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

July 19, 2022

The concept of running both a furnace and heat pump can seem somewhat unusual at first. After all, why do you need two heating systems? Although furnaces and heat pumps both deliver energy-efficient heat, the differences in their design actually make using both of them a viable option. It’s not for all of us, but with the right conditions you can truly benefit from having a furnace and a heat pump.

You should weigh several factors in order to confirm if this kind of setup works for you. Your local climate and the square footage of your home are both highly important, namely for the heat pump. This is because numerous models of heat pumps start to function less efficiently in colder weather and larger homes. Even so, you can still take advantage of heat pump installation in Longview.

Heat Pumps Can Be Less Effective in Cold Weather

Heat pumps are commonly less efficient in cold weather due to how they create climate control in the first place. Compared to furnaces, which burn fuel to create heat, a heat pump reverses its supply of refrigerant to draw heat from outdoor air. This heat is then brought inside and dispersed all through your home. Assuming there is still a little heat energy in the air, a heat pump will function. But the lower the temperature, the less effective this process is.

The less heat energy is usable outside, the more time is needed for a heat pump to pull heat indoors to maintain your preferred temperature. It might depend on the specific make and model, but heat pumps generally start to lose efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and colder. They still remain an energy-efficient option until 20-25 degrees, at which point a gas furnace should be more effective.

What Temperatures Do Heat Pumps Work Best In?

Heat pumps work best in temperate climates 40 degrees and up. That being said, you don’t have to sacrifice the benefits of a heat pump just because the local climate is colder. In fact, that’s why installing 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 cold enough to call for swapping to something like a gas furnace.

Some 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 continue running in temperatures as cold as -22°F. For optimum energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to swap to the furnace in especially cold weather.

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

If you’re serious about maintaining the most energy-efficient HVAC system possible, owning a heat pump and gas furnace at the same time warrants the investment. Not only is a dual-heating system flexible, but it provides other advantages including:

  • Dependable backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one breaks down, you still have the means 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 hold out for repairs
  • Reduced energy costs – The ability to choose which heating system you use according to the highest energy efficiency reduces your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the lifetime of these heating systems can really add up to a lot of savings
  • Less strain on both systems – Compared to running one system all winter long, heating responsibilities are separated between the furnace and heat pump. Key parts will sometimes live longer as they’re not under constant use.

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