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

July 19, 2022

The thought of installing both a furnace and heat pump may feel a little unusual at first. After all, why should you need two heaters? While furnaces and heat pumps both produce energy-efficient heat, the variations in their design genuinely make installing both of them a reasonable option. It’s not for everybody, but under the right conditions you will absolutely benefit from having a furnace and a heat pump.

You'll need to weigh several factors in order to decide if this sort of setup works for you. Your local climate and the size of your home are both especially important, namely for the heat pump. This is because numerous models of heat pumps will run less efficiently in cooler weather and larger homes. At the same time, you can still reap the benefits of heat pump installation in Racine.

Heat Pumps Might Be Less Effective in Winter Weather

Heat pumps are commonly less effective in cold weather as a result of how they generate climate control to start with. As opposed to furnaces, which ignite fuel to create heat, a heat pump reverses its flow of refrigerant to pull heat from outdoor air. This heat is then pulled inside and distributed throughout your home. Provided there is still a little heat energy in the air, a heat pump can function. But the cooler the temperature, the less reliable this process is.

The less heat energy is usable outside, the more time is needed for a heat pump to pull heat indoors to maintain your desired temperature. It might depend on the exact make and model, but heat pumps generally start to lose efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and colder. 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 Run Best In?

Heat pumps manage 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 the local climate is cold. As a matter of fact, that’s why installing both a furnace and heat pump may be worth the costs. You can favor the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is chilly enough to call for shifting to something like a gas furnace.

A few makes and models claim greater efficiency in cooler weather. For example, the Lennox MLA heat pump is capable of working at 100% capacity at 0°F. It can even continue running in temperatures as low as -22°F. For optimum energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to swap to the furnace in severely cold weather.

So Should I Get a Heat Pump If I Own a Gas Furnace?

If you’re serious about maintaining the most energy-efficient HVAC system possible, having a heat pump and gas furnace at the same time warrants the investment. Not only is a dual-heating system adaptable, but it offers other advantages including:

  • Dependable backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one fails, you still have the means to heat your home. It might not be the most energy efficient, but it’s better than having an unheated home while you sit around for repairs
  • Fewer energy costs – The ability to select which heating system you use depending on the highest energy efficiency decreases your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the life span of these heating systems can really add up to a lot of savings
  • Less strain on both systems – Instead of running one system all winter long, heating duties are split between the furnace and heat pump. Key components can survive longer given that they’re not under continuous use.

If you’re still uncertain about heat pump installation in Racine, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local certified technicians. They can evaluate your home’s comfort needs and help you decide if a dual-heating HVAC system is the right option.