Air Source Heat Pump with Natural Gas Backup
Considering switching from an all-natural gas furnace or heat pump to dual-fuel heating? If you are, you are probably familiar with the conventional wisdom about dual-fuel HVAC equipment.
What is Hybrid Heat?
The basic idea behind dual fuel is that it is a more energy-efficient way to heat your home than just using natural gas or just using an electric heat pump. According to many people (probably including the good folks at the local power company), dual fuel systems cost less than "pure" heat pump or natural gas systems because they take advantage of the advantages of both while avoiding the disadvantages.
Three reasons to consider a gas furnace backup heat pump:
1) You want to save money
A common question we hear when customers consider a hybrid system is, “Are you really saving money with a heat pump?” Since heat pumps are powered by electricity, homeowners have the flexibility to switch between gas and electricity to heat their house. For example, when gas is cheaper, homeowners can set up the system to run the gas furnace more and the heat pump less. There are many ENERGY STAR compliant hybrid heating options available that will provide energy efficient heating and cooling to help reduce your energy costs.
2) You want to be more comfortable
Combining a high-efficiency gas furnace with an electric air source heat pump will provide constant temperature control for your home. Most gas furnaces will turn on and off in an attempt to reach the right temperature. A heat pump runs for a longer period of time and can keep the temperature in your home more constant. Some luxury models have variable capacity, which allows them to run longer cycles at lower speeds and provide greater energy efficiency and comfort. This reduces the four to five degree temperature fluctuations that come with a single speed furnace.
3) You live in a mild climate
Due to the design of heat pumps, they will heat your home most efficiently when the outside temperature is between 25 and 60 degrees. However, heat pumps are capable of operating efficiently in outdoor temperatures as low as 0 degrees. A gas stove is more efficient when the temperature is below 25 degrees because it is designed to handle that load. If you live somewhere below 25 degrees most of the time, a heat pump may not be the most efficient option. In colder regions, the hybrid system makes a lot of sense. The heat pump provides heat most of the time, and when the temperature is moderate, the gas furnace takes over in bad weather.
Your new heating will be great!
If you're replacing an older system, you'll be blown away by the efficiency and operational improvements of modern HVAC equipment. Natural gas, dual fuel, heat pump - everything is better than before!
So, does dual fuel heating make sense for your home? As with most things in life and HVAC, it's up to you.