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

July 19, 2022

The thought of running both a furnace and heat pump can feel somewhat odd at first. After all, why do you need two sources of heat? Although furnaces and heat pumps both deliver energy-efficient heat, the changes in their design actually make installing both of them a worthwhile option. It’s not for all of us, but in the right conditions you could definitely benefit from owning a furnace and a heat pump.

You'll need to weigh several factors in order to decide if this kind of setup works for you. Your local climate and the square footage of your home are both very important, particularly for the heat pump. This is because many models of heat pumps start to work less effectively in cooler weather and large homes. At the same time, you can still reap the benefits of heat pump installation in Marshfield.

Heat Pumps Can Be Less Reliable in Colder Weather

Heat pumps are commonly less effective in cooler weather because of how they generate climate control to start with. As opposed to furnaces, which combust fuel to generate heat, a heat pump reverses its supply of refrigerant to draw heat from outdoor air. This heat is then pulled inside and circulated around your home. Provided there is still a little heat energy in the air, a heat pump will function. But the lower the temperature, the less efficient this process is.

The less heat energy is accessible outside, the longer it takes a heat pump to bring heat indoors to generate your preferred temperature. It might depend on the type of make and model, but heat pumps generally start to lose efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and below. 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 Run Best In?

Heat pumps work best in temperate 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 installing both a furnace and heat pump might be worth the cost. You can use the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is cold enough to justify switching to something like a gas furnace.

A few makes and models tout 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 remain functional in temperatures as extreme as -22°F. For maximum energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to switch to the furnace in especially cold weather.

So Should I Get a Heat Pump If I Have a Gas Furnace?

If you’re serious about maintaining the most energy-efficient HVAC system achievable, 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 benefits including:

  • Dependable backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one breaks down, 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
  • Fewer energy costs – The ability to select which heating system you use based on the highest energy efficiency lowers your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the lifetime of these systems can really add up to lots of savings
  • Less strain on both systems – Instead of running one system all winter long, heating duties are separated between the furnace and heat pump. Crucial hardware will sometimes last longer since they’re not under nonstop use.

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