What Is a Dual Fuel System?
A dual fuel system sounds more Batman-like than it really is. It can solve a lot of issues for homeowners, but it’s really nothing more than a combined HVAC system comprised of a heat pump and a gas furnace. Heat Pumps offer the most efficient way to heat a home to just above freezing temperatures and natural or propane gas offers the most efficient method of heating in extreme cold temperatures, at or below freezing. Since a dual fuel, or hybrid system, offers the best of both types of heating, it allows more homeowners––especially Cedar Park, TX, homeowners––to take advantage of the efficiency of a heat pump, no matter where they live. Our Arise professionals are handling more and more requests for these installations than ever before.
How Does It Work?
A heat pump works differently than a furnace in that it removes the heat from the outside air and transfers it to inside your home. When it’s time to cool your home, it does the reverse by removing the heat from inside your home and sending it outdoors. Its heating process differs from a furnace, as a furnace actually uses fossil fuel (natural or propane gas) to create heat.
A dual fuel system relies on the heat pump to act as both the cooling source and heating source for your home. However, a heat pump can only work well when outside temps remain above 35 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit or so. Once the temperatures outdoors dip below what’s specified, the furnace then takes over to generate optimal heat. It’s a totally automated tag-team affair.
Having a combination system like this definitely offers advantages over either just a heat pump or furnace alone. The biggest advantage is the efficiency of the system. The heat pump cools in the summer by removing the hot air from your home and generates heat for winter in a reverse cycle. Then in extreme cold weather, the furnace runs when the temps fall below what the heat pump handles. Both these scenarios equate to an efficient system of less energy actually being used, which leads to less energy costs, i.e., less money you’re spending. This also leads to another advantage – less cost in the long run. The initial installation of both a heat pump and furnace combo will be more than just a heat pump or furnace alone. But in just a few years, you’ll recoup your investment by what you’ve saved in energy bills.
One of the disadvantages of the dual fuel system is a somewhat higher up-front cost, since you’re essentially getting two efficient heating systems in one. However, most of our customer are pleasantly surprised that the up-front cost is nominal for the lifetime of efficient heating they are getting.
Another disadvantage, although small, is that a larger heat pump system may produce slightly less cooling power than the same size air conditioner, for the same electrical usage.
If this type of system is something you’re considering, contact one of our Arise professionals at (512) 267-5000 to discuss the pros and cons of such a system for your home. Our HVAC professionals are happy to help.