The idea of running both a furnace and heat pump might sound somewhat odd at first. After all, why do you need two heating systems? Although furnaces and heat pumps both produce energy-efficient heat, the differences in their design really make using both of them a practical option. It’s not for all of us, but under the right conditions you will truly benefit from having a furnace and a heat pump.
You should consider several factors in order to decide if this sort of setup helps you. Your local climate and the square footage of your home are both very important, especially for the heat pump. This is because many models of heat pumps begin to work less efficiently in winter weather and large homes. At the same time, you can still benefit from heat pump installation in the Bay Area.
Heat Pumps Can Be Less Reliable in Colder Weather
Heat pumps are generally less reliable in colder weather because of how they generate climate control to begin with. Compared to furnaces, which combust fuel to create heat, a heat pump reverses its supply of refrigerant to extract heat from outdoor air. This heat is then drawn inside and dispersed throughout your home. Provided there is still a little heat energy in the air, a heat pump should function. But the cooler the temperature, the less reliable this process is.
The less heat energy is accessible outside, the more time is needed for a heat pump to pull heat indoors to reach your ideal temperature. It might depend on the type of make and model, but heat pumps may start to lose out on efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and colder. They should still be an energy-efficient option until 20-25 degrees, at which a gas furnace will be 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 the local climate is colder. In fact, that’s why using both a furnace and heat pump may be worth the expense. You can favor the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is cold enough to justify switching to something like a gas furnace.
A few makes and models claim greater effectiveness in cold 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 Put In a Heat Pump If I Use a Gas Furnace?
If you’re serious about maintaining the most energy-efficient HVAC system possible, installing a heat pump and gas furnace at the same time deserves the investment. Not only is a dual-heating system adaptable, but it features other advantages such as:
- A source of backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one fails, you still have the capability to heat your home. It might not be the most energy efficient, but it’s better than shivering in an unheated home while you sit around for repairs
- Reduced 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 lifetime of these systems can really add up to plenty of savings
- Less strain on both systems – Instead of running one system all winter long, heating responsibilities are divided between the furnace and heat pump. Crucial components could live longer since they’re not under nonstop use.
If you’re still not sure about heat pump installation in the Bay Area, don’t hesitate to get in touch with 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 right option.