Hybrid heating systems, also called dual-fuel systems, combine the energy efficiency of a heat pump with a combustion furnace. These systems combine the best of both worlds, particularly in a climate like ours, because they give you the option of heating with the heat pump during milder weather and only using fuel when temperatures drop near or below freezing.
Heat pumps work by extracting the heat from the air instead of using fuel. Heat pumps reverse the cycle in the summer, and instead of extracting the heat from the outdoor air, they remove it from your home, which cools it. They’re capable of creating three times the heat from one unit of energy, compared to combustion furnaces that can’t go over 100-percent efficiency. As the weather cools, however, less heat is available in the outdoor air, which is when the combustion furnace kicks in.
The thermostat controls which system heats your home. The HVAC contractor who installs the hybrid heating system sets the balance point inside the thermostat based on the HSPF (heating season performance factor) of the heat pump. The current minimum is 7.5, but systems with a higher HSPF deliver more heat at lower temperatures, which means you can use the heat pump at temperatures into the 20s. A heat pump with a scroll compressor provides from 10 to 15 degrees warmer air than one with a piston compressor, which means the balance point in the thermostat can be set even lower.
Hybrid heating systems also offer flexibility based on the cost of natural gas. When gas rates are low, choosing to run the combustion furnace instead of the heat pump may save money on your overall energy expenses during the heart of the heating season and relying on the heat pump during the spring and fall when temperatures are warmer.
If you’d like to learn more about hybrid heating systems and their benefits, contact Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing. We’ve provided HVAC services for Grand Traverse and the surrounding counties for more than 30 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about Hybrid Heating Systems and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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