Furnace, Heat Pump or a Hybrid System: Which is Best for You?

Furnace, Heat Pump or a Hybrid System: Which is Best for You? When choosing a heating system for the home, Chicago residents usually have three main choices: a furnace, a heat pump or a hybrid system. Each has advantages and disadvantages to consider before making the investment.


Furnaces are popular choices for heating in the Chicagoland climate. They work well in very cold weather and, especially with newer models, can be very energy efficient and economical.

The most common types of furnaces are oil and natural gas models. Furnaces burn these fuels to produce heat. There are also all-electric furnace models available that don’t use fossil fuels and instead generate heat via heating elements.

Fuel-based furnaces require a constant source of fuel to work. They can also create dangerous gases, such as carbon monoxide. Electric furnaces can be more costly to operate than fuel-based models.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps, while more costly initially, operate very economically and efficiently once installed. They capture heat from the environment around the system and move it into or out of your home. Air-source heat pumps use the air around the equipment as the source for heat transfer and release. Geothermal models use the ground outside your home, or a body of water, as the heat source.

Heat pumps provide both heating and cooling. Their heating functions work best in climates that don’t often fall below the freezing point. Heat pump efficiency drops off significantly in colder weather.

Hybrid Systems

Hybrid systems combine a heat pump with a gas furnace, providing homeowners with the best features of both systems. For most of the year, residents can enjoy the efficiency and comfort provided by the heat pump’s regular operation. When temperatures drop, the gas furnace kicks in to provide heating. This overcomes the efficiency drop (and increase in operating costs) that would occur if using a heat pump by itself.

Hollub, Inc. has served residential heating and cooling customers in Chicago’s Near West Side area for more than 87 years. Contact us today for more information on home heating options and whether a furnace, heat pump or a hybrid system would be best for your home comfort needs.

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