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Heat pumps vs AC & Furnace — Why Upfront Costs Can Be Misleading

Why We Recommend a Heat Pump vs. AC & Furnace

If you’re looking at replacing your heating and air conditioning system, or upgrading a home with central air, you might be wondering how heat pumps compare with traditional A/C & Furnace?

The main advantage of traditional heating and air conditioners is their lower upfront cost. Installing a basic HVAC system is a few thousand dollars cheaper than installing a heat pump. But this lower upfront cost has a few major drawbacks.

With the exception of their higher upfront cost, heat pumps are better in almost every way. They can typically replace both an air conditioner and a furnace, which means two major appliances for the price of one. Heat pumps also provide more comfortable heating and cooling than basic air conditioners and furnaces.

And they can save the average homeowner $10,000 over the lifespan of the unit. Because they run on electricity, installing a heat pump also frees your home from relying on heating fuels, which can fluctuate in price.

Upfront and operating cost

Two systems for the price of one

A heat pump can both heat and cool a home, compared to an air conditioner which only provides cooling. In other words it's a replacement for both your air conditioner and your furnace or boiler.

That means when you install a heat pump you're getting two major appliances for the price of one. According to a recent study by RM!, it's cheaper to install a heat pump than a furnace+AC.

Heat pumps can save you $10,000 over 15 years

According to our recent analysis of heat pump costs and savings, the average homeowner can save $670 per year by switching to a heat pump. Over 15 years that adds up to total savings of $10,000.

If your home uses electric resistance heat (i.e. baseboards or an electric furnace), propane, or fuel oil, the savings will be closer to $1,000 a year.

Upfront costs

Heat pumps cost a few thousand dollars more than traditional A/C systems, but they often pay for themselves, and quickly. If you were due to replace your heating system, soon? That's even more incentive. Heat pumps also tend to have newer technology in them, like variable speed motors and inverters. We'll get to those in the comfort section.


If you use a heat pump for both heat and cooling, it may lack longevity, compared to an A/C unit that only works part of the year. HVAC installers cite a 15-year lifespan for a year-round heat pump.

The average heat pump pays for itself in about eight years, but it may not last as long as two separate appliances serving half the time.


Heat pumps don’t require ducts

Many older homes don’t have ductwork. Traditional air conditioner units don’t work in these homes, forcing homeowners to make do with inefficient, ugly window A/C units. But ductless mini-splits — a common type of heat pump — are easier and more flexible to install than ducted HVAC systems.

Heat pumps don’t have to work alone

Heat pumps work efficiently in almost every climate, even cold ones. For the coldest reaches of the country, though, a heat pump can be used in a dual-fuel, or hybrid, setup to reduce energy bills. With a smart thermostat, your home can switch from your heat pump to your oil, propane or gas furnace depending on the temperature.


Most heat pumps provide better comfort

Many heat pumps come with variable-speed or dual-speed motors. These can make the heating and cooling process more gradual, and energy-efficient, than a traditional system. They don’t simply have “on” and “off” modes, so they don’t blast you with air or make a noise throughout the house when they “kick on.”

Heat pumps can cool your home too

The way that air conditioning lowers the temperature and humidity of your home when it’s beastly outside. Heat pumps do that, too. The biggest difference is that a heat pump can also provide heat and utility bill savings.

Environmental benefits

Installing a heat pump is an effective way to reduce your carbon footprint

Replacing your traditional fuel-burning furnace with a highly efficient heat pump is the easiest way to make a big difference, personally, in our fight against climate change.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Home energy use is 20% of the carbon emissions in Canada.
  • Heating and cooling are 60% of those home emissions.
  • Switching to a heat pump would save the average homeowner $557 on home energy bills (and fare more for homes heated by baseboard heaters or fuel oil).
  • If everyone in Canada made their heating and cooling efficient and electric, and the electricity came from renewable sources, Canada could cut emissions by 600 million tons per year.

Is there any reason to go with traditional A/C?

The notable downside to heat pumps is that they cost a few thousand dollars more upfront to install than traditional air conditioners. That’s to be expected for advanced technology that does twice as much work.

But we realize that for many households, a few thousand dollars is a lot of money. Fortunately, many provinces in Canada offer incentives, rebates, and financing for homeowners who install heat pumps versus a/c units, so it’s worth checking to see if they can even out the cost. Ask your HVAC advisor about Rebates in your area and use an experience contractor who will do all Rebate paperwork on your behalf.

Installing a heat pump provides air conditioning, lowers your heating costs, gives you more installation options, and future-proofs your home for a fuel-free, cheaper future. That’s why we recommend them whenever possible to people in need of a new HVAC system.

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Dear home owners!

Please never leave the Air Duct system of your house not cleaned and not sanitized over Winter!
Warm air, darkness and humidity - are a perfect environment for germs and mildew, which may cause asthmatic or allergic conditions, and the dust only helps them to develop more rapidly.

Regularly cleaned and sanitized Air Duct system – is your family’s Health!

If you have any questions please contact us on
+1 416 725-3832

Dear Home and Business Owners!

By carrying out Duct Cleaning service you will ensure that you, your family or employee are safe from any potential Allergens that often exist in the air-ducts of your property - it can be absolutely anything from dust, dump, animal fur or debris. Please don't forget to clean your ducts!

Cleaned ducts = your health!

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