The idea of running both a furnace and heat pump might feel somewhat unusual at first. After all, why should you need two heaters? Although furnaces and heat pumps both deliver energy-efficient heat, the differences in their design actually make employing both of them a potential option. It’s not for everybody, but under the right conditions you will absolutely benefit from using a furnace and a heat pump.
You’ll want to think about several factors in order to decide if this type of setup suits you. Your local climate and the square footage of your home are both highly important, especially for the heat pump. This is because numerous models of heat pumps start to work less efficiently in winter weather and larger homes. At the same time, you can still reap the benefits of heat pump installation in Des Moines.
Heat Pumps Might Be Less Efficient in Winter Weather
Heat pumps are generally less effective in cooler weather due to how they provide climate control to begin with. Compared to furnaces, which combust fuel to generate heat, a heat pump reverses its flow of refrigerant to pull heat from outdoor air. This heat is then drawn inside and dispersed throughout your home. Assuming there is still a little heat energy in the air, a heat pump can function. But the cooler the temperature, the less reliable this process is.
The less heat energy is usable outside, the more effort is required for a heat pump to bring heat indoors to maintain your desired temperature. It might depend on the type of make and model, but heat pumps can start to lose out on efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and below. They can still be an energy-efficient option until 20-25 degrees, at which point a gas furnace will 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 sacrifice the benefits of a heat pump just because the local climate is colder. After all, 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 cold enough to justify swapping to something like a gas furnace.
A few makes and models claim greater efficiency in winter 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 extreme as -22°F. For optimal energy efficiency, you’ll likely still want to swap to the furnace in severely cold weather.
So Should I Get a Heat Pump If I Use a Gas Furnace?
If you’re serious about maintaining the most energy-efficient HVAC system available, installing a heat pump and gas furnace at the same time is worth the investment. Not only is a dual-heating system versatile, but it features other perks such as:
- 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 living in an unheated home while you wait for repairs
- Fewer energy costs – The ability to decide which heating system you use according to the highest energy efficiency reduces your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the life span of these heaters can really add up to lots 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 parts can live longer given that they’re not under nonstop use.
If you’re still unsure about heat pump installation in Des Moines, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local expert technicians. They can walk you through your home’s comfort needs and help you figure out if a dual-heating HVAC system is the best option.