Before replacing your furnace with another furnace, or going straight to a brand-new heat pump system that you’ve heard so many good things about, consider the middle option: the dual fuel system.
To keep comfort and efficiency strong throughout the cold season, a dual fuel system might be just what you need. Allow us to explain further.
What Is It?
A dual fuel system is two-parts heat pump and one-part natural gas furnace.
Its primary mode is to operate as a heat pump. That means it has both cooling and heating functions. Its secondary mode is to operate as a furnace, burning natural gas through combustion to create heat. The secondary mode only activates when the heat pump isn’t enough.
At first, it might seem like a dual fuel system is purely for comfort—a luxury. But it’s a bit more than that.
Here’s the Strategy…
Through hot weather and moderately cold temperatures, the heat pump is a highly efficient system. By operating like an air conditioner, but in reverse, it’s able to bring warm air into your home at a very small cost.
However, a problem arises when the temperatures get too cold. The heat pump gradually struggles to bring enough warm air into the home. At that point, the heat pump will switch into auxiliary heating mode—and that can be costly.
But with a dual fuel system, you won’t have to rely on auxiliary heating mode. When temperatures get too low for the heat pump, it deactivates and turns on the gas furnace.
This works beautifully since the heat pump and the gas furnace both bring out the best in each other. Gas furnaces operate much more effectively in these colder temperatures, thus picking up the slack for the heat pump. On the other hand, the heat pump works perfectly fine in cases where the gas furnace would be a bit excessive.
What If Temperatures Don’t Drop Low Enough?
Not every day in the fall and winter is going to be cold enough to truly render your heat pump useless. However, before it gets to that point, efficiency can still drop enough to make a dent in your heating bill (and that’s going to add up with each day).
A dual fuel system will always run in the mode that’s most efficient at the moment. The switch is completely automated, so you don’t have to worry about keeping an eye on the temperature or resetting the system.
Make Sure to Keep Getting Maintenance
Since the aim of the dual fuel system is to maintain efficiency, it’s especially important to make sure it receives regular maintenance. Maintenance is necessary for any system in order to prevent the need for repairs and to keep it running efficiently. But since the dual fuel system uses two different fuels, it means they have additional parts to maintain, such as the gas burners and igniter.
Plus, don’t forget that natural gas appliances can be dangerous when not properly maintained. A furnace that has fallen into disrepair can create the risk of carbon monoxide leaks.