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

July 19, 2022

The concept of using both a furnace and heat pump can feel somewhat odd at first. After all, why would you need two heaters? While furnaces and heat pumps both deliver energy-efficient heat, the changes in their design actually make employing both of them a potential option. It’s not for everyone, but with the right conditions you will truly benefit from owning a furnace and a heat pump.

You’ll want to take a look at several factors in order to confirm if this sort 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 larger homes. Even so, you can still benefit from heat pump installation in Long Beach.

Heat Pumps Can Be Less Efficient in Winter Weather

Heat pumps are typically less effective in cooler weather as a result of how they generate climate control to start with. Compared to furnaces, which combust fuel to generate heat, a heat pump reverses its flow of refrigerant to pull heat from outdoor air. This heat is then brought inside and distributed throughout your home. As long as there is still a little heat energy in the air, a heat pump should function. But the colder the temperature, the less efficient 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 preferred temperature. It might depend on the exact make and model, but heat pumps may start to lose efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and under. They can still be an energy-efficient option until 20-25 degrees, at which a gas furnace will be more effective.

What Temperatures Do Heat Pumps Perform Best In?

Heat pumps work best in moderate climates 40 degrees and up. That said, you don’t have to sacrifice the benefits of a heat pump just because your local climate is colder. As a matter of fact, that’s why installing 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 cool enough to justify shifting to something like a gas furnace.

Certain makes and models feature 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 optimal energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to switch to the furnace in particularly cold weather.

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

If you’re thinking about maintaining the most energy-efficient HVAC system achievable, owning a heat pump and gas furnace at the same time deserves the investment. Not only is a dual-heating system flexible, but it provides other perks 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 living in an unheated home while you wait for repairs
  • Fewer energy costs – The ability to decide which heating system you use based on the highest energy efficiency reduces your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the life span 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 split between the furnace and heat pump. Crucial parts will sometimes survive longer as they’re not under constant use.

If you’re still uncertain about heat pump installation in Long Beach, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your local expert technicians. They can review your home’s comfort needs and help you determine if a dual-heating HVAC system is the better option.