We tend to have fairly moderate winters in Federal Way, WA, and that means a heat pump works well down here. A heat pump works much like a central air conditioner in that it circulates a refrigerant that transfers thermal energy from one place to another. But heat pumps not only cool your home during the summer, but also heat your home during the winter.
Furnaces and thermostats are not mix-and-match appliances. Using the wrong type of thermostat with a furnace will cause operating problems and can be dangerous. Although thermostats look similar, they are designed very differently. There are numerous types of heating systems and thermostat systems and they need to be coordinated for safe and proper operation. There are three types of thermostat systems used today: millivoltage, low voltage, and line voltage.
High-efficiency condensing furnaces (90% AFUE and above) are a bit more complex than conventional furnaces. The main differences between a conventional and condensing furnace is the heat exchanger technology used to extract heat from the combustion process and the method used to exhaust the combustion gases. In these ways, the furnaces are very different. The condensing furnace does not have a significantly more efficient combustion process than does a conventional furnace; both use gas burners with electronic ignition. The difference lies in that the condensing furnace has a more efficient heat extraction process after combustion.