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Advance Heating and Cooling Blog

Welcome to our blog at Advance Heating and Cooling! We are excited to share our expertise in the world of heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) with you.



As a trusted provider of HVAC services, we understand the importance of maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures throughout the year. Our team of skilled professionals provides top-quality installation, repair, and maintenance services to ensure that your HVAC system operates at its best. 


In our blogs, we will cover a wide range of topics related to HVAC systems, including tips for improving energy efficiency, common HVAC issues and how to address them, the latest trends in HVAC technology, and more. We are committed to providing you with helpful information that will assist you in making informed decisions about owning or purchasing an HVAC system


Our technicians live in the world of HVAC. We’ve sold and serviced hundreds of furnaces, air conditioners, and heat pumps and we’ve learned a lot of useful information along the way. This blog is our way to pass that knowledge on to you at no charge. If you have an idea for a topic you would like to see us talk about, send us an email.  


Our main goal is to help you maintain a comfortable indoor environment and save money on your energy bills. We highly believe that an informed customer is a satisfied customer, and we work hard to give you the knowledge you need to make smart decisions about your HVAC systems. 

Thank you for joining us on this journey, and we look forward to sharing our knowledge with you.

Furnaces vs. Heat Pumps — Which Is the Right Choice for You?

Woman smiling sitting on couch under a cozy blanket drinking a warm beverage.


Are you facing the eternal dilemma of choosing between a traditional furnace or a modern heat pump to keep your home warm and cozy?  


As the temperatures drop and winter approaches, finding the perfect heating system becomes a top priority for homeowners. With the increasing focus on energy efficiency and environmental concerns, alternative heating solutions, such as heat pumps, have gained popularity as well. Understanding the differences between furnaces and heat pumps can help homeowners make an informed decision when selecting the most suitable heating system for their needs. 


In this comprehensive blog post, we will dive deep into the world of heating solutions and explore the key differences between furnaces and heat pumps.  


Whether you prioritize efficiency, environmental impact, or overall comfort, we've got you covered! So, let's embark on this enlightening journey to discover which heating option is the right fit for you and your home.  


Say goodbye to uncertainty and embrace a toasty, well-heated home all winter long!


What Is a Furnace? 

Did you know that over 50% of Canadians report using a furnace to heat their homes? 


A furnace is a type of heating system commonly used to heat residential and commercial spaces. It operates by burning fuel, such as natural gas, oil, propane, or electricity, to generate heat. The heat produced by the furnace is then distributed throughout the building via ductwork and vents, providing warmth to different rooms. 


Furnaces come in various types, including gas furnaces, oil furnaces, electric furnaces, and even wood-burning furnaces. Each type has its own advantages and considerations in terms of efficiency, cost, and environmental impact. Gas furnaces, for example, are popular for their relatively low operating costs, while electric furnaces are often chosen for their ease of installation and cleaner operation. 


What Is a Heat Pump? 

A heat pump is a versatile and energy-efficient heating and cooling system that moves heat from one place to another, rather than generating heat directly like a furnace.  


It can serve as both a heating system during cold weather and a cooling system in hot weather, making it a year-round solution for indoor comfort


Small family laying on floor with young daughter in winter.


During colder months, the heat pump extracts heat from the outdoor air, the ground, or even water sources, and transfers it indoors to heat the living spaces.


In warmer months, it operates in reverse, extracting heat from inside the building and expelling it outside, effectively cooling the indoor environment. 


Heat pumps are available in various types, including air-source heat pumps, ground-source (geothermal) heat pumps, and water-source heat pumps. Air-source heat pumps are the most common and affordable option, utilizing the outside air as the heat source. Ground-source and water-source heat pumps are more efficient but involve higher initial installation costs. 


One of the significant advantages of heat pumps is their high energy efficiency. Since they move heat instead of generating it through combustion, they can provide up to four times more heating or cooling energy than the electricity they consume. This makes them an eco-friendly and cost-effective choice for heating and cooling homes and buildings. 


