Home Heaters: Heat Pumps vs. Furnaces vs. Boilers

If your heating system isn’t performing, it’s time to invest in a new heat pump, furnace or boiler. But how do you decide which will work best in your Bethesda, MD, house? Read on to learn more about heat pumps, furnaces and boilers.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps transfer heat from one area to another. During the winter, they can extract heat from the air outside, even when the temperature is freezing. A heat pump will then transfer the heat into your house to create a warm indoor environment. In the summer, a heat pump can function like an air conditioner, removing heat from inside your home and transferring it outside to make it feel cooler. Here are the benefits of a heat pump installation:

  • Heating efficiency: Since heat pumps transfer heat rather than generating, they use less energy to operate. As a result, they can warm your house for less.
  • Eco-friendly heating: Since heat pumps don’t burn fossil fuels, they produce fewer gas emissions. As a result, they help you lower your carbon footprint.
  • Versatile HVAC solution: Heat pumps offer heating and cooling capabilities in one system, eliminating the need for a separate air conditioner and heater.
  • Consistent comfort: Heat pumps provide consistent heating, maintaining a stable indoor temperature without the fluctuations common with other heaters.


Furnaces generate heat by burning fuel, like oil, propane or natural gas, or using electricity. A furnace then circulates the heat it generates into your living spaces through a network of ducts, radiators or under-floor pipes. Furnaces are still the most common heating system used. Here are the benefits of a furnace installation:

  • Fast heating: Furnaces are powerful heating systems that can warm your house quickly, which is ideal during freezing outdoor temperatures.
  • Widespread availability: There are various types of furnaces available to suit different preferences and accessibility to energy sources.
  • Energy efficiency: Today’s furnaces are designed to be energy-efficient, with many models achieving high Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency (AFUE) ratings.


Boilers use water to distribute heat throughout a home. The boiler heats the water. The water then travels through pipes and radiators to provide warmth. The process is known as radiant heating and offers even heat distribution. Boilers are no longer as common as furnaces and heat pumps. Here are the benefits of a boiler installation:

  • Even heating: Boilers provide consistent heating, eliminating the uneven temperatures often experienced with forced-air heating systems.
  • Quiet operation: Boilers operate quietly without the noise associated with forced-air heating systems that use blowers and ducts.
  • Long lifespan: Boilers have a longer lifespan compared to many other heating systems, making them a durable and reliable choice.
  • Better indoor air quality: Since boilers don’t blow air, they don’t spread dust, allergens or other particles that can worsen your indoor air quality.

Which Heater is Best for Your Home?

Choosing a suitable heating installation depends on various factors, including climate, budget, energy efficiency goals and personal preferences. Here’s a breakdown to help you make an informed decision for your heating installation:

Heat Pump Installation

Consider a heat pump installation if you maximize energy efficiency, minimize your carbon footprint and save money on your heating bills. Contrary to popular belief, many modern heat pumps can operate in temperatures below freezing.

Furnace Installation

Consider a furnace installation if you need a powerful heating solution for a large property. If oil, natural gas or propane are readily available and affordable in your area, it’s worth considering a furnace installation.

Boiler Installation

Consider a boiler installation if your house already has a setup of radiators. Although upgrading to heat pump installation might be worthwhile, you must consult an HVAC professional before deciding.

Installing a new heater requires extensive knowledge and training. Contact B.M.C. Clower Heating and Air Conditioning to have our team help you choose the best heating installation, size it correctly and install it properly.

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