The idea of running both a furnace and heat pump might feel a bit strange at first. After all, why would you need two heaters? Although furnaces and heat pumps both deliver energy-efficient heat, the variations in their design actually make using both of them a viable option. It’s not for everyone, but in the right conditions you could truly benefit from having a furnace and a heat pump.
You should weigh several factors in order to determine if this sort of setup suits you. Your local climate and the square footage of your home are both especially important, namely for the heat pump. This is because multiple models of heat pumps start to function less effectively in winter weather and large homes. Even so, you can still reap the benefits of heat pump installation in Rapid City.
Heat Pumps May Be Less Effective in Cold Weather
Heat pumps are commonly less efficient in colder weather as a result of how they provide climate control to begin with. 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 drawn inside and distributed throughout your home. Provided there is still a bit of heat energy in the air, a heat pump should function. But the colder the temperature, the less reliable this process is.
The less heat energy is available outside, the more effort is required for a heat pump to bring heat indoors to generate your desired temperature. It can depend on the type of make and model, but heat pumps generally start to lose out on efficiency at temperatures of 40 degrees and under. They can still be an energy-efficient option until 20-25 degrees, at which a gas furnace will be more effective.
What Temperatures Do Heat Pumps Work Best In?
Heat pumps function 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 the local climate is cooler. As a matter of fact, that’s why owning 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 shifting to something like a gas furnace.
A few makes and models feature greater efficiency in cooler weather. For example, the Lennox MLA heat pump is capable of working at 100% capacity at 0°F. It can even remain functional in temperatures as low as -22°F. For maximum 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 Own a Gas Furnace?
If you’re serious about maintaining the most energy-efficient HVAC system achievable, having a heat pump and gas furnace at the same time is worth the investment. Not only is a dual-heating system adaptable, but it provides other advantages such as:
- A source of backup heating – A redundant heating system means even if one breaks down, you still have the means to heat your home. It might not be the most energy efficient, but it’s better than having an unheated home while you sit around for repairs.
- Reduced energy costs – The ability to decide which heating system you use depending on the highest energy efficiency decreases your total costs. Smaller heating bills over the lifetime of these systems can really add up to a lot of savings.
- Less strain on both systems – Rather than running one system all winter long, heating resources are divided between the furnace and heat pump. Essential parts could last longer since they’re not under constant use.
If you’re still uncertain about heat pump installation in Rapid City, don’t hesitate to reach out to your local certified technicians. They can evaluate your home’s comfort needs and help you figure out if a dual-heating HVAC system is the right option.