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

July 19, 2022

The idea of installing both a furnace and heat pump can sound a little strange at first. After all, why would you need two heating systems? Even though furnaces and heat pumps both offer energy-efficient heat, the variations in their design really make employing both of them a viable option. It’s not for all of us, but in the right conditions you will definitely benefit from using a furnace and a heat pump.

You should weigh several factors in order to determine if this type of setup works for you. Your local climate and the dimensions of your home are both especially important, namely for the heat pump. This is because multiple models of heat pumps will run less effectively in cooler weather and bigger homes. At the same time, you can still take advantage of heat pump installation in Rockford.

Heat Pumps Can Be Less Efficient in Winter Weather

Heat pumps are generally less effective in colder weather as a result of how they provide climate control to begin with. Unlike furnaces, which combust fuel to generate heat, a heat pump reverses its supply of refrigerant to pull heat from outdoor air. This heat is then brought inside and dispersed around your home. As long as there is still some heat energy in the air, a heat pump should function. But the colder the temperature, the less reliable this process is.

The less heat energy is usable outside, the longer it takes a heat pump to pull heat indoors to generate your preferred temperature. It might depend on the type of make and model, but heat pumps may start to lose efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and colder. They can still be an energy-efficient option until 20-25 degrees, at which 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 miss out on the benefits of a heat pump just because your local climate is colder. In fact, that’s why using 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 chilly enough to call for 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 remain functional in temperatures as low as -22°F. For maximum energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to switch to the furnace in severely cold weather.

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

If you’re thinking about maintaining the most energy-efficient HVAC system possible, installing a heat pump and gas furnace at the same time warrants the investment. Not only is a dual-heating system adaptable, but it offers 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 having an unheated home while you wait for repairs
  • Reduced energy costs – The ability to choose which heating system you use according to the highest energy efficiency lowers your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the life of these heating systems can really add up to plenty of savings
  • Less strain on both systems – Rather than running one system all winter long, heating resources are divided between the furnace and heat pump. Key parts will sometimes live longer as they’re not under continuous use.

If you’re still unsure about heat pump installation in Rockford, don’t hesitate to reach out to 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 ideal option.