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

July 19, 2022

The idea of running both a furnace and heat pump might feel somewhat unusual at first. After all, why should you need two sources of heat? While furnaces and heat pumps both deliver energy-efficient heat, the variations in their design really make installing both of them a practical option. It’s not for all of us, but in the right conditions you will definitely benefit from having a furnace and a heat pump.

You'll need to consider several factors in order to confirm if this kind of setup suits you. Your local climate and the dimensions of your home are both especially important, especially for the heat pump. This is because some models of heat pumps begin to work less efficiently in winter weather and larger homes. That being said, you can still benefit from heat pump installation in Brookfield.

Heat Pumps Might Be Less Effective in Winter Weather

Heat pumps are typically less reliable in cold weather as a result of how they create climate control in the first place. Unlike furnaces, which combust fuel to create heat, a heat pump reverses its stream of refrigerant to draw heat from outdoor air. This heat is then pulled inside and distributed throughout your home. As long as there is still a little heat energy in the air, a heat pump can 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 ideal temperature. It might depend on the specific make and model, but heat pumps generally start to drop in efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and below. 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 Run Best In?

Heat pumps function best in temperate 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. After all, that’s why installing both a furnace and heat pump can be worth the cost. You can keep the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is chilly enough to call for switching to something like a gas furnace.

Certain makes and models claim greater performance in winter 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 low as -22°F. For optimal energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to use the furnace in severely cold weather.

So Should I Install a Heat Pump If I Have a Gas Furnace?

If you’re serious about maintaining the most energy-efficient HVAC system available, owning a heat pump and gas furnace at the same time deserves the investment. Not only is a dual-heating system versatile, but it features other benefits like:

  • Reliable backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one stops working, you still have the means to heat your home. It won't always be the most energy efficient, but it’s better than shivering in an unheated home while you wait for repairs
  • Lower energy costs – The ability to pick which heating system you use based on the highest energy efficiency reduces your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the life span of these heating systems can really add up to plenty of savings
  • Less strain on both systems – Instead of running one system all winter long, heating responsibilities are separated between the furnace and heat pump. Essential parts could last longer since they’re not under nonstop use.

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