A dual-fuel system is a year-round central heating and cooling system HVAC system that maximizes home comfort by pairing a heat pump with a gas or oil furnace. The system alternates between the two fuel sources to maintain the most comfortable temperature and humidity levels with the greatest efficiency. A heat pump will operate until temperatures plummet in the winter. Then the furnace will turn on utilizing gas or oil as the fuel source.
Everyone knows that furnaces generate heat by burning fuel. On the other hand, heat pumps don’t create heat. They merely move warmth from one place to another with the help of refrigerant, capturing and transferring heat from the outside unit to the indoors during the colder months, and vice-versa when the weather warms up. The refrigerant absorbs heat from the outside air, compresses it, which makes it hotter, and then moves it to the evaporator coil. The evaporator coil heats up from the hot refrigerant passing through it and transfers the heat to the air that is forced across it by the blower motor. As the moving air picks up the heat from the coil, the refrigerant inside the coil cools down and is recirculated to the heat pump to take up more heat from outside. Most units capture heat from your outside air temperature, but they can also be set up to work geothermally from ground or water temperatures which are more consistent year-round than air temperatures but are more expensive to install initially.
A real advantage of any heat pump is that it can provide central air conditioning for your home during the summer months by using that same refrigerant and the same duct work to pump the heat out of your house. Also, electricity rates are generally lower than gas or oil, meaning that a heat pump system will cost less to operate than a fossil fuel fired furnace. So, when temperatures are above 30 degrees, the heat pump will run.
The balance point for heating is reached when the heat pump can no longer absorb enough warmth to supply the heating needs of your home. When temperatures drop below 30 degrees, your dual heating system will supplement with heat from its secondary source, which is a gas or oil furnace. In other words, as soon as the balance point is reached, the oil or gas furnace kicks in, creating the heat that your home requires.
Tread lightly on your thermostat.
Find your comfort zone on the thermostat and leave it be. Changing the thermostat settings erratically will not cool or heat your home any quicker – but it will stress your system and make it perform less efficiently.
Get “smart” about your thermostat.
Consider adding a heat pump friendly smart thermostat for the most efficient use of your system, whether you’re home or away.
Maintain your system.
Properly cleaned and charged systems operate far more efficiently than those that have been neglected. Contemporary Air Systems offers a Home Comfort Club to provide regular inspections and cleanings of your system. Preventative maintenance can prevent future breakdowns and extend the life of your heating and cooling system and maintain the manufacturer’s warranty requirements saving you money again.
Shop wisely if you need a replacement.
When it’s time to retire your heat pump system, look for high-efficiency Energy Star models, and pay attention to SEER ratings. Heating and cooling do represent about half the expense on a typical electric bill, so go for the unit that will give you consistent savings for years to come. High-efficiency units can turn out twice as much heat for the same cost as standard units, but the labor to install them is the same.
Call the professionals.
With over 25 years of HVAC experience, the team at Contemporary Air Systems can help you choose a dual fuel heating system for your home. Finance plans are also available for your budgeting convenience. Call us today to schedule a home visit and a free estimate at (410) 391-3070