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 seem a little strange at first. After all, why would you need two heating systems? Even though furnaces and heat pumps both offer energy-efficient heat, the changes in their design actually make using both of them a reasonable option. It’s not for all of us, but in the right conditions you can truly benefit from having a furnace and a heat pump.

You should think about several factors in order to confirm if this kind of setup works for you. Your local climate and the size of your home are both especially important, particularly for the heat pump. This is because numerous models of heat pumps will work less effectively in cooler weather and large homes. Even so, you can still benefit from heat pump installation in Pocatello.

Heat Pumps Might Be Less Effective in Colder Weather

Heat pumps are commonly less reliable in cold weather because of how they generate climate control to start with. As opposed to furnaces, which ignite fuel to generate heat, a heat pump reverses its flow of refrigerant to pull heat from outdoor air. This heat is then brought inside and circulated throughout your home. Assuming there is still a bit of heat energy in the air, a heat pump should 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 generate your ideal temperature. It can depend on the type of make and model, but heat pumps generally start to lose efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and colder. They should still be an energy-efficient option until 20-25 degrees, after which a gas furnace will be more effective.

What Temperatures Do Heat Pumps Perform Best In?

Heat pumps manage best in moderate climates 40 degrees and up. That said, you don’t have to sacrifice the benefits of a heat pump just because the local climate is colder. After all, that’s why using both a furnace and heat pump may be worth the costs. You can keep the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is cool enough to warrant swapping to something like a gas furnace.

A few makes and models tout greater performance 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 maximum energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to switch to the furnace in especially cold weather.

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

If you’re interested in 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 adaptable, but it offers other benefits including:

  • Dependable backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one stops working, you still have the capability to heat your home. It might not be the most energy efficient, but it’s better than having an unheated home while you sit around for repairs
  • Fewer energy costs – The ability to select which heating system you use depending on the highest energy efficiency decreases your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the life span of these heating systems can really add up to a lot of savings
  • Less strain on both systems – Compared to running one system all winter long, heating duties are split between the furnace and heat pump. Crucial parts could survive longer given that they’re not under continuous use.

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