The concept of using both a furnace and heat pump might feel somewhat odd at first. After all, why should you need two sources of heat? While furnaces and heat pumps both offer energy-efficient heat, the changes in their design actually make using both of them a practical option. It’s not for everybody, but under the right conditions you can definitely benefit from having a furnace and a heat pump.
You'll need to consider several factors in order to determine if this type of setup works for you. Your local climate and the size of your home are both very important, namely for the heat pump. This is because multiple models of heat pumps begin to run less efficiently in colder weather and bigger homes. Even so, you can still reap the benefits of heat pump installation in Norco and St. Charles Parish.
Heat Pumps May Be Less Reliable in Cold Weather
Heat pumps are generally less efficient in colder weather due to how they create climate control to begin with. As opposed to furnaces, which combust fuel to provide heat, a heat pump reverses its flow of refrigerant to draw heat from outdoor air. This heat is then brought inside and circulated all through your home. Assuming there is still a bit of heat energy in the air, a heat pump will function. But the lower the temperature, the less effective this process is.
The less heat energy is available outside, the more effort is required for a heat pump to draw heat indoors to reach your preferred 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 under. They can still be an energy-efficient option until 20-25 degrees, at which point a gas furnace is more effective.
What Temperatures Do Heat Pumps Perform Best In?
Heat pumps work best in temperate climates 40 degrees and up. That said, you don’t have to miss out on the benefits of a heat pump just because your 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 cold enough to call for swapping to something like a gas furnace.
A few makes and models tout greater performance in cold 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 optimal energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to use the furnace in particularly cold weather.
So Should I Install a Heat Pump If I Own 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 flexible, but it provides other advantages such as:
- Reliable backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one fails, you still have the means to heat your home. It won't always be the most energy efficient, but it’s better than living in an unheated home while you wait for repairs
- Fewer 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 lifetime of these heating systems can really add up to a lot of savings
- Less strain on both systems – Compared to running one system all winter long, heating responsibilities are split between the furnace and heat pump. Crucial components will sometimes last longer given that they’re not under continuous use.
If you’re still uncertain about heat pump installation in Norco and St. Charles Parish, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local expert technicians. They can evaluate your home’s comfort needs and help you determine if a dual-heating HVAC system is the better option.