What Heating System Is Best for Your MA Home — A Furnace, Heat Pump or a Hybrid?


If your home heating system is on its last leg, now’s the time to consider a replacement. How do you choose from a furnace, heat pump or a hybrid system? Here are some basic facts about each one to help you figure out which is best for your home.


A furnace is the classic choice for a Massachusetts home. It provides warm toasty heat, even on the coldest days of the year. If you have access to a natural gas line, it can be a cost-effective heating option for a cold New England winter.

Furnaces today are extremely efficient, with the most efficient models having a minimum efficiency rate around 90 percent. In comparison, units built a few decades ago are only 60 to 70 percent efficient.

The downside to a furnace? It’s a one-purpose piece of equipment. If you want to cool your home, you’ll need a separate A/C unit.

Heat Pumps

A heat pump uses differences in air temperature to heat and cool your home. In general, this system extracts heat from the outside air to warm the coolant in the coils, which, in turn, heats the air in your home. The opposite happens to cool your home during warm outdoor temperatures.

The downside to using a heat pump in the New England winter? Heat pumps don’t do well when temperatures get to freezing or below because there’s no latent heat to remove from the air. To compensate, the heat pump will start using auxiliary heat coils to supplement the heat it’s putting out. Those heating coils are inefficient and will drive up energy costs.

Hybrid Systems

Hybrid systems bring all the advantages of both the heat pump and the furnace. The heat pump will handle moderately cold days, but when temperatures drop to near or below freezing, the gas furnace will take over. This offers the homeowner the efficiency of the heat pump along with the heat output of a gas furnace on the coldest days.

If you’re debating whether a furnace, heat pump or a hybrid system is best for your Massachusetts home, contact the experts at Rodenhiser Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning.

Image via Shutterstock.com

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