The idea of using both a furnace and heat pump might feel a bit unusual at first. After all, why would you need two sources of heat? Although furnaces and heat pumps both produce energy-efficient heat, the changes in their design actually make employing both of them a potential option. It’s not for all of us, but in the right conditions you will truly benefit from owning a furnace and a heat pump.
You’ll want to think about several factors in order to decide if this kind 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 multiple models of heat pumps start to function less effectively in winter weather and larger homes. At the same time, you can still benefit from heat pump installation in Des Moines.
Heat Pumps May Be Less Reliable in Cold Weather
Heat pumps are generally less effective in cold weather because of how they create climate control to start with. As opposed to furnaces, which combust fuel to provide heat, a heat pump reverses its supply of refrigerant to draw heat from outdoor air. This heat is then drawn inside and distributed all through your home. Assuming there is still a bit of heat energy in the air, a heat pump will function. But the colder 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 draw heat indoors to generate your preferred temperature. It can depend on the type of make and model, but heat pumps may start to drop in efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and colder. They can still be an energy-efficient option until 20-25 degrees, at which a gas furnace is more effective.
What Temperatures Do Heat Pumps Work Best In?
Heat pumps manage best in milder 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. After all, that’s why owning both a furnace and heat pump may be worth the cost. You can use the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is cool enough to justify swapping to something like a gas furnace.
Some makes and models feature greater performance in cold 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 extreme as -22°F. For optimal energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to switch to the furnace in particularly cold weather.
So Should I Put in a Heat Pump if I Own a Gas Furnace?
If you’re thinking about maintaining the most energy-efficient HVAC system achievable, having a heat pump and gas furnace at the same time deserves the investment. Not only is a dual-heating system flexible, but it features other advantages such as:
- Reliable backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one breaks down, you still have the capability 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.
- Fewer energy costs – The ability to pick which heating system you use based on the highest energy efficiency decreases your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the lifetime of these heaters 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 survive longer given that they’re not under constant use.
If you’re still hesitant about heat pump installation in Des Moines, 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.