The thought of installing both a furnace and heat pump might sound somewhat strange at first. After all, why would you need two sources of heat? While furnaces and heat pumps both produce energy-efficient heat, the differences in their design actually make employing both of them a reasonable option. It’s not for all of us, but with the right conditions you could absolutely benefit from using a furnace and a heat pump.
You should consider several factors in order to confirm if this sort of setup helps you. Your local climate and the size of your home are both very important, especially for the heat pump. This is because multiple models of heat pumps begin to run less efficiently in colder weather and large homes. At the same time, you can still reap the benefits of heat pump installation in Los Angeles.
Heat Pumps May Be Less Efficient in Colder Weather
Heat pumps are commonly less effective in cooler weather due to how they create climate control to start with. As opposed to furnaces, which ignite fuel to provide heat, a heat pump reverses its flow of refrigerant to extract heat from outdoor air. This heat is then pulled inside and distributed throughout your home. Provided there is still a bit of heat energy in the air, a heat pump will function. But the colder the temperature, the less effective this process is.
The less heat energy is usable outside, the more effort is required for a heat pump to draw heat indoors to generate your ideal temperature. It can depend on the exact make and model, but heat pumps generally start to lose efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and colder. They still remain an energy-efficient option until 20-25 degrees, after which a gas furnace should be more effective.
What Temperatures Do Heat Pumps Work Best In?
Heat pumps manage 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 colder. In fact, that’s why installing both a furnace and heat pump may be worth the costs. You can favor the heat pump for energy-efficient heat until the weather is cool enough to call for swapping to something like a gas furnace.
A few makes and models claim greater performance in winter weather. For example, the Lennox MLA heat pump is capable of working at 100% capacity at 0°F. It can even remain efficient in temperatures as extreme 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 Use a Gas Furnace?
If you’re interested in maintaining the most energy-efficient HVAC system achievable, having a heat pump and gas furnace at the same time warrants the investment. Not only is a dual-heating system adaptable, but it features other advantages 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 won't always 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 based on the highest energy efficiency lowers 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 duties are separated between the furnace and heat pump. Essential components could live longer as they’re not under nonstop use.
If you’re still hesitant about heat pump installation in Los Angeles, don’t hesitate to contact your local certified technicians. They can review your home’s comfort needs and help you determine if a dual-heating HVAC system is the right option.