Shut off your Heat Pump if you have a Gas Furnace for the Back Up Heat

December 23, 2015

Do I Need a Gas Furnace for Backup Heat?

If you’re a homeowner who uses a gas furnace with a heat pump as a backup heating source, it’s essential to know that you should shut off your heat pump in certain instances so it’s not burning excess energy.

Homeowners with a dual fuel heating system, or a heat pump with a gas furnace backup, should operate solely on the gas furnace for the winter when gas prices are low. Though natural gas and electricity prices can fluctuate due to many factors, natural gas tends to be cheaper overall because of its abundance.

On the other hand, electric rates are expected to stay the same this year. The benefit of a heat pump gas furnace hybrid system is choosing which heat source is more economical, usually natural gas, in colder temperatures.

Why Should I Have a Backup Heating Source with a Heat Pump?

There are many reasons why people have a backup heating source along with their heat pump. It can be beneficial during harsh weather conditions, peak energy demands, and emergencies.

Better Performance in Frigid Temperatures

Heat pumps are most efficient in moderate temperatures. In frigid weather, the efficiency of heat pumps can decrease, reducing heating capacity. A backup heating source can supplement the heat pump during colder periods to ensure consistent warmth in your home.

More Cost-Effective

Additionally, a backup heating source during peak energy demand or harsh weather conditions can be more cost-effective. If you’re using a gas furnace as backup heat for your heat pump, you have an alternative energy source if one becomes unexpectedly unavailable or too expensive.

Emergency Situations

In the event of a power outage, some heat pumps may be unable to function, considering most run on electricity. A backup heating source that doesn’t require electricity is ideal, such as a gas furnace, which can be essential to keep your home warm during emergencies. 

When Should I Turn Off My Heat Pump?

Determining when to shut off your heat pump and rely on your gas furnace for heat can depend on various factors, including outdoor temperature, the design of your heating system, and your comfort preferences. Here are some guidelines that can help you make an informed decision on when to turn your emergency heat on:

Outdoor Temperature

With a typical operation of a hybrid heating system, the heat pump will operate with ambient temperatures above 32 degrees. When temperatures are below 32 degrees, the gas furnace will operate.

To keep the heat pump from running, homeowners should switch their thermostats to “emergency heat” mode. Don’t worry about the word “emergency”—think of it as auxiliary heat.

Type of Backup Heating Source

Some heat pumps rely on electric furnaces for backup heating, which can quickly use a lot of energy. Hybrid heating systems that contain a heat pump and gas furnace are known to be more energy and cost-efficient. Note that the heat pump should continuously operate in all-electric homes where the backup source is an electric furnace since heat pumps are typically more energy efficient.

Comfort Preferences

Personal comfort preferences can also influence when to turn off your heat pump. Some people prefer the consistent warmth of a gas furnace, while others may prioritize energy efficiency and opt for the heat pump as much as possible until temperatures drop too low for it to be the most efficient option.

Can Electric Furnaces Also Be Backup Heating Sources for Heat Pumps?

Yes, heat pumps with electric furnaces as backup work as well. However, this combination tends to be more common in southern states where they experience warmer winters than the midwest. Heat pumps typically cost less to run but lose their efficiency in colder temperatures. That’s where the backup kicks in to warm your home.

Then, it comes down to how much money you want to spend on heating for the winter. As mentioned above, many factors can play into the price of your energy bill. Local utility rates, comfort preferences, and weather conditions are critical factors in deciding between an electric or gas furnace for backup heat.

Electric furnaces generate heat by passing electric current through heating elements. A heat pump with an electric or gas furnace as a backup heating source is called a “dual-fuel” or “hybrid” heating system. The advantage of a backup heating system is that it can provide reliable and efficient heat during cold temperatures. However, electric furnaces are relatively expensive compared to gas or other heating solutions.

If you’re in the market for a new heat pump in Kansas City, you’ve come to the right place. At Anthony, we offer installation, replacement, repair, and maintenance services for your heat pump. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or learn more about your heat pump options. 

Share this article
Schedule Your Service Today
Need heating, cooling or plumbing services? Call or schedule your appointment online and experience the Anthony difference today.
Schedule Online
Check Out Our Specials
Claim exclusive discounts to insure your home's comfort and reliability without breaking the bank!
cross '