The idea of installing both a furnace and heat pump may sound a bit odd at first. After all, why would you need two heating systems? Although furnaces and heat pumps both offer energy-efficient heat, the changes in their design actually make using both of them a viable option. It’s not for all of us, but under the right conditions you can absolutely benefit from using a furnace and a heat pump.
You should weigh several factors in order to determine if this type of setup helps you. Your local climate and the dimensions of your home are both highly important, namely for the heat pump. This is because multiple models of heat pumps will function less efficiently in winter weather and large homes. At the same time, you can still reap the benefits of heat pump installation in Front Royal.
Heat Pumps May Be Less Efficient in Winter Weather
Heat pumps are commonly less effective in cooler weather as a result of how they generate climate control to begin with. Compared to furnaces, which ignite fuel to provide heat, a heat pump reverses its stream of refrigerant to extract heat from outdoor air. This heat is then pulled inside and distributed throughout your home. As long as 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 available outside, the more effort is required for a heat pump to draw heat indoors to generate your preferred temperature. It can depend on the exact make and model, but heat pumps can start to lose out on efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and below. They still remain an energy-efficient option until 20-25 degrees, at which a gas furnace will be more effective.
What Temperatures Do Heat Pumps Run Best In?
Heat pumps manage best in milder climates 40 degrees and up. That being said, you don’t have to sacrifice the benefits of a heat pump just because the local climate is cold. After all, that’s why having both a furnace and heat pump can be worth the costs. You can use 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 tout greater performance in cooler 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 cold as -22°F. For optimum energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to use the furnace in especially cold weather.
So Should I Install a Heat Pump If I Have a Gas Furnace?
If you’re interested in maintaining the most energy-efficient HVAC system available, installing a heat pump and gas furnace at the same time deserves the investment. Not only is a dual-heating system versatile, but it offers other benefits like:
- Reliable backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one stops working, you still have the ability 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 sit around for repairs
- Lower energy costs – The ability to decide which heating system you use according to the highest energy efficiency reduces your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the lifetime of these systems can really add up to a lot of savings
- Less strain on both systems – Rather than running one system all winter long, heating responsibilities are split between the furnace and heat pump. Key parts can last longer as they’re not under continuous use.
If you’re still uncertain about heat pump installation in Front Royal, don’t hesitate to contact your local expert technicians. They can walk you through your home’s comfort needs and help you determine if a dual-heating HVAC system is the ideal option.