While heat pumps are well-suited for moderate to mild climates, advancements in technology have expanded their usability in colder regions. Understanding the characteristics and benefits of heat pumps in comparison to traditional furnaces can help homeowners determine the best option for their specific heating and cooling needs. 


What Is a Dual Fuel System? 

Depending on your climate you may need to have both a furnace and a heat pump. These are called dual fuel systems. The heat pump will do the bulk of the heavy lifting during the year. If the outdoor temperature gets cold for several days, the system will automatically switch over to the gas furnace.  Basically, the temperature will tell the system to turn on the best tool for the job to be the most efficient, saving you power and money.


Furnace Advantages and Disadvantages 

Furnaces have been around for a long time. For decades they were the heating system of choice, particularly in residential areas with access to natural gas. There are many advantages to choosing a furnace. Here are a few: 

  • Up-front costs to purchase and install a furnace are more affordable than a heat pump.  
  • Furnaces use familiar technology that has consumer confidence.  
  • Through regular maintenance, it can heat up the home quickly and handle the cold weather. This is particularly essential in colder climates like Canada. 
  • Furnaces have different power options to suit any community. 

All good things have their downsides, and the furnace is no different. Here are a few disadvantages: 

  • Furnaces are not as energy efficient as heat pumps, using up to three times more energy
  • They contribute to carbon emissions
  • Some communities have already banned new natural gas furnaces so they might not even be an option depending on where you live.  
  • They need ductwork to distribute heat around your home. If you don’t have the wireframe set up, it may become a costly investment. 
  • Furnaces can be loud and turn on and off all day regulating the temperature of your home. 
  • Can cause safety concerns, like carbon monoxide leaks, if not serviced regularly. 
  • Furnaces are only good at heating. If you live in a climate that has cold winters and warm summers, you’ll need to invest in air conditioning as well. 

Heat Pump Advantages and Disadvantages 

Heat pumps are gaining popularity as an important step to transition our home heating systems away from burning fossil fuels.


Woman sitting on couch in warm home, looking out window.


Here are some of the big advantages to choosing a heat pump: 

  • Heat pumps are a one-stop-shop for all things HVAC – depending on where you live, a cold climate heat pump can replace your furnace, air conditioner, dehumidifier and air filter system.  
  • They require less maintenance than a furnace. 
  • Heat pumps use much less energy than furnaces  
  • In Ontario, the government is offering substantial rebate programs to encourage individuals to make a more environmentally conscious switch. This could mean receiving between $7,000 - $8,000 in incentive dollars. 
  • Heat pumps don’t need ductwork.  
  • Single room temperature control allows you to have flexibility over which spaces you heat or cool, in turn saving you money on your utility bills. 

And the disadvantages are: 

  • Heat pumps are more expensive to purchase and install. You will earn that money back over the course of its lifespan, but the initial investment is more than a regular furnace. 
  • Depending on your climate, you may need to have a backup heating system.


Which Is the Right System for You? 

Generally, individuals will choose a furnace because they are: 

  • Looking for immediate savings and a low upfront cost.  
  • Not qualifying for the heat pump rebates.  
  • Comfortable with gas furnaces and like the tried, tested and true experience they’ve had. 
  • Happy with a separate air conditioning system or just purchased a new one. 
  • In a home with established ductwork, or recently updated ductwork with a zoning system that ensures even heat distribution.  
  • Content to perform regular maintenance. 
  • Willing to risk the rising costs of natural gas.

On the other hand, individuals will choose a heat pump because they are: 

  • Want to embrace new technology. 
  • Environmentally focused and are looking to actively reduce their carbon emissions and energy use. 
  • Wanting a singular system that heats, cools, filters and dehumidifies.  
  • Do not have existing ductwork or it is too costly to repair and would rather invest the money on a new system.  
  • Looking to customize their temperature control for different spaces in their home.


