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

July 19, 2022

The idea of installing both a furnace and heat pump can sound a bit strange at first. After all, why do you need two heating systems? While furnaces and heat pumps both provide energy-efficient heat, the differences in their design really make using both of them a reasonable option. It’s not for everyone, but in the right conditions you can absolutely 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 kind of setup helps you. Your local climate and the square footage of your home are both especially important, particularly for the heat pump. This is because many models of heat pumps will function less efficiently in cooler weather and larger homes. At the same time, you can still benefit from heat pump installation in Cottonwood.

Heat Pumps May Be Less Effective in Winter Weather

Heat pumps are typically less effective in colder weather due to how they generate climate control in the first place. Unlike furnaces, which ignite fuel to create heat, a heat pump reverses its supply of refrigerant to pull heat from outdoor air. This heat is then brought inside and distributed around your home. Assuming there is still some heat energy in the air, a heat pump can function. But the lower the temperature, the less effective this process is.

The less heat energy is available outside, the longer it takes a heat pump to pull heat indoors to maintain your desired temperature. It can depend on the type of make and model, but heat pumps generally start to drop in efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and colder. They can still be an energy-efficient option until 20-25 degrees, at which point a gas furnace is more effective.

What Temperatures Do Heat Pumps Run Best In?

Heat pumps work best in milder climates 40 degrees and up. Having said that, you don’t have to lose out on the benefits of a heat pump just because your local climate is cold. As a matter of fact, that’s why using both a furnace and heat pump can be worth the cost. You can use the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is chilly enough to justify shifting to something like a gas furnace.

A few makes and models tout greater effectiveness in cooler weather. For example, the Lennox MLA heat pump is capable of running at 100% capacity at 0°F. It can even remain functional in temperatures as extreme as -22°F. For maximum energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to switch to the furnace in especially cold weather.

So Should I Get a Heat Pump If I Own a Gas Furnace?

If you’re thinking about maintaining the most energy-efficient HVAC system achievable, owning a heat pump and gas furnace at the same time warrants the investment. Not only is a dual-heating system flexible, but it offers other advantages such as:

  • Dependable backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one fails, you still have the capability to heat your home. It may not be the most energy efficient, but it’s better than shivering in an unheated home while you sit around for repairs
  • Reduced energy costs – The ability to decide which heating system you use depending on the highest energy efficiency reduces your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the life of these heating systems can really add up to lots of savings
  • Less strain on both systems – Instead of running one system all winter long, heating responsibilities are separated between the furnace and heat pump. Essential hardware will sometimes survive longer given that they’re not under continuous use.

If you’re still uncertain about heat pump installation in Cottonwood, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your local certified technicians. They can walk you through your home’s comfort needs and help you determine if a dual-heating HVAC system is the right option.