Heat Pump vs. Gas Furnace – Which is Best in Kansas City?

November 19, 2014

So, you’re looking to upgrade your home’s heating system eh?

But you don’t know if you should get a gas furnace or try out a heat pump.

The answer: If you live in Kansas, you probably don’t want a heat pump by itself.

You’ll either want:

  • A gas furnace paired with an air conditioner or 
  • A gas furnace paired with a heat pump (it’s what’s called a “hybrid heat” system.) 
  • An air handler with a heat pump.

If you have only a heat pump during winter you will: 

  • Not always get enough heat, leaving you uncomfortable
  • Have unruly electric bills

Let’s go into more detail about these 2 issues.

Why a heat pump alone can make you uncomfortable during winter

Because of how a heat pump works, it struggles to heat a home as the outdoor temperature drops below 40 degrees. So it needs to rely on a backup heating unit, which could be a gas furnace or an air handler with electric heat strips.

For example, you may have your thermostat set at 75, but, during below 40 degree weather, your heat pump can only get your home to 70.

But even if the heat pump DOES get your home to your set temperature, the air it blows may not feel “warm.”

What do we mean?

Well, your body’s average temperature is 98. And the heat pump blows out air at 95 degrees, thus making the air feel “cool’ relative to your body’s temperature.

Long story short: Some people just don’t like the way a heat pump’s air feels. Many prefer a gas furnace which can consistently put out a comfortable 120 degrees.

Why a heat pump alone will dramatically increase your winter electric bills

Remember that backup electric heat strip we mentioned before? It can cost 4 to 6 times as much to use compared to the heat pump. And in Kansas during December and January, your heat pump is going to consistently need that costly backup unit. 



Try not to choke on your coffee when you get the electric bill.

Our recommendation: Get a gas furnace or a hybrid heat system

We’re not saying heat pumps are awful. Quite the contrary. They’re very efficient in mildly cold weather. We’re just saying, if you get one, you should have a gas furnace as the backup—not the inefficient heat strip.

Now whether buying a furnace paired with a heat pump is better than a furnace paired with a regular ol’ AC is a different story.

Contact us if you have any questions or want an estimate on a new system