Which Is a Better Heating Option? A Furnace, Heat Pump or Both?

The Tallahassee region is known for its mild winters, but that doesn't mean we don't have cold snaps. While most homeowners opt to heat their homes with gas furnaces, we are blessed with temperate winters that allow us the added option of heating efficiently with a heat pump. Some homeowners choose a hybrid heat arrangement that combines both types of technology. Read on to understand which might be a better heating option: a furnace, heat pump or both!thinkstock-177413055

Gas Furnace

Most Tallahassee area homes have forced air furnaces, where air is drawn in from a supply duct and passed over a heat exchanger where combustion of fuel and air takes place. Once the air is heated, it's distributed into the home through vents.

Generally these furnaces share an air handler with the air conditioning system. Gas furnaces are rated by annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE). While you want an efficient furnace, the most efficient are more expensive and not always the most cost effective choice for homeowners who experience mild winters. Your choice of a gas furnace will also be partially determined by whether or not gas lines are available.

Air Source Heat Pumps

In winter, air source heat pumps move heat indoors after absorbing it in refrigerant from the outside air, where the heat is then distributed by an air handler. In summer, heat pumps move heat out of the home to be exhausted outdoors.

Because they don't burn fuel, air source heat pumps are considered an efficient option all year long. Outdoor heat may still be absorbed even when temperatures are chilly, but if temperatures fall below freezing, heat pumps may not effectively heat the home without an auxiliary power source. That's why heat pumps are often recommended for warmer climates.


Some heat pumps may be installed with gas furnaces, which turn on when the heat pump can no longer do an efficient job of heating the home. These are known as dual fuel or hybrid systems.

To discuss the better heating option for your Florida home, be it a furnace, heat pump or a combination, contact Air Control Heating and Cooling. We serve Tallahassee, Quincy and Havana.