Dual-fuel (or hybrid) home-heating systems are gaining in popularity across the country. The flexibility they provide in choosing your energy source helps you save money on your utility bills, and it’s also a “green” alternative to traditional heating systems. To a certain extent, they allow you to switch to whatever heat source is most affordable during the winter.
Dual-fuel systems couple an electric heat pump with your home’s existing gas furnace. The heat pump and the furnace alternate providing heat to your home based on the outside temperature. Heat pumps work by taking warm air from the outside and pulling it into the home. The outside air has warmth even in the winter. The pumps function best when the outside temperature is above freezing, warming the home to a comfortable level. When the temperature drops below freezing, also called the set point, the heat pump turns off and the furnace starts putting out drier, warm air to the home.
The advantage of a dual-fuel system, however, is that it allows the homeowner to place the temperature set point to something other than 32 degrees. When your electric bill is going up and natural gas prices are declining, you can make the temperature set point higher so the furnace switches on sooner. This way you’re switching to the less expensive fuel at a warmer temperature. On the other hand, if energy pricing is reversed, you can adjust the temperature set point at a lower temperature, so that the furnace doesn’t switch on as soon.
Dual-fuel systems are still relatively new and can be more expensive than traditional HVAC systems. Since this is a relatively new technology, it is important to shop around for a good price. The extra costs eventually will be offset if you take advantage of the heat pump for more than six months a year.
If you would like to learn more about dual-fuel systems, contact Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning today. We have been providing service to this part of the San Joaquin Valley for nearly 40 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information, click here to download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Donald P Dick Air Conditioning services the greater Fresno area in California. To get started, check out our website.