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

July 19, 2022

The concept of running both a furnace and heat pump can feel a bit odd at first. After all, why would you need two sources of heat? Even though furnaces and heat pumps both offer energy-efficient heat, the differences in their design genuinely make using both of them a viable option. It’s not for everybody, but in the right conditions you can truly benefit from having a furnace and a heat pump.

You should think about several factors in order to confirm if this type of setup suits you. Your local climate and the square footage of your home are both very important, particularly for the heat pump. This is because multiple models of heat pumps start to run less efficiently in colder weather and large homes. Even so, you can still benefit from heat pump installation in Lafayette.

Heat Pumps Might Be Less Effective in Winter Weather

Heat pumps are commonly less efficient in colder weather due to how they generate climate control in the first place. Unlike furnaces, which combust fuel to create heat, a heat pump reverses its flow of refrigerant to draw heat from outdoor air. This heat is then pulled inside and dispersed all through your home. Provided there is still some heat energy in the air, a heat pump can function. But the cooler the temperature, the less efficient this process is.

The less heat energy is usable outside, the more effort is required for a heat pump to bring heat indoors to generate your ideal temperature. It might depend on the type of make and model, but heat pumps may start to drop in efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and colder. They can still be an energy-efficient option until 20-25 degrees, after which a gas furnace will be more effective.

What Temperatures Do Heat Pumps Perform Best In?

Heat pumps function best in temperate climates 40 degrees and up. Having said that, you don’t have to sacrifice the benefits of a heat pump just because the local climate is cooler. After all, that’s why using both a furnace and heat pump might be worth the cost. You can favor the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is cold enough to call for swapping to something like a gas furnace.

Some makes and models tout greater effectiveness in cooler weather. For example, the Lennox MLA heat pump is capable of running at 100% capacity at 0°F. It can even continue running in temperatures as low as -22°F. For optimal energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to switch to the furnace in severely cold weather.

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

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

  • A source of backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one breaks down, you still have the ability to heat your home. It may not be the most energy efficient, but it’s better than having an unheated home while you wait for repairs
  • Fewer energy costs – The ability to choose which heating system you use according to the highest energy efficiency reduces your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the life of these systems 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 hardware will sometimes live longer since they’re not under continuous use.

If you’re still not sure about heat pump installation in Lafayette, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local professional technicians. They can walk you through your home’s comfort needs and help you determine if a dual-heating HVAC system is the ideal option.