Forced Air vs. Heat Pump: What’s the Difference?

An outdoor heat pump unit installed outside a home.

Most homes in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and around the country are heated with forced air or by a heat pump. These two are by far the most common appliances used in the wintertime, providing amazing benefits along the way. But if you’re considering a new heating system or heating repairs are starting to eat away at your wallet, it’s good to compare these two systems to identify the right one for your home. With the cold weather starting to creep in, let’s take a look at the differences between forced air and heat pumps.

What Are Forced Air Systems?

Forced air systems are any system that relies on ductwork and — forced air — to heat an area. Forced air and central air are often used interchangeably, mostly because they are similar types of systems. Forced air systems are typically fueled by gas, oil, or electricity and don’t rely on outside air to provide your home with warmth. They are found in most homes across the United States and are typically powered by a natural gas forced air furnace. 

What Are Heat Pumps?

On the other hand, heat pumps work through electrical means and circulate the air to heat or cool your home. Heat pumps don’t actually generate heat, but they circulate air of differing temperatures around the house. In the winter, it will extract and circulate warm air around your home; in the summer, it takes warm air out of your home to make things feel cooler. 

Heat pumps are great for energy efficiency because they don’t actually create heat but simply transfer it. It’s common to find heat pumps that are over 100% efficient. 

Air Source Heat Pumps

These pumps take heat from the air outdoors instead of burning fossil fuels. Compared to a traditional heating system, they can be an extremely efficient option with high SEER ratings and are versatile enough to use year-round. 

Geothermal Heat Pumps

These pumps extract heat from the ground below your yard or driveway and heat your home via forced air or radiant heating flooring. It can also pull hot air in the summer and send it to your water heater, making it extremely efficient in winter and summer.

What Benefits Do Forced Air Systems Provide?

Forced air systems are extremely beneficial for homeowners, as you’d expect, considering almost 35 million American homes have forced air heating systems. If you have your sights on one of these systems, you can rest easy knowing that some of the perks include:

  • Variety of heating options (gas, diesel, electric, propane)
  • Little dependency on outdoor climate
  • Easy and affordable maintenance
  • Some modern models are almost 98% efficient

What Benefits Do Heat Pumps Provide?

Heat pumps are no slouch either, as they can provide many of the same benefits as forced air systems and a few additional ones on their own. Move heat like a pro and enjoy these perks of a heat pump:

  • Can work as both a heating and cooling system
  • Easy to run and operate without dragging down your wallet
  • Less maintenance than traditional heaters may need
  • Reduces carbon emissions
  • Safe to operate due to their reliance on electricity

No Matter What You Choose, RepairUSA Will Install It the Right Way

There’s not much of a difference when comparing forced air and heat pumps. Heat pumps can actually be considered forced air systems if they use ductwork to transfer the air. There are minor differences, such as the fact that heat pumps transfer air while forced air furnaces burn fossil fuels to create heat. Either way, homeowners choosing between forced air furnaces and heat pumps won’t regret their choices.

Regardless of your choice, having it installed properly and carefully ensures that homeowners get the most out of the systems. That’s where RepairUSA comes in, as our heating installation and replacement in Jonesboro, AR, provide the versatility needed to install various heating systems. Forced air and heat pumps are no match for our specialists, so beat the cold weather by contacting us today! 

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