-pump components are located outdoors, this heating method also takes up less indoor space than a conventional gas furnace.
  • Nationwide, the average seasonal cost of heating with a heat pump is $500. Average winter gas-furnace operating costs are above $800. However, if a heat pump frequently activates supplemental electric heating during low temperatures, its cost advantage dwindles, and monthly heating bills may exceed the cost of using a gas furnace.
  • The upfront purchase price of a standard gas furnace is around $2,000, including installation. The cost of purchasing and installing a heat pump may exceed $5,000.

For more information to make an informed choice on an efficient, effective heating method, talk to the professionals at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing.

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