Traditional heating methods, like electric or gas furnaces can definitely do the job of heating the house, but often wreck the family budget. With the best of both worlds, dual fuel HVAC systems provide you with the most energy-efficient home heating and cooling system by pairing an electric heat pump with a traditional gas furnace.
For most of America, homes are adequately heated or cooled by a central air system – AC in the summer and a heat pump in the winter. A heat pump is not a separate component, but rather a reversal of the cooling process already in place. But there are limits to what a heat pump can do. To assist the heat pump when the temperature drops below a certain point (typically 35 degrees), most central air systems include a standard heating element as auxiliary heat.
In regions where the median winter temperature remains below 35 degrees, depending full-time on a heat pump doesn’t make sense. But neither does converting to a traditional electric furnace. Heating a house strictly with an electric furnace when the outside temperature is in the teens is asking a lot, and it’s costing a lot.
That’s where the dual fuel system comes in. When the outside temperature drops below a pre-set point (usually 32 degrees) the heat pump and the auxiliary element, if installed, are bypassed in favor of a gas-fired unit. The gas unit heats the house until the outside air once again rises above the balance point, whether it’s for a day or two or several weeks. The conversion from one heat source to the other is automatic.
The better dual fuel systems are highly customizable, allowing for variations in fan speed and burner stages to provide the most effective circulation for the conditions and user preferences. This benefit also applies to the cooling season.
Dual fuel systems can operate on natural gas or propane. Ideally, the home should already have gas piping in place. Retrofitting a home with gas piping strictly for the purpose of a dual fuel system would not be cost effective in most instances.
Also, the duct work must match the furnace. While there are ways to force an installation into mismatched duct work, the efficiency would be dramatically compromised, and is clearly not advisable.
Shop dual fuel HVAC systems and start saving on your monthly energy costs.