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Heat Pump or Gas Furnace? What Are the Differences?

With the increasing popularity of heat pumps in some areas of the U.S., many homeowners are asking if a heat pump is a good option for their Chicago area home. Here is an overview of how heat pumps differ from traditional gas furnaces.

The main difference between a furnace and a heat pump is that a heat pump can be reversed to either heat or cool a home. A heat pump consists of two parts: an indoor unit called an air handler and an outdoor unit that is similar to a central air conditioner – called a heat pump. A compressor circulates refrigerant that absorbs and releases heat as it travels between the indoor and outdoor units.

Depending on the season a heat pump exchanges the cool air with warm air, or the other way around. Even air that’s seems cold can have heat energy. When it’s cold outside the heat pump extracts the heat and transfers into the home. When it’s hot outside, it reverses the flow to work like an air conditioner, removing heat from your home.

When considering a heat pump it’s important to understand that, unlike a gas furnace which creates heat, a heat pump can only exchange heat, and will be unable to deliver a high level of warm air that is required to heat homes in cold climates like the Chicagoland area.

Have home heating questions? Call ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric. We’re here to help.

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  • “Have never had such an excellent technician to evaluate our furnace problem. If he hadn't been so thorough, it possibly could have resulted in a carbon monoxide disaster. A true professional!”

  • “After a long day on a Friday (first snow of the year - lots of customers without heat), Dion L came to perform routine furnace inspection and filter change. Dion was courteous, efficient, informed us of all that he was doing, showed us an area of concern and how we…”

  • “Ron S., fixed an electrical short in the attic, which prevented a fire. He rewired the attic thru the bedroom ceiling light. He replaced an outside electrical connection, and repaired my ceiling fan. The attic wiring was very crazy. He did an outstanding job figuring it out and fixing the…”

  • “I called other before I call ABC and was giving long wait and schedule time to come out and check the heating system. So I received a message on the web about ABC Plumbing and Heating. So I called the company right away and they said what time would you…”

  • “I am so impressed with Chris and ABC Plumbing, Heating, Cooling. His friendliness honest approach to his Job is remarkable. Thanks Chris for making my day and believing that they are still great honorable people out there.”

  • “Paul B. serviced my furnace yesterday with an inspection and cleaning. He didn't stop there though, I had purchased a new filter for my humidifier on the furnace and he replaced that for me, showed me how to do it in the future and explained how to adjust the humidity…”

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