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

July 19, 2022

The idea of installing both a furnace and heat pump may sound somewhat unusual at first. After all, why do you need two heating systems? Even though furnaces and heat pumps both provide energy-efficient heat, the variations in their design genuinely make installing both of them a potential option. It’s not for everybody, but with the right conditions you could truly benefit from owning a furnace and a heat pump.

You’ll want to think about several factors in order to determine if this type 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 some models of heat pumps start to run less effectively in colder weather and large homes. That being said, you can still reap the benefits of heat pump installation in Marshalltown.

Heat Pumps Might Be Less Effective in Winter Weather

Heat pumps are commonly less efficient in cooler weather as a result of how they create climate control to start with. As opposed to furnaces, which ignite fuel to provide heat, a heat pump reverses its supply of refrigerant to extract heat from outdoor air. This heat is then drawn inside and circulated all through your home. As long as there is still some heat energy in the air, a heat pump will function. But the lower the temperature, the less efficient this process is.

The less heat energy is usable outside, the longer it takes a heat pump to draw heat indoors to maintain your desired temperature. It might depend on the exact make and model, but heat pumps may start to lose out on efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and below. 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 Perform Best In?

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

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

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

If you’re thinking about maintaining the most energy-efficient HVAC system available, installing a heat pump and gas furnace at the same time warrants the investment. Not only is a dual-heating system adaptable, but it features other benefits like:

  • Reliable 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
  • Lower energy costs – The ability to decide which heating system you use based 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 – Rather than running one system all winter long, heating responsibilities are divided between the furnace and heat pump. Crucial parts could last longer given that they’re not under nonstop use.

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