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

July 19, 2022

The concept of installing both a furnace and heat pump might seem a little odd at first. After all, why should you need two heaters? Although furnaces and heat pumps both provide energy-efficient heat, the differences in their design actually make employing both of them a worthwhile option. It’s not for everybody, but in the right conditions you could absolutely benefit from owning a furnace and a heat pump.

You'll need to think about several factors in order to decide if this type of setup works for you. Your local climate and the dimensions of your home are both highly important, especially for the heat pump. This is because numerous models of heat pumps start to run less effectively in cooler weather and bigger homes. That being said, you can still take advantage of heat pump installation in Kearney.

Heat Pumps Might Be Less Effective in Winter Weather

Heat pumps are commonly less efficient in colder weather as a result of how they generate climate control to begin with. Compared to furnaces, which combust fuel to provide heat, a heat pump reverses its stream of refrigerant to pull heat from outdoor air. This heat is then drawn inside and circulated throughout your home. Provided there is still some heat energy in the air, a heat pump will function. But the lower the temperature, the less reliable this process is.

The less heat energy is available outside, the more time is needed for a heat pump to draw heat indoors to generate your ideal temperature. It can depend on the specific make and model, but heat pumps generally start to lose efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and colder. They still remain an energy-efficient option until 20-25 degrees, after which a gas furnace is more effective.

What Temperatures Do Heat Pumps Run Best In?

Heat pumps manage best in milder 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 cooler. After all, that’s why installing both a furnace and heat pump might be worth the expense. You can keep the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is cool enough to call for switching to something like a gas furnace.

A few makes and models boast greater efficiency in cooler weather. For example, the Lennox MLA heat pump is capable of operating at 100% capacity at 0°F. It can even continue running in temperatures as cold as -22°F. For optimum energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to use the furnace in particularly cold weather.

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

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

  • Dependable backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one stops working, you still have the means to heat your home. It won't always 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 decide which heating system you use depending on the highest energy efficiency lowers your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the life of these heating systems can really add up to a lot of savings
  • Less strain on both systems – Instead of running one system all winter long, heating duties are divided between the furnace and heat pump. Crucial hardware could survive longer given that they’re not under constant use.

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