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

July 19, 2022

The thought of running both a furnace and heat pump might sound a bit unusual at first. After all, why should you need two sources of heat? Although furnaces and heat pumps both produce energy-efficient heat, the variations in their design actually make installing both of them a worthwhile option. It’s not for all of us, but with the right conditions you could absolutely benefit from having a furnace and a heat pump.

You'll need to weigh several factors in order to determine if this sort of setup works for you. Your local climate and the size of your home are both especially important, namely for the heat pump. This is because some models of heat pumps begin to work less effectively in colder weather and large homes. That being said, you can still benefit from heat pump installation in Paso Robles.

Heat Pumps Can Be Less Reliable in Colder Weather

Heat pumps are commonly less reliable in cold weather due to how they generate climate control to begin with. As opposed to furnaces, which ignite fuel to provide heat, a heat pump reverses its flow of refrigerant to extract heat from outdoor air. This heat is then drawn inside and distributed throughout your home. As long as there is still a bit of heat energy in the air, a heat pump will function. But the lower the temperature, the less reliable this process is.

The less heat energy is usable outside, the more time is needed for a heat pump to bring heat indoors to maintain your ideal temperature. It may depend on the type of make and model, but heat pumps may start to lose out on efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and under. They should still be 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 function best in milder climates 40 degrees and up. That being said, you don’t have to miss out on the benefits of a heat pump just because your local climate is cold. As a matter of fact, that’s why installing both a furnace and heat pump might be worth the costs. You can keep the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is chilly enough to warrant swapping to something like a gas furnace.

Some makes and models tout greater performance in cold weather. For example, the Lennox MLA heat pump is capable of working at 100% capacity at 0°F. It can even remain efficient in temperatures as cold as -22°F. For maximum energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to use the furnace in especially 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 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 advantages such as:

  • A source of backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one fails, you still have the capability to heat your home. It may not 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 pick which heating system you use based on the highest energy efficiency decreases your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the life of these systems can really add up to plenty of savings
  • Less strain on both systems – Instead of running one system all winter long, heating resources are split between the furnace and heat pump. Crucial hardware can live longer as they’re not under nonstop use.

If you’re still not sure about heat pump installation in Paso Robles, 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 determine if a dual-heating HVAC system is the right option.