Do I Need a Furnace with a Heat Pump? It Depends

July 19, 2022

The thought of installing both a furnace and heat pump can sound a bit odd at first. After all, why should you need two heating systems? Even though furnaces and heat pumps both offer energy-efficient heat, the variations in their design genuinely make installing both of them a reasonable option. It’s not for everyone, but with the right conditions you can truly benefit from owning a furnace and a heat pump.

You’ll want to take a look at several factors in order to determine if this type of setup suits you. Your local climate and the dimensions of your home are both highly important, particularly for the heat pump. This is because many models of heat pumps start to run less efficiently in colder weather and larger homes. Even so, you can still benefit from heat pump installation in Excelsior Springs.

Heat Pumps Might Be Less Reliable in Colder Weather

Heat pumps are commonly less efficient in cooler weather as a result of how they generate climate control to start with. Unlike furnaces, which combust fuel to provide heat, a heat pump reverses its stream of refrigerant to extract heat from outdoor air. This heat is then pulled inside and dispersed throughout your home. As long as there is still a little heat energy in the air, a heat pump should function. But the cooler the temperature, the less efficient this process is.

The less heat energy is available outside, the more time is needed for a heat pump to draw heat indoors to reach your preferred temperature. It might depend on the specific make and model, but heat pumps can start to lose out on efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and colder. They still remain an energy-efficient option until 20-25 degrees, at which a gas furnace should be more effective.

What Temperatures Do Heat Pumps Work Best In?

Heat pumps work best in moderate climates 40 degrees and up. Having said that, you don’t have to miss out on the benefits of a heat pump just because the local climate is cooler. After all, that’s why using both a furnace and heat pump may be worth the costs. You can use the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is chilly enough to call for swapping to something like a gas furnace.

Certain makes and models tout greater efficiency in winter weather. For example, the Lennox MLA heat pump is capable of running at 100% capacity at 0°F. It can even continue running in temperatures as extreme as -22°F. For optimum energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to swap to the furnace in severely cold weather.

So Should I Install a Heat Pump If I Use a Gas Furnace?

If you’re interested in maintaining the most energy-efficient HVAC system possible, having a heat pump and gas furnace at the same time is worth the investment. Not only is a dual-heating system flexible, but it provides other benefits such as:

  • Dependable backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one fails, you still have the means to heat your home. It may not be the most energy efficient, but it’s better than having an unheated home while you wait for repairs
  • Reduced energy costs – The ability to pick which heating system you use according to the highest energy efficiency decreases your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the lifetime of these systems can really add up to plenty of savings
  • Less strain on both systems – Instead of running one system all winter long, heating duties are split between the furnace and heat pump. Key hardware can live longer as they’re not under constant use.

If you’re still unsure about heat pump installation in Excelsior Springs, don’t hesitate to contact your local professional technicians. They can evaluate your home’s comfort needs and help you figure out if a dual-heating HVAC system is the ideal option.