How Does Electric Heat Work?

Electric heating has become an eco-friendly movement to shift away from traditional fossil fuels such as natural gas, oil, or even coal with HVAC equipment that relies on electricity as the source of energy. Learn about this ‘cleaner’ heating trend and why American Standard is dedicated to making smart choices for our planet.

Why choose electric heat?

Heat pumps rely only on electricity to produce heat, unlike gas furnaces that rely on fossil fuels. When you choose to include a heat pump in your HVAC system you can reduce or eliminate the carbon emissions coming from your home, while also decreasing your overall energy use.

What electric heating looks like

A gray heat pump with a blue American Standard logo.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps can both heat and cool your home on 100% electric power, completely eliminating the burning of natural gas or propane typically required to heat. In the winter, they work by extracting heat from outside and pumping it inside. In the summer, heat pumps remove hot air from your home and place it outside.

A dual fuel, or hybrid, system featuring three units.

Hybrid Systems

Hybrid, or dual fuel, systems combine a heat pump with a gas furnace to heat and cool your home. In warm climates, the heat pump works to cool your home. As the weather gets colder, the heat pump switches to a heating function, until the temperatures fall below the ideal efficiency range of the heat pump. Then, the gas furnace kicks on to provide heat. Both units are only used in their optimal conditions, which can increase the efficiency and lifespan of your system.

Heat Pumps vs Furnaces

Electric heating options provide multiple benefits over furnaces.

Heat PumpsFurnaces

*The energy efficiency shown for a heat pump is at optimal efficiency, but can decline overtime, especially in consistently cold temperatures.

Explore more heat pump benefits

Homeowners in a variety of climates can enjoy the benefits a heat pump provides.

Increased savings

Because heat pumps are an environmentally friendly option to heating and cooling, rebates and tax credits are available in many areas across the country for homeowners who purchase a heat pump or dual fuel system. Talk to your local dealer about which systems qualify in your area.

Increased energy efficiency

Heat pumps provide over 3x increased energy efficiency compared to alternatives like gas furnaces. Heat pumps can be up to 300% energy-efficient, which can help you save money on energy use, while also helping the environment.

Increased flexibility

Heat pumps provide the best of both HVAC worlds: hot and cool air throughout the seasons. With the ability to reverse the flow of refrigerant, heat pumps are flexible systems that provide maximum comfort in many temperature conditions.

Increased environmental benefits

American Standard heat pumps use electricity to produce heat, instead of a less environmentally friendly option like propane or natural gas, which helps the outdoor environment at large.

HVAC technician looking at a clipboard near an outdoor air conditioner.

Will a heat pump really cool my home?

Of course! Although the name heat pump might lead you to believe these systems only heat, they can actually cool your home, too. Heat pumps have the ability to reverse their refrigerant flow depending on your temperature need. In the winter, the refrigerant carries heat from outside and puts it in your home. In the summer, refrigerant carries heat and humidity from your home and releases it outdoors. And, homeowners never need to touch the heat pump to set the function — your system knows what it needs to do!

An HVAC dealer stands beside an outdoor unit.

When does a hybrid system make sense?

A hybrid system combines a heat pump with a gas furnace to fulfill your temperature needs while decreasing your energy use and costs. These are some situations where it might make sense to invest in a hybrid system.

Savings & Offers

Save with tax credits, special offers, and manufacturer rebates.

Check out offers  

Getting Started Guide

Wherever you are in the HVAC buying process, we can help.

Explore our guide  

Green Guide

Go green to help your home, environment, and wallet.

Build a greener home  

Email banner

Get helpful HVAC tips in our newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter to learn helpful HVAC tips and tricks before you purchase your system.

We’re here to help

Connect with our Customer Care team about your products, warranties, and dealer concerns.

Available Monday – Friday from 7am to 5pm CST


A phone

Contact a local dealer

Dealers can answer questions, help you find the right products for your home, and repair your system.

By pressing “submit,” I consent to be contacted about products and services from a local American Standard dealer at the information provided. See our Privacy Policy for more information.