Dual-Fuel Heating: Is It Right For Your Home?
Dual-fuel heating systems offer the benefits of heat pump efficiency, combined with the dependable low-temperature performance of a gas-fired furnace. Down to around 32 degrees, your heat pump extracts sufficient latent heat from outdoor air to warm your home. In temperatures below freezing, supplemental heat must be utilized. In single-fuel systems, the heat pump activates less-efficient electric resistance coils for extra heat. Dual-fuel heating systems narrow the efficiency gap by providing natural gas heating as a more effective supplemental alternative.
Dual-fuel heating systems are activated by a controller that monitors both indoor and outdoor thermostats. When temperatures drop below a preset point, called the balance point, the controller shuts down the heat pump and activates the gas-fired backup furnace. An HVAC professional will set the balance point on your dual-fuel unit by considering the local climate and the cost of natural gas, arriving at the optimum temperature to switch from the electric heat pump to the gas furnace. If the thermostat setting’s too high, the system will default to gas heating too soon, sacrificing some of the economy of the heat pump. A setting that’s too low will reduce home comfort. Homeowners can also take these steps to retain as much heat as possible and minimize supplemental heating:
- Sealing cracks and gaps in your home with caulking and weatherstripping can stop heat loss that results in earlier activation of the gas furnace.
- Upgrading attic insulation also retains more heat. The depth of fiberglass batts or loose-fill cellulose can be increased by adding more of the same or mixing different types.
- Loss of heated air through leaky ducts may result in excessive reliance on backup heating. Your HVAC contractor can pressure test the ductwork to determine the amount of leakage as well as pinpoint the location for sealing. Sobieski Services provides dual-fuel heating technology to maximize your interior comfort all winter long.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).
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