The concept of using both a furnace and heat pump may sound a bit unusual at first. After all, why should you need two sources of heat? Even though furnaces and heat pumps both offer energy-efficient heat, the variations in their design genuinely make using both of them a viable option. It’s not for everyone, but under the right conditions you could truly benefit from using a furnace and a heat pump.
You’ll want to consider several factors in order to determine if this kind of setup helps you. Your local climate and the dimensions of your home are both very important, especially for the heat pump. This is because multiple models of heat pumps will function less efficiently in colder weather and large homes. Even so, you can still reap the benefits of heat pump installation in Des Moines.
Heat Pumps May Be Less Effective in Winter Weather
Heat pumps are typically less efficient in colder weather because of how they generate climate control to start with. Compared to furnaces, which burn fuel to generate heat, a heat pump reverses its flow of refrigerant to extract heat from outdoor air. This heat is then drawn inside and distributed throughout your home. Assuming there is still some heat energy in the air, a heat pump should function. But the cooler the temperature, the less efficient this process is.
The less heat energy is accessible outside, the longer it takes a heat pump to bring heat indoors to maintain your preferred temperature. It may depend on the specific make and model, but heat pumps can start to drop in efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and colder. They can still be an energy-efficient option until 20-25 degrees, after which a gas furnace will be more effective.
What Temperatures Do Heat Pumps Run Best In?
Heat pumps function best in temperate climates 40 degrees and up. That being said, you don’t have to lose out on the benefits of a heat pump just because your local climate is cooler. In fact, that’s why owning 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 warrant switching 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 operating at 100% capacity at 0°F. It can even continue running in temperatures as cold 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 versatile, but it provides other benefits like:
- A source of backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one fails, you still have the ability to heat your home. It may not be the most energy efficient, but it’s better than shivering in an unheated home while you hold out for repairs
- Fewer energy costs – The ability to pick which heating system you use according to the highest energy efficiency reduces your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the life of these heating systems can really add up to a lot of savings
- Less strain on both systems – Rather than running one system all winter long, heating resources are split between the furnace and heat pump. Crucial components may live longer since they’re not under nonstop use.
If you’re still uncertain about heat pump installation in Des Moines, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local professional technicians. They can walk you through your home’s comfort needs and help you decide if a dual-heating HVAC system is the better option.