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

July 19, 2022

The concept of installing both a furnace and heat pump can feel somewhat unusual at first. After all, why should you need two sources of heat? While furnaces and heat pumps both provide energy-efficient heat, the changes in their design genuinely make using both of them a practical option. It’s not for everyone, but under the right conditions you could truly benefit from using a furnace and a heat pump.

You should take a look at several factors in order to determine if this type of setup suits you. Your local climate and the size of your home are both very important, particularly for the heat pump. This is because multiple models of heat pumps begin to function less efficiently in cooler weather and larger homes. Even so, you can still benefit from heat pump installation in Laurel.

Heat Pumps Can Be Less Efficient in Winter Weather

Heat pumps are generally less effective in cold weather due to how they provide climate control in the first place. Compared to furnaces, which combust fuel to provide heat, a heat pump reverses its stream of refrigerant to pull heat from outdoor air. This heat is then brought inside and dispersed throughout your home. Assuming there is still some heat energy in the air, a heat pump will 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 pull heat indoors to maintain your ideal temperature. It may depend on the exact make and model, but heat pumps can start to lose out on efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and colder. They can still be an energy-efficient option until 20-25 degrees, after which a gas furnace should be more effective.

What Temperatures Do Heat Pumps Run Best In?

Heat pumps function best in moderate climates 40 degrees and up. That being said, you don’t have to sacrifice the benefits of a heat pump just because the local climate is cold. After all, that’s why installing both a furnace and heat pump might be worth the expense. You can favor the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is chilly enough to justify switching to something like a gas furnace.

A few makes and models feature 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 cold as -22°F. For optimal energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to switch to the furnace in particularly 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 available, installing 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 perks including:

  • Dependable backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one breaks down, you still have the ability 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
  • Fewer energy costs – The ability to choose which heating system you use according to the highest energy efficiency reduces your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the lifetime of these systems can really add up to a lot of savings
  • Less strain on both systems – Rather than running one system all winter long, heating resources are separated between the furnace and heat pump. Essential components could last longer given that they’re not under constant use.

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