Take An Energy Audit 

Before you make your final decision invest in an energy audit. This will help you find air leaks and seal them and add insulation to reduce heat loss, extending the life of whatever system you invest in because they’ll have to work a little less hard. Energy audits are also the first place to start to learn whether you qualify for any government or energy company rebates in your area.


Final Thoughts 

In conclusion, the decision between a furnace and a heat pump comes down to your specific needs, priorities, and the climate in which you reside. Both heating systems have their distinct advantages and disadvantages, making each a viable option depending on individual circumstances. 


Furnaces are known for their affordability and quick heating capabilities, but they tend to be less energy-efficient and contribute to carbon emissions. On the other hand, heat pumps offer significant energy savings, year-round comfort, and reduced environmental impact, but they come with higher upfront costs. 


Whether you choose a furnace or a heat pump, remember to consider factors like existing ductwork, available rebates, and your overall commitment to energy efficiency and environmental stewardship.  


Ultimately, by taking the time to understand the differences between these two heating systems and evaluating your unique requirements, you can make an informed and confident choice to ensure a warm, comfortable, and eco-friendly home throughout the seasons. 



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Heat pumps: the next evolution of residential heating

Heat pump guages


If you are on the verge of replacing that gas furnace in your basement or even a few years out: STOP. A new gas furnace is no longer the only option to heat your home. Make way for the heat pump, a more efficient, sustainable and price insulated way to keep your family warm.

The need to move away from fossil fuels and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions has never been greater. Around the world, heat is responsible for nearly half of all the energy we use and 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.

Did you know that heat pumps currently available to us in Canada are three-to-five times more efficient than natural gas? And do you want to know what the real kicker is? Many heat pump systems can replace your air conditioner too! One system to heat and cool your home. By 2050 there will be 2.6 billion people living in regions that require both residential heating and cooling. This makes heat pump technology a game changer.

As countries commit and move to climate-neutral energy for residential and commercial heating and cooling, the heat pump is slowly replacing fossil-fueled powered systems. Last year roughly 10% of space heating was generated by heat pumps globally. You can expect to see this grow rapidly in the coming decades, in fact global sales grew almost 15% in 2021, double the average of the last decade.

As the technology improves these systems can also work in colder climates like Canada. The International Energy Agency has some insightful market statistics from around the world:


  • Norway has 60% of its buildings equipped with heat pumps.

  • Sweden and Finland have over 40%.

  • In 2022 the European Union saw around a 35% growth in the heat pump market.

  • China (not surprisingly) continues to be the biggest country for new sales.

  • North America is leading the world with the largest number of homes with heat pumps in 2022.


man adjusting heat pump


How do heat pumps work?

Heat pumps work on electricity and are in concept, very similar to a refrigerator. Transferring heat from a cool space to a warm space, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. During the winter a heat pump will move heat from outside into your home; during the summer it will move heat from your home to the outside. Heat pumps transfer heat, they don’t generate it making the process very energy efficient and not reliant on fossil fuels (depending on the system you choose.) With natural gas prices ever increasing this is an important benefit. For people living in the GTA,  Enbridge gas rates have more than doubled in price in the past two years, from 10 cents per cubic metre to 23 cents per cubic metre. With increasing pressure to move away from fossil fuels, gas prices are only going to continue to rise.


What heat pump system is best for you?

There are three main types of heat pumps on the market and some additional options to work specifically with your home and climate. Here’s a general breakdown of the offerings.


Air-Source Heat Pump

As the most common, air-source heat pumps transfer heat between your house and the outside air. The pump draws heat from the air, transporting it to the refrigeration substance inside the outside unit of the system. Here the air is compressed to increase the temperature and then the refrigeration fluid is moved to the inside unit of the system and pushed through the ductwork of your home. These can work alone or in a hybrid system. A hybrid system works well as a new installation or as a good replacement for central air conditioning. Here the air-source heat pump works alongside your furnace or boiler.


heat pump


If you do not have a duct system, then you would need to look at a ductless air-source heat pump or what’s called a mini-split heat pump. These systems work well with hydronic (hot water heat), radiant panels, and space heaters fuelled by wood, kerosene or propane. Just like their duct friendly cousins, these systems have two main units: an outdoor compressor/condenser and an indoor air-handling unit.


