Many Americans are turning to electric heat pumps to provide ultra-efficient heating and cooling in their homes. Dual fuel or hybrid heating systems are a practical option for homeowners living in areas where extreme cold occasionally occurs.
The traditional residential set-up uses two technologies – an electric air conditioner for cooling and a gas furnace for heating. The two units share an air distribution system, and frequently the furnace blower will double as the air handler for the AC. While it’s more practical to use one system, an electric heat pump, to provide both heating and cooling, until relatively recently this wasn’t practical in cold-winter climates such as Ohio.
Hybrid Heating Systems and Heat Pump Limitations
Heat pumps provide heat by extracting heat energy from the outside air, via refrigerant running through coils, and then transferring that heat inside. However, a key disadvantage of many electric heat pump systems is that they struggle to draw sufficient heat energy from the air when the temperatures are extremely cold for extended periods. This results in chilly indoor areas during cold days, with the system having a hard time achieving the thermostat setting.
A dual fuel heating system solves this problem by matching a gas furnace with the electric heat pump. When the temperature falls below a certain level, the furnace kicks on, providing supplemental heating.
Dual Fuel Heating Systems Offer Benefits
Using the best heating source for the current temperatures outside – whether electricity during moderate winter temperatures or gas when it gets colder – increases efficiency and reduces your winter heating bills.
Another benefit of a system using dual fuels is that when the weather turns warm, your air-source heat pump is ready to take on a new role, efficient home cooling.