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Heat Pump vs Gas Furnace: Which is Better for My Southern California Home

By Your Advisor 11/24/20 7:33 AM Time to read:

If you’re in the market for a new home heating system, you may be stuck deciding between a heat pump or a furnace…

So, which is better for southern California homeowners?

Well, the answer isn’t that simple –as there are pros and cons for each. 

When deciding between a heat pump or a furnace, here are the factors you should take into consideration: 

  • Installation costs
  • Energy efficiency
  • Operational costs 
  • Lifespan

We’ll also discuss the benefits of a “dual-fuel” system so that you’re prepared to make the best decision for your comfort and budget when it comes to a heating system.

*Note: Before we discuss, make sure that your area can provide gas service. If it can’t, then you only have one choice: a heat pump (which runs on electricity).

Let’s dive into these factors in detail so you can make the right decision for you and your home. (We’ll also go over another heating system option: a duel-fuel system, but more on that below…)

Want to consult with a Southern Californian HVAC pro to help you make a decision? We’re happy to help! We give honest, helpful answers with the goal of finding the best heating system for your home.

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Heat Pump vs. Gas Furnace

Installation Costs


When it comes to the total installation cost of either a heat pump or a furnace, a handful of factors come into play, such as system size, efficiency levels, and labor costs. 

Typically, installing a furnace or air conditioning system is more expensive than installing a heat pump. And if you need to install a new gas line to accommodate a furnace, the installation cost can be even higher (an increase of anywhere from $300 to $1,000). 

*Note: In order for us to provide you with an exact price of installation for heat pump and furnaces, it’s best to  request a free estimate  or give us a call at 909-792-2222.

Energy Efficiency


Heat pumps use electricity to move cold air out and warm air in, while the majority of furnaces require the use of natural gas to keep your home comfortable during cold California winters.  Generally gas is cheaper than electricity in Southern California, therefore a gas powered furnace typically costs less to operate than a heat pump which is powered by electricity.

The more energy-efficient your HVAC system is, the less electricity and gas it will use. In turn, you can end up paying less on your utility bill for a more energy-efficient HVAC system. Which leads us to our next factor...

Operational Costs


To calculate the “operational costs” of each system, you’ll need to consider how much money you will most likely spend operating the system over a period of time. 

If you’re using a furnace, keeping the cost of fuel in mind is important. Since fuel costs can fluctuate, your heating bill can fluctuate along with them. 

However, not using fossil fuel doesn’t always mean lower bills. In fact, during especially cold winters, heat pumps might require so much electricity that your utility bill would actually be higher than if you were using a gas furnace.



Typically, furnaces last longer than heat pumps. On average, furnaces last between 15 to 20 years, while heat pumps last 10 to 15 years.

Furnaces tend to last longer because they only work during the fall or winter (or whenever the temperature drops), while a heat pump works year-round. (Remember: a heat pump both cools and heats your home.)

Keep in mind: Both systems will need annual maintenance from an HVAC tech to keep them running smoothly so they can last as long as possible. 

Want the best of both systems? Try a dual-fuel system


If you’re interested in the efficiency of a heat pump along with the comfort of a furnace, a dual-fuel system could be your solution. A dual-fuel system is normally considered when the home has a solar panel system installed.

A dual-fuel system is the combination of a gas furnace with a heat pump. 

How do dual-fuel systems work?

As long as the temperature outside remains above 35°F or so, a heat pump can pull heat from outside. The furnace will only kick on in the coldest months. Dual-fuel systems can provide the best energy efficiency when paired with a solar panel system

Since a gas furnace is more energy-efficient than electric resistance heating (which is what a heat pump uses on super cold days to warm your home), you’ll save money during the entire winter season. Plus, you’ll get the preferred comfort of a furnace when it’s needed most.

Prepare for cooler weather. Call Burgeson’s today!

When you need heat, you deserve to work with professionals who make your comfort top priority. Our technicians will respect your home and restore your heat… fast. 

Request an estimate or give us a call today 909-792-2222.

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