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

July 19, 2022

The thought of using both a furnace and heat pump might feel a little unusual at first. After all, why would you need two sources of heat? Even though furnaces and heat pumps both produce energy-efficient heat, the differences in their design really make installing both of them a practical option. It’s not for all of us, but with the right conditions you could truly benefit from owning a furnace and a heat pump.

You’ll want to consider several factors in order to determine if this type of setup works for you. Your local climate and the size of your home are both highly important, particularly for the heat pump. This is because some models of heat pumps start to run less efficiently in winter weather and bigger homes. That being said, you can still reap the benefits of heat pump installation in Ballwin and St. Charles.

Heat Pumps Might Be Less Reliable in Winter Weather

Heat pumps are commonly less effective in colder weather due to how they generate climate control in the first place. Compared to furnaces, which burn fuel to provide heat, a heat pump reverses its stream of refrigerant to extract heat from outdoor air. This heat is then brought inside and distributed throughout your home. As long as there is still a bit of heat energy in the air, a heat pump can function. But the lower the temperature, the less effective this process is.

The less heat energy is available outside, the longer it takes a heat pump to pull heat indoors to reach your desired temperature. It can depend on the specific make and model, but heat pumps can start to lose out on efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and below. They should still be an energy-efficient option until 20-25 degrees, at which a gas furnace is more effective.

What Temperatures Do Heat Pumps Run Best In?

Heat pumps work best in temperate climates 40 degrees and up. That said, you don’t have to lose out on the benefits of a heat pump just because your local climate is colder. As a matter of fact, that’s why having both a furnace and heat pump can be worth the costs. You can favor the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is cold enough to justify swapping to something like a gas furnace.

Certain makes and models tout 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 continue running in temperatures as extreme as -22°F. For optimal energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to swap to the furnace in particularly cold weather.

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

If you’re interested in maintaining the most energy-efficient HVAC system available, having a heat pump and gas furnace at the same time is worth the investment. Not only is a dual-heating system flexible, but it offers other perks such as:

  • A source of backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one stops working, you still have the means to heat your home. It may not be the most energy efficient, but it’s better than having an unheated home while you wait for repairs
  • Lower energy costs – The ability to select which heating system you use based on the highest energy efficiency reduces your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the life span 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 responsibilities are divided between the furnace and heat pump. Key components can last longer given that they’re not under nonstop use.

If you’re still uncertain about heat pump installation in Ballwin and St. Charles, don’t hesitate to contact your local professional technicians. They can walk you through your home’s comfort needs and help you figure out if a dual-heating HVAC system is the better option.