There are some major benefits to installing a dual fuel system. Most people are not familiar with this form of temperature control. They tend to think that the only compatible choice for adding cooling capacity to a forced air system is central air conditioner. The ductwork is already in place, making this choice more affordable. A forced air furnace combined with a standard air conditioner is definitely the most popular heating and cooling system. However, there might be a better option. As technology has improved the performance of electric heat pumps, dual fuel systems are starting to gain more attention. This type of temperature control partners a natural gas furnace with an electric heat pump to provide year round comfort. The heat pump does the job of a central air conditioner and handles whole-home cooling. Homeowners are sometimes put off by the fact that the heat pump costs a bit more to purchase and install than an air conditioner. However, for a slightly bigger investment, the heat pumps adds significant value to the home for resale purposes. Plus, the system recovers the added cost in just a few years cost. The heat pump pays for itself through amazing year-round energy savings.
A heat pump works a lot like a refrigerator. While a refrigerator simply draws heat out to create a cooling effect, the heat pump is able to move heat in two directions. During the warmer weather, an air-source heat pump pulls heat out of the indoor air and uses refrigerant to transfers it outside. While this process is very similar to a conventional cooling unit, the heat pump actually achieves greater energy efficiency ratings as well as superior dehumidification. Because it effectively combats moisture, the heat pump maintains better comfort at a higher thermostat setting. You’re going to save money all summer long.
When the outside temperature cools off, the heat pump simply switches from cooling to heating mode. It literally reverses the whole procedure. Instead of pulling heat out of the indoor air, it draws it from the outdoor air. Ambient heat is available all year long, even during chilly weather. The heat pump extracts that heat energy, compresses it to a higher temperature and transfers it inside. Obviously, the system is way more effective and efficient at higher temperatures. Because it simply moves heat from one place to another rather than creating it, there is no burning of fossil fuels. It eliminates the combustion process entirely. The operation of a heat pump is exceptionally safe, clean and environmentally friendly. Homeowners minimize their carbon footprint and can often take advantage of federal and local tax credits. In heating mode, the system produces no carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, formaldehyde or any greenhouse gases. It operates quietly and won’t overly dry out the air. It avoids the need to run a humidifier.
A heat pump costs quite a bit less to run than a gas furnace and saves money by handling the workload until the temperature drops below freezing. At that point, the heat pump struggles to keep up with demand and the furnace automatically takes over. The furnace handles the workload for as long as necessary, keeping the home toasty warm. By sharing the demand, each system experiences less wear and tear. There is less possibility of malfunction and each unit will last longer. There is greater return on the overall investment. The homeowner takes advantage of the most cost-effective form of heating at any given time.
The dual fuel system can be installed as a single system or in separate components. In the north, it’s not unusual for a home to only be equipped with a heating system. With the cold weather lasting from early September until sometime in April, the heater is the priority. The summer season is often brief and sometimes cold and rainy. Despite the excess humidity and occasional days of temperatures in the nineties, many homeowners don’t bother with air conditioning. They get by with box fans, open windows or portable air conditioners. This isn’t ideal. A central cooling system offers superior control over the temperature throughout the house, greater security, and air quality benefits. The heat pump fulfills these requirements while offering the added bonus of heating. It can be added anytime after the furnace has been installed.
There are different types of heat pumps, including air-source, ground-source and water-source. Geothermal options are extremely expensive but deliver greater return on the investment. They take advantage of the renewable and energy source underground and cut heating and cooling costs by 50%. Certain models of heat pumps feature adaptable speed technology. This allows the unit to automatically adjust speed to keep up with changing demands. It provides only the exact amount of heating or cooling required. It can run anywhere between forty and one hundred percent capacity and adjusts in tiny one percent increments. The heat pump most often runs at a lower speed for a longer cycle, achieving greater dehumidification, more even comfort, higher energy efficiency and lower sound levels. Plus, these modern options include multi-stage filtration to further improve the cleanliness and health of the home.
There are gas furnaces on the current market that offer 98% AFUE ratings. These models also include variable-speed technology. By spending more on a higher quality, smart system, there’s greater opportunity to save money. Along with the advantages of dual fuel, you enjoy wifi connectivity and zone control. You can avoid heating or cooling empty rooms, customize temperature settings to preferences and better manage those spaces that tend to be overheated or chilly. Along with cost savings and enhanced comfort, there’s added convenience. Wifi connectivity provides access to the system through an app on the smartphone. It’s a good idea to choose a top-of-the-line electric heat pump and gas furnace from the same manufacturer. The two systems are then compatible. The setup is much easier. Each piece of equipment talks to each other and optimizes performance and benefits.
Most of the more well-known HVAC manufacturers offer a dual fuel system. It is worth looking into and calculating the potential savings. This type of temperature control is recommended for areas with severe year round weather. Unless you’re dealing with extremely cold winter weather and brutally hot summers, there’s no point. If you’re considering making the upgrade to central cooling, replacing an outdated furnace or building from scratch, take the time to research a dual fuel system. Consult with an HVAC contractor who specializes in dual fuel systems, get a quote and see if it’s worth the higher initial startup cost.