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

July 19, 2022

The idea of running both a furnace and heat pump might seem somewhat odd at first. After all, why do you need two heating systems? Even though furnaces and heat pumps both deliver energy-efficient heat, the variations in their design really make employing both of them a reasonable option. It’s not for everybody, but in the right conditions you will truly benefit from using a furnace and a heat pump.

You’ll want to take a look at several factors in order to determine if this kind of setup works for you. Your local climate and the square footage of your home are both very important, especially for the heat pump. This is because multiple models of heat pumps start to work less efficiently in winter weather and large homes. At the same time, you can still reap the benefits of heat pump installation in Milledgeville and Middle Georgia.

Heat Pumps Might Be Less Reliable in Winter Weather

Heat pumps are typically less efficient in colder weather due to how they create climate control to begin with. Unlike 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 drawn inside and dispersed throughout your home. As long as there is still some heat energy in the air, a heat pump can function. But the cooler the temperature, the less reliable this process is.

The less heat energy is accessible outside, the more time is needed for a heat pump to bring heat indoors to generate your ideal temperature. It might depend on the specific make and model, but heat pumps may start to lose out on 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 will be more effective.

What Temperatures Do Heat Pumps Perform Best In?

Heat pumps work best in moderate 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. As a matter of fact, that’s why having both a furnace and heat pump may be worth the expense. You can favor the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is chilly enough to warrant shifting to something like a gas furnace.

Some makes and models feature greater efficiency in winter weather. For example, the Lennox MLA heat pump is capable of running at 100% capacity at 0°F. It can even remain functional in temperatures as low as -22°F. For optimal energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to swap to the furnace in severely 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 flexible, but it features other benefits including:

  • A source of backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one fails, you still have the capability to heat your home. It may not be the most energy efficient, but it’s better than having an unheated home while you hold out for repairs
  • Reduced energy costs – The ability to choose which heating system you use based on the highest energy efficiency reduces your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the life of these heaters can really add up to plenty of savings
  • Less strain on both systems – Compared to running one system all winter long, heating duties are separated between the furnace and heat pump. Key parts may survive longer given that they’re not under constant use.

If you’re still hesitant about heat pump installation in Milledgeville and Middle Georgia, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local professional technicians. They can evaluate your home’s comfort needs and help you decide if a dual-heating HVAC system is the best option.