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

July 19, 2022

The concept of running both a furnace and heat pump might seem a little unusual at first. After all, why should you need two heating systems? While furnaces and heat pumps both provide energy-efficient heat, the changes in their design actually make using both of them a reasonable option. It’s not for everybody, but in the right conditions you will absolutely benefit from having a furnace and a heat pump.

You should take a look at several factors in order to confirm if this kind of setup helps you. Your local climate and the dimensions of your home are both very important, especially for the heat pump. This is because multiple models of heat pumps start to function less efficiently in cooler weather and large homes. At the same time, you can still reap the benefits of heat pump installation in Chadron.

Heat Pumps Might Be Less Efficient in Winter Weather

Heat pumps are typically less reliable in colder weather as a result of how they provide climate control to start with. Compared to furnaces, which combust fuel to provide heat, a heat pump reverses its supply of refrigerant to pull heat from outdoor air. This heat is then pulled inside and dispersed around your home. Provided 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 accessible outside, the more time is needed for a heat pump to bring heat indoors to reach your ideal temperature. It may depend on the specific make and model, but heat pumps can start to drop in efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and colder. They should still be an energy-efficient option until 20-25 degrees, at which a gas furnace is more effective.

What Temperatures Do Heat Pumps Work Best In?

Heat pumps manage best in temperate climates 40 degrees and up. Having said that, you don’t have to lose out on the benefits of a heat pump just because the local climate is cold. After all, that’s why owning both a furnace and heat pump can be worth the expense. You can keep the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is cold enough to warrant switching to something like a gas furnace.

Certain makes and models claim greater performance in cold weather. For example, the Lennox MLA heat pump is capable of running at 100% capacity at 0°F. It can even remain efficient in temperatures as cold as -22°F. For maximum energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to swap to the furnace in particularly cold weather.

So Should I Put In a Heat Pump If I Have a Gas Furnace?

If you’re interested in maintaining the most energy-efficient HVAC system achievable, installing 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 ability to heat your home. It won't always be the most energy efficient, but it’s better than having an unheated home while you hold out for repairs
  • Reduced energy costs – The ability to pick which heating system you use based on the highest energy efficiency reduces your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the life span of these systems can really add up to lots of savings
  • Less strain on both systems – Rather than running one system all winter long, heating resources are divided between the furnace and heat pump. Essential components can live longer since they’re not under constant use.

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