Should I Install a Furnace with a Heat Pump? It Depends

July 19, 2022

The concept of installing both a furnace and heat pump can feel a bit unusual at first. After all, why should you need two heaters? While furnaces and heat pumps both offer energy-efficient heat, the differences in their design really make employing both of them a reasonable option. It’s not for everyone, but with the right conditions you can definitely benefit from having a furnace and a heat pump.

You should think about several factors in order to decide if this type of setup works for you. Your local climate and the square footage of your home are both very important, namely for the heat pump. This is because many models of heat pumps will function less efficiently in winter weather and bigger homes. Even so, you can still benefit from heat pump installation in Opelika.

Heat Pumps May Be Less Reliable in Cold Weather

Heat pumps are commonly less reliable in cold weather due to how they create climate control in the first place. As opposed to furnaces, which combust fuel to provide heat, a heat pump reverses its supply of refrigerant to pull heat from outdoor air. This heat is then pulled inside and circulated around your home. Assuming there is still some heat energy in the air, a heat pump should function. But the lower the temperature, the less efficient 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 may depend on the exact make and model, but heat pumps generally start to lose efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and below. They can still be 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. Having said that, you don’t have to give up on the benefits of a heat pump just because the local climate is cooler. In fact, that’s why owning both a furnace and heat pump can be worth the expense. You can favor the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is cold enough to warrant swapping to something like a gas furnace.

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

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

If you’re thinking 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:

  • Reliable backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one stops working, you still have the ability to heat your home. It might 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 pick which heating system you use depending on the highest energy efficiency decreases 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 resources are divided between the furnace and heat pump. Crucial hardware could last longer since they’re not under nonstop use.

If you’re still hesitant about heat pump installation in Opelika, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your local certified technicians. They can walk you through your home’s comfort needs and help you figure out if a dual-heating HVAC system is the ideal option.