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 feel somewhat strange at first. After all, why should you need two sources of heat? Even though furnaces and heat pumps both provide energy-efficient heat, the changes in their design actually make using both of them a potential option. It’s not for everybody, but under the right conditions you could absolutely benefit from having a furnace and a heat pump.

You'll need to take a look at several factors in order to confirm if this kind of setup helps you. Your local climate and the square footage of your home are both highly important, especially for the heat pump. This is because multiple models of heat pumps will work less efficiently in winter weather and large homes. Even so, you can still take advantage of heat pump installation in Safford.

Heat Pumps May Be Less Reliable in Colder Weather

Heat pumps are typically less effective in cooler weather because of how they generate climate control to start with. As opposed to furnaces, which ignite fuel to generate heat, a heat pump reverses its stream of refrigerant to pull heat from outdoor air. This heat is then pulled inside and dispersed throughout your home. Provided there is still a little heat energy in the air, a heat pump can function. But the colder the temperature, the less reliable this process is.

The less heat energy is usable outside, the longer it takes a heat pump to pull heat indoors to maintain your preferred temperature. It can depend on the exact make and model, but heat pumps may start to lose efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and colder. They can still be an energy-efficient option until 20-25 degrees, at which a gas furnace is more effective.

What Temperatures Do Heat Pumps Perform Best In?

Heat pumps manage best in moderate climates 40 degrees and up. That said, you don’t have to lose out on the benefits of a heat pump just because the local climate is cold. In fact, that’s why having 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 cool 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 running at 100% capacity at 0°F. It can even continue running in temperatures as low as -22°F. For maximum energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to use the furnace in especially cold weather.

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

If you’re interested in maintaining the most energy-efficient HVAC system available, installing a heat pump and gas furnace at the same time is worth the investment. Not only is a dual-heating system versatile, but it provides other perks like:

  • Reliable backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one stops working, you still have the capability to heat your home. It won't always 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 pick which heating system you use based on the highest energy efficiency decreases your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the life span of these heaters 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 separated between the furnace and heat pump. Essential parts could live longer as they’re not under nonstop use.

If you’re still unsure about heat pump installation in Safford, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local certified technicians. They can review your home’s comfort needs and help you determine if a dual-heating HVAC system is the right option.