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

July 19, 2022

The thought of installing both a furnace and heat pump might sound somewhat unusual at first. After all, why would you need two sources of heat? Even though furnaces and heat pumps both deliver energy-efficient heat, the changes in their design genuinely make installing both of them a reasonable option. It’s not for everybody, but under the right conditions you will truly benefit from owning a furnace and a heat pump.

You'll need to weigh several factors in order to decide if this sort of setup works for you. Your local climate and the size of your home are both very important, especially for the heat pump. This is because multiple models of heat pumps begin to work less efficiently in colder weather and large homes. Even so, you can still reap the benefits of heat pump installation in Northglenn.

Heat Pumps May Be Less Reliable in Cold Weather

Heat pumps are typically less effective in colder weather as a result of how they provide climate control in the first place. As opposed to furnaces, which burn fuel to create heat, a heat pump reverses its flow of refrigerant to extract heat from outdoor air. This heat is then drawn inside and dispersed throughout your home. As long as there is still a bit of heat energy in the air, a heat pump should function. But the cooler the temperature, the less effective this process is.

The less heat energy is available outside, the more effort is required for a heat pump to bring heat indoors to reach your desired temperature. It can depend on the specific make and model, but heat pumps can start to lose out on efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and below. They still remain an energy-efficient option until 20-25 degrees, at which point a gas furnace will be more effective.

What Temperatures Do Heat Pumps Perform Best In?

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

A few makes and models claim 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 remain functional in temperatures as extreme as -22°F. For optimal energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to use the furnace in particularly cold weather.

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

If you’re serious about maintaining the most energy-efficient HVAC system possible, having a heat pump and gas furnace at the same time warrants the investment. Not only is a dual-heating system versatile, but it provides other perks including:

  • Dependable backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one breaks down, you still have the means 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 select which heating system you use depending on the highest energy efficiency lowers 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 – Compared to running one system all winter long, heating resources are split between the furnace and heat pump. Essential parts may live longer given that they’re not under nonstop use.

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