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

July 19, 2022

The concept of running both a furnace and heat pump can sound a little odd at first. After all, why should you need two heating systems? Although furnaces and heat pumps both offer energy-efficient heat, the differences in their design genuinely make using both of them a practical option. It’s not for everyone, but in the right conditions you will definitely benefit from owning a furnace and a heat pump.

You should weigh several factors in order to determine if this sort of setup works for you. Your local climate and the square footage of your home are both very important, especially for the heat pump. This is because some models of heat pumps will function less efficiently in colder weather and large homes. Even so, you can still benefit from heat pump installation in Saint Petersburg.

Heat Pumps Can Be Less Effective in Winter Weather

Heat pumps are generally less effective in cooler weather because of how they create climate control to start with. Unlike furnaces, which combust fuel to generate heat, a heat pump reverses its stream of refrigerant to draw heat from outdoor air. This heat is then drawn inside and distributed around your home. Provided there is still some heat energy in the air, a heat pump will function. But the colder the temperature, the less efficient this process is.

The less heat energy is accessible outside, the more effort is required for a heat pump to pull heat indoors to generate your preferred temperature. It may depend on the type of make and model, but heat pumps generally start to lose out on 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 milder climates 40 degrees and up. That being said, you don’t have to lose out on the benefits of a heat pump just because your local climate is colder. In fact, that’s why installing both a furnace and heat pump might be worth the costs. You can favor the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is chilly enough to warrant switching to something like a gas furnace.

Certain makes and models feature greater performance in cooler weather. For example, the Lennox MLA heat pump is capable of running 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 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 available, 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 provides other advantages like:

  • A source of backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one breaks down, you still have the ability to heat your home. It may not be the most energy efficient, but it’s better than having an unheated home while you hold out for repairs
  • Lower energy costs – The ability to select which heating system you use based on the highest energy efficiency decreases your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the life of these heaters can really add up to lots of savings
  • Less strain on both systems – Compared to running one system all winter long, heating duties are split between the furnace and heat pump. Essential hardware could live longer given that they’re not under nonstop use.

If you’re still hesitant about heat pump installation in Saint Petersburg, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local certified technicians. They can review your home’s comfort needs and help you figure out if a dual-heating HVAC system is the better option.