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

July 19, 2022

The thought of running both a furnace and heat pump might seem somewhat strange at first. After all, why should you need two sources of heat? Even though furnaces and heat pumps both offer energy-efficient heat, the differences in their design actually make installing both of them a potential option. It’s not for all of us, but in the right conditions you can definitely benefit from having a furnace and a heat pump.

You'll need to weigh several factors in order to determine if this type of setup helps you. Your local climate and the square footage of your home are both especially important, particularly for the heat pump. This is because many models of heat pumps start to function less efficiently in winter weather and larger homes. That being said, you can still reap the benefits of heat pump installation in Ellsworth.

Heat Pumps May Be Less Efficient in Cold Weather

Heat pumps are commonly less efficient in colder weather due to how they create climate control in the first place. Compared to furnaces, which burn fuel to create heat, a heat pump reverses its supply of refrigerant to draw heat from outdoor air. This heat is then drawn inside and circulated around your home. As long as there is still a bit of heat energy in the air, a heat pump will function. But the cooler the temperature, the less effective this process is.

The less heat energy is available outside, the longer it takes a heat pump to bring heat indoors to reach your desired temperature. It may depend on the exact make and model, but heat pumps can start to lose out on 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 is more effective.

What Temperatures Do Heat Pumps Run Best In?

Heat pumps function best in milder climates 40 degrees and up. That said, you don’t have to give up on the benefits of a heat pump just because your local climate is cold. As a matter of fact, that’s why using both a furnace and heat pump may be worth the cost. You can use the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is cool enough to call for switching to something like a gas furnace.

Some makes and models tout greater efficiency in cold 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 extreme as -22°F. For optimum 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 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 deserves the investment. Not only is a dual-heating system adaptable, but it provides other benefits such as:

  • A source of backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one breaks down, you still have the capability to heat your home. It might 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 decide which heating system you use according to the highest energy efficiency decreases your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the life 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 duties are separated between the furnace and heat pump. Essential components will sometimes live longer given that they’re not under constant use.

If you’re still not sure about heat pump installation in Ellsworth, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your local certified technicians. They can review your home’s comfort needs and help you decide if a dual-heating HVAC system is the right option.