The concept of running both a furnace and heat pump might seem a bit unusual at first. After all, why would you need two heating systems? While furnaces and heat pumps both provide energy-efficient heat, the changes in their design actually make using both of them a viable option. It’s not for everybody, but in the right conditions you can definitely benefit from using a furnace and a heat pump.
You should think about several factors in order to determine if this kind of setup helps you. Your local climate and the dimensions of your home are both especially important, especially for the heat pump. This is because multiple models of heat pumps start to run less effectively in colder weather and large homes. That being said, you can still reap the benefits of heat pump installation in Houston.
Heat Pumps Might Be Less Effective in Winter Weather
Heat pumps are commonly less reliable in cooler weather due to how they create climate control in the first place. Unlike furnaces, which combust fuel to create heat, a heat pump reverses its flow of refrigerant to draw heat from outdoor air. This heat is then brought 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 efficient this process is.
The less heat energy is available outside, the more time is needed for a heat pump to pull heat indoors to generate your desired temperature. It may depend on the exact make and model, but heat pumps generally start to drop in efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and below. They should still be an energy-efficient option until 20-25 degrees, after which a gas furnace should be more effective.
What Temperatures Do Heat Pumps Run Best In?
Heat pumps work best in temperate climates 40 degrees and up. That being said, you don’t have to give up on the benefits of a heat pump just because the local climate is cooler. After all, that’s why installing both a furnace and heat pump might be worth the expense. You can favor the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is cold enough to justify shifting to something like a gas furnace.
A few makes and models tout 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 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 Own a Gas Furnace?
If you’re serious about maintaining the most energy-efficient HVAC system achievable, installing a heat pump and gas furnace at the same time warrants the investment. Not only is a dual-heating system versatile, but it offers other benefits including:
- Dependable backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one fails, you still have the means to heat your home. It won't always be the most energy efficient, but it’s better than having an unheated home while you hold out for repairs
- Fewer energy costs – The ability to decide which heating system you use according to the highest energy efficiency lowers your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the life span of these systems can really add up to plenty 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. Key hardware can last longer given that they’re not under continuous use.
If you’re still hesitant about heat pump installation in Houston, don’t hesitate to contact your local certified technicians. They can evaluate your home’s comfort needs and help you decide if a dual-heating HVAC system is the ideal option.