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

July 19, 2022

The idea of using both a furnace and heat pump can sound a bit unusual at first. After all, why do you need two sources of heat? Although furnaces and heat pumps both offer energy-efficient heat, the changes in their design genuinely make using both of them a worthwhile option. It’s not for everybody, but in the right conditions you could truly benefit from using a furnace and a heat pump.

You'll need to think about several factors in order to confirm if this sort of setup works for you. Your local climate and the square footage of your home are both especially important, especially for the heat pump. This is because some models of heat pumps start to function less effectively in colder weather and larger homes. Even so, you can still benefit from heat pump installation in Buellton.

Heat Pumps Can Be Less Effective in Winter Weather

Heat pumps are generally less effective in cooler weather as a result of how they create climate control to begin with. As opposed to furnaces, which ignite fuel to provide heat, a heat pump reverses its flow of refrigerant to pull heat from outdoor air. This heat is then brought inside and distributed around your home. As long as there is still a bit of heat energy in the air, a heat pump can function. But the lower the temperature, the less efficient this process is.

The less heat energy is available outside, the more effort is required for a heat pump to draw heat indoors to maintain your preferred temperature. It may depend on the exact make and model, but heat pumps can start to drop in efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and below. They should still be an energy-efficient option until 20-25 degrees, at which point a gas furnace will be more effective.

What Temperatures Do Heat Pumps Work Best In?

Heat pumps manage best in moderate climates 40 degrees and up. That being said, you don’t have to give up on the benefits of a heat pump just because your local climate is colder. In fact, that’s why having both a furnace and heat pump may be worth the costs. You can favor the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is cold enough to justify swapping to something like a gas furnace.

Certain makes and models claim greater effectiveness 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 extreme as -22°F. For maximum energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to switch to the furnace in especially cold weather.

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

If you’re interested in maintaining the most energy-efficient HVAC system possible, owning a heat pump and gas furnace at the same time deserves the investment. Not only is a dual-heating system flexible, but it features other perks such as:

  • A source of backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one stops working, you still have the capability to heat your home. It might not be the most energy efficient, but it’s better than living in an unheated home while you wait for repairs
  • Lower energy costs – The ability to select which heating system you use based on the highest energy efficiency reduces 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. Key hardware will sometimes survive longer since they’re not under continuous use.

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