It’s strange to think but even when temperatures are very cold outside there is still a good deal of energy available to heat your home. For instance, if its -18 degrees Celsius outside this equates to 85% of the heat contained at 21 degrees Celsius. This means there is still a considerable amount of heat for an air source pump to access even during Canadian winters. It’s no wonder then this type of heat pump is the most popular in Canada with over 700,000 units across the country.

Geothermal Heat Pumps

Geothermal heat pumps transfer heat into your house from the ground or a water source. Did you know the temperature below ground remains around 12-13 degrees Celsius all year? This means there is energy and heat right below your feet to keep your home comfortable.


Geothermal systems have three main parts: a ground loop, a heat pump, and a distribution system.


  • The ground loop is buried on your property. It can be a closed loop or an open loop that uses nearby water.

  • The heat pump exchanges heat from the air and the ground loop system.

  • Finally, the distribution system is how the air (cool or hot) is moved throughout your house. This can be done through ductwork or a hydronic distribution – piping filled with fluids that run throughout your home to carry heat energy.


Geothermal systems are a more expensive option and require a certain amount of space on your lot, depending on whether you go with a horizontal or vertical loop. But they are more efficient and robust. One of the big advantages of a geothermal heat pump is they are not impacted by extreme temperature changes since they use the ground or water as a constant temperature source. This can reduce your energy use by 30-60% and make them ideal in more extreme climates.


Heat pump


Absorption Heat Pumps

Absorption heat pumps are newer to the residential market and essentially work like an air-source heat pump but instead of using electricity to as a power source it is supported by a heat source like gas, propane, solar heated water or geothermal-heated water.  These pumps use an absorption cycle instead of a vapor-compression cycle and are a more cost-effective choice when electricity is difficult to access or extremely expensive.


Let’s recap all the benefits a heat pump can bring to your home.


  • Heat pumps can be all electric and do not have to rely on fossil fuels. They are a cleaner and greener alternative to a furnace or boiler.

  • Using electricity as a main power source, heat pumps create less greenhouse gas emissions, especially in Ontario where electricity is primarily clean, produced by hydro, nuclear and wind power.

  • Heat pumps are energy efficient. In fact, it’s been shown that heat pumps can provide more than 3X the heating energy output for the same energy consumption than their furnace and boiler counterparts.

  • Carbon pricing and a global push to move away from fossil fuels means natural gas rates will continue to rise. Heat pumps work well with new Canadian electricity pricing structures, especially if we see reductions in time-of-use rates.

  • Heat pumps use less space indoors. A furnace needs at least 30 inches of clearance on all sides and are usually found in basements. Heat pumps only require 24 inches of clearance on all sides and are installed outside. Keep in mind a traditional air-source heat pump system will still need an indoor air handler unit called a fan coil.

Governments are incentivizing heat pumps with low-interest financing through the:


Home Energy Loan Program
Canada Greener Homes Grant


woman reading in comfortable living room


Are you convinced?

If you are considering one of the many options of heat pumps don’t wait till your furnace or AC unit kicks the bucket. Start planning now.


  • Do more research!

  • Look into rebate programs.

  • Book a home energy assessment with a certified auditor. The more energy efficient your home is the better. This will also help guide you in choosing what type of heat pump your home needs.

  • Assess your electricity service. Do you need to upgrade to 200 amps?

  • Find contractors like Advance Heating and Cooling in your area and start getting quotes.


Make no mistake a heat pump is an up-front investment that will bring you savings down the line. Depending on what type of heat pump system you choose you can expect it to last 15 years if well maintained. If your environmentalist and looking to reduce your reliance on fossil fuels, this is the residential system for you.


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Vincent Afrouzi
Name: Vincent Afrouzi
Posts: 38
Last Post: November 23, 2023