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

July 19, 2022

The thought of using both a furnace and heat pump may sound a bit unusual at first. After all, why would you need two sources of heat? While furnaces and heat pumps both produce energy-efficient heat, the differences in their design genuinely make using both of them a worthwhile option. It’s not for all of us, but with the right conditions you will absolutely benefit from having a furnace and a heat pump.

You should consider several factors in order to confirm if this kind of setup helps you. Your local climate and the dimensions of your home are both especially important, namely for the heat pump. This is because some models of heat pumps will work less effectively in cooler weather and large homes. That being said, you can still take advantage of heat pump installation in Montoursville.

Heat Pumps Can Be Less Efficient in Colder Weather

Heat pumps are commonly less efficient in cooler weather as a result of how they create climate control to begin with. Unlike furnaces, which burn fuel to provide heat, a heat pump reverses its stream of refrigerant to draw heat from outdoor air. This heat is then brought inside and circulated around your home. Assuming there is still a little heat energy in the air, a heat pump can function. But the colder the temperature, the less efficient this process is.

The less heat energy is usable outside, the more effort is required for a heat pump to pull heat indoors to maintain your desired temperature. It might depend on the type of make and model, but heat pumps may 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 is more effective.

What Temperatures Do Heat Pumps Work Best In?

Heat pumps function best in temperate climates 40 degrees and up. That being said, you don’t have to miss out on the benefits of a heat pump just because the local climate is colder. As a matter of fact, that’s why owning both a furnace and heat pump might be worth the cost. You can keep the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is cold enough to justify swapping to something like a gas furnace.

Some makes and models tout greater efficiency in cooler weather. For example, the Lennox MLA heat pump is capable of working 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 particularly 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 available, 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:

  • A source of backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one fails, you still have the ability 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
  • Lower energy costs – The ability to select which heating system you use according to the highest energy efficiency decreases your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the life span of these heaters can really add up to lots 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. Key parts will sometimes last longer as they’re not under continuous use.

If you’re still unsure about heat pump installation in Montoursville, 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 right option.