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Is a Dual Fuel System a Good Option?

sun-and-snowflake-badgeA dual fuel system is a combo of electrical heating and air conditioning with natural gas or propane-powered heating. This might sound like a strange combination, but there are several benefits to picking a dual fuel system for a home comfort. It isn’t the best option for all situations, however.

When you work with an experienced Durham, NC, HVAC company like ours, you can rest assured that you’ll receive the best guidance toward an HVAC installation that fits your house and budget. Our technicians will explore the possibility of a dual fuel system for your comfort.

Dual Fuel System Basics

The dual fuel system is also known as a hybrid heat pump, because a heat pump is at the core of its operation. A standard heat pump is an electrically powered refrigerant system similar to an air conditioner. Unlike an air conditioner, a heat pump can switch the direction of its refrigerant flow so that it can also function as a heating system. It draws heat from the exterior air and then releases it indoors.

A dual fuel system combines the heat pump with a backup furnace that either runs from natural gas (if the home has access to natural gas) or liquid propane from a compressed tank. Because a heat pump can lose efficiency during extreme cold temperatures, the furnace turns on to supply additional heat as long as necessary.

The Benefits of a Dual Fuel System

One of the main reasons homeowners often look into dual fuel systems is because they want to enjoy the flexibility and energy efficiency of a heat pump, but are worried about the heat pump becoming less effective on the coldest days. Heat pumps are excellent for most homes because they both heat and cool, and they are far more energy-efficient at heating than an electric heat pump. A dual fuel system broadens the number of homes that can enjoy a heat pump, and because they can run from propane they also work for homes with no natural gas connection.

On the Other Hand…

There are a few caveats to consider when it comes to using a dual fuel heat pump:

  • Natural gas is less expensive today than it once was, making a gas furnace competitive for home heating compared to a heat pump. It may be less costly for a house with a gas connection to use an AC and gas furnace for year-round comfort rather than a heat pump (hybrid or otherwise).
  • The increasing technological improvement in heat pump design has made them more efficient at lower temperatures. Our climate rarely gets cold enough to the point where a heat pump would need to use backup heat. An all-electric home can get by with a standard heat pump, which is less expensive to install.
  • Putting in a heat pump of any type is only cost-effective if it is replacing both a heating and cooling system. If you aren’t planning to replace the AC at the same time you replace an old heater, then a heat pump isn’t a good idea for home heating.

We’re available to help you with moving forward with the best possible comfort for your house, all through the year.

Enjoy the comfort you deserve! Comfort Master Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc. serves the Triangle Area of North Carolina.

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