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

July 19, 2022

The idea of running both a furnace and heat pump may seem a little unusual at first. After all, why would you need two heaters? Although furnaces and heat pumps both produce energy-efficient heat, the differences in their design genuinely make employing both of them a viable option. It’s not for everybody, but under the right conditions you will absolutely benefit from owning a furnace and a heat pump.

You’ll want to weigh several factors in order to confirm if this type of setup helps you. Your local climate and the size of your home are both very important, namely for the heat pump. This is because numerous models of heat pumps will run less efficiently in winter weather and large homes. At the same time, you can still benefit from heat pump installation in Abilene.

Heat Pumps Can Be Less Reliable in Colder Weather

Heat pumps are typically less efficient in colder weather because of how they provide climate control to start with. As opposed to furnaces, which combust fuel to generate heat, a heat pump reverses its supply of refrigerant to extract heat from outdoor air. This heat is then drawn inside and dispersed all through your home. Assuming there is still a bit of 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 pull heat indoors to generate your desired temperature. It may depend on the specific make and model, but heat pumps may start to lose efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and under. They still remain an energy-efficient option until 20-25 degrees, after which a gas furnace should be 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 miss out on the benefits of a heat pump just because your local climate is colder. In fact, that’s why using both a furnace and heat pump might be worth the expense. You can favor the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is cold enough to call for shifting to something like a gas furnace.

Certain makes and models claim greater performance in cooler weather. For example, the Lennox MLA heat pump is capable of operating at 100% capacity at 0°F. It can even remain functional in temperatures as extreme as -22°F. For optimum energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to switch to the furnace in particularly cold weather.

So Should I Install a Heat Pump If I Own 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 versatile, but it features other advantages such as:

  • Reliable backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one fails, you still have the capability 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
  • Fewer energy costs – The ability to select which heating system you use according to the highest energy efficiency decreases your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the life of these heating 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. Crucial components will sometimes live longer given that they’re not under nonstop use.

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

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