Cool comfort: gas furnace plus air conditioner

Losing sleep over summer heat? If you have a gas furnace, you can simply add an air conditioning unit to your central heating system and enjoy year-round climate control and comfort in your home. You don’t need a heat pump to keep your home cool.

Heat pump or air conditioner—what’s the difference?

A heat pump is an electrical appliance that extracts heat from one place and transfers it to another. To warm up your home, it takes heat from the air outside and transfers it into your home. To cool down your home, it moves heat from inside your home to outside. 

An air conditioner works in much the same way to keep your home cool, but of course it doesn’t heat your home.  

While an electric air source heat pump can heat and cool your home, there are factors you’ll need to consider:

  • The climate you live in. When temperatures get colder, heat pumps need to rely on a backup heating system, which will increase your heating costs.1 There are cold climate heat pumps that work better in colder temperatures, but these are more expensive.
  • In Canada, we need heating more than cooling. Because you’ll be needing heat in your home for the majority of the year, it makes sense to consider your most affordable heating option first, and then think about your cooling needs.
  • Your existing heating system. If you have a gas furnace and you switch to a heat pump, your gas bill will go down, but your electricity bill will go up.1

Bottom line: If you have a gas furnace, you can simply add an air conditioning unit to your central heating system and enjoy year-round climate control and comfort in your home. You don't need a heat pump to keep your home cool.

Annual energy cost – space heating and cooling2

Calculate your savings

Want to know how much you can expect to save in fuel costs by pairing a gas furnace with an air conditioning unit? Check out our handy home energy calculator.

Call a licensed contractor

When deciding the best option for your home cooling and heating, we recommend asking a licensed professional who can give you objective advice based on your particular needs, and the type of home you have.

The FortisBC Trade Ally Network directory provides you with easy access to trained, certified gas contractors in your community.

Connect to gas

If you’re not already connected to the natural gas system, the process is simple. Find out how you can get up to $2,700 in rebates, for a limited time when you replace your oil or propane primary space and water heating systems with eligible natural gas appliances.

1 BC Hydro - Find out about heat pumps

2 These are approximate annual costs for space heating and cooling of a typical household in Victoria. A typical household is defined as a single family house approx. 2,300 square ft. with average insulation. Anticipated savings will be the difference between annual natural gas and electricity. Calculations compare a natural gas furnace with an Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency of 97 paired with central A/C with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) of 15, and an electric air source heat pump with a Heating Seasonal Performance Factor of 9.3 and SEER of 16. Comparisons are based on FortisBC natural gas rates as of January 2024 and BC Hydro electricity rates as of January 2024. Both gas and electricity prices are subject to change. These include applicable carbon tax.

Electricity rates exclude basic charges. The cost of Renewable Natural Gas (RNG) depends on the blend you choose. The FortisBC biomethane (or RNG) rate is as of January 2024. You can designate five, 10, 25, 50 or 100 per cent of the natural gas you use as RNG. You'll also receive a credit on the BC carbon tax on your bill, depending on the blend you choose.

Savings may vary by household and do not include potential rebates and/or incentives.