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

July 19, 2022

The concept of using both a furnace and heat pump may sound a little odd at first. After all, why do you need two heaters? Although furnaces and heat pumps both produce energy-efficient heat, the differences in their design really make using 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 take a look at several factors in order to decide if this type of setup works for you. Your local climate and the square footage of your home are both highly important, particularly for the heat pump. This is because multiple models of heat pumps will work less effectively in cooler weather and bigger homes. Even so, you can still take advantage of heat pump installation in Wausau.

Heat Pumps May Be Less Reliable in Colder Weather

Heat pumps are typically less effective in colder weather because of how they generate climate control to begin with. Compared to furnaces, which combust fuel to generate heat, a heat pump reverses its stream of refrigerant to pull heat from outdoor air. This heat is then drawn inside and circulated throughout your home. As long as there is still a bit of heat energy in the air, a heat pump should function. But the lower the temperature, the less efficient this process is.

The less heat energy is available outside, the longer it takes a heat pump to draw heat indoors to generate your preferred temperature. It may depend on the exact make and model, but heat pumps can start to lose efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and under. They still remain 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 milder climates 40 degrees and up. Having said that, you don’t have to miss out on the benefits of a heat pump just because your local climate is cooler. In fact, that’s why having both a furnace and heat pump might be worth the costs. You can favor the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is cool enough to justify shifting to something like a gas furnace.

A few makes and models tout greater efficiency in cold weather. For example, the Lennox MLA heat pump is capable of operating at 100% capacity at 0°F. It can even remain efficient in temperatures as cold as -22°F. For optimum energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to use the furnace in particularly cold weather.

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

If you’re serious about 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 features other perks like:

  • A source of backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one stops working, you still have the capability to heat your home. It may not be the most energy efficient, but it’s better than shivering in an unheated home while you wait for repairs
  • Fewer energy costs – The ability to select which heating system you use according to the highest energy efficiency reduces your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the life of these heaters can really add up to plenty of savings
  • Less strain on both systems – Rather than running one system all winter long, heating responsibilities are separated between the furnace and heat pump. Key hardware will sometimes last longer as they’re not under nonstop use.

If you’re still hesitant about heat pump installation in Wausau, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local professional technicians. They can walk you through your home’s comfort needs and help you determine if a dual-heating HVAC system is the ideal option.