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

July 19, 2022

The idea of using both a furnace and heat pump might feel a bit strange at first. After all, why should you need two heating systems? While furnaces and heat pumps both offer energy-efficient heat, the variations in their design actually make installing both of them a worthwhile option. It’s not for everybody, but under the right conditions you could truly benefit from owning a furnace and a heat pump.

You should consider several factors in order to determine if this sort of setup suits you. Your local climate and the dimensions of your home are both especially important, particularly for the heat pump. This is because many models of heat pumps will run less effectively in winter weather and larger homes. That being said, you can still benefit from heat pump installation in Kutztown.

Heat Pumps Might Be Less Efficient in Cold Weather

Heat pumps are typically less reliable in cold weather because of how they create climate control in the first place. Unlike furnaces, which combust fuel to provide heat, a heat pump reverses its flow of refrigerant to draw heat from outdoor air. This heat is then brought inside and dispersed throughout your home. As long as there is still a little heat energy in the air, a heat pump should function. But the lower the temperature, the less efficient 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 preferred temperature. It can depend on the exact make and model, but heat pumps generally start to drop in efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and colder. They still remain 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 manage best in moderate climates 40 degrees and up. Having said that, you don’t have to give up on the benefits of a heat pump just because your local climate is cold. In fact, that’s why owning both a furnace and heat pump may be worth the expense. You can use the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is cold enough to warrant swapping to something like a gas furnace.

A few makes and models boast greater efficiency in winter weather. For example, the Lennox MLA heat pump is capable of working at 100% capacity at 0°F. It can even remain functional in temperatures as cold as -22°F. For optimal energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to swap to the furnace in severely 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 achievable, installing a heat pump and gas furnace at the same time is worth the investment. Not only is a dual-heating system adaptable, but it provides other advantages including:

  • Dependable backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one breaks down, 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 sit around for repairs
  • Fewer energy costs – The ability to select which heating system you use based on the highest energy efficiency lowers 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 – Compared to running one system all winter long, heating resources are split between the furnace and heat pump. Key parts can last longer given that they’re not under constant use.

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