heat pump furnace combo

Heat pumps and gas furnaces combined into dual-fuel heating systems have been becoming more prevalent throughout Canada in recent years. Homes looking for solutions that strike a mix of comfort, energy economy, and sustainability may find these hybrid systems appealing.

The special capacity of dual fuel systems to move between an electric heat pump and a natural gas furnace with ease guarantees the best performance in the variable Canadian climate, which can range from bitter winters to hot summers. This flexibility, together with possible cost savings and lower greenhouse gas emissions, has made dual fuel systems the go-to option for homes upgrading their heating and cooling systems. 

In this article, we’re discussing how these systems work, what makes them special, and the importance of having them professionally installed.

Understanding Dual Fuel Systems

Using the advantages of two distinct energy sources—an electric heat pump and a natural gas furnace—a dual fuel system is a new way of house heating and cooling. With this hybrid system, homeowners may easily alternate between the two energy sources, maximizing comfort, cost savings, and efficiency according to the outside weather.

Components of a Dual Fuel System

Electric Heat Pump:

Being a multipurpose system, heat pump systems can be used for both cooling and heating. It works in the summer months as a cooling system, much like a conventional air conditioner, taking heat from inside the house and releasing it outside.

The heat pump technology turns its function around in the winter, drawing heat from the outside air and bringing it inside to warm the house. These days’ heat pumps can effectively remove heat from the air even in cold conditions, whether it is a regular heat pump system or a dual fuel heat pump.

Natural Gas Furnace:

In case the outside temperature drops too low for the heat pump to function effectively, the gas furnace acts as a backup heating source. The fastest and most powerful heat that natural gas furnaces can provide keeps the house pleasant even in the coldest conditions.

How a Dual Fuel System Works

The two heating components of a dual fuel system—an electric heat pump and a natural gas furnace—are intelligently managed to deliver the best possible heating efficiency and performance. It takes knowledge of the mechanics and how these parts interact to fully appreciate how a dual-fuel system keeps a house comfortable and efficient.

The Role of Heat Pumps

A dual-fuel heat pump system’s main heating and cooling component is the heat pump. Rather than producing heat, it moves it.  This is the process of the system’s cooling and heating performance:

Cooling Mode:

The heat pump functions as a summertime air conditioner. Cooling the interior air, the system draws heat from the house and releases it outdoors. Within this process is the refrigerant cycle, in which heat is taken in from the inside air, transferred outside, and released into the outer world.

Heating Mode:

In colder temperatures, the heat pump reverses this process. Even at colder temperatures, it draws heat from the outside air and moves it inside. Reversing a refrigerant cycle, the heat pump draws heat from the outside air and releases it into the house via the indoor air handler. In mild to somewhat chilly weather, this process works incredibly well.

The Role of the Gas Furnace

When the outside temperature drops too low for the heat pump to work well, the dual fuel furnace acts as a supplementary system. Here is how it works:

Backup Heating:

The thermostat or control system of the system instructs the furnace to take over when the outside temperature drops below the heat pump’s efficiency level. Then, in order to produce heat, the gas furnace ignites and begins to burn natural gas to maximize efficiency. The blower of the furnace circulates the warm air via the ducting after combining this heat with air from the house.

The Switch Point

The switch point—the temperature at which the system switches from using the heat pump to the gas furnace—is the secret to the efficiency of the dual fuel system. The local temperature (based on whether hot or cold air is needed), energy costs, and individual comfort preferences can all influence how this switch point is pre-set or changed by the homeowner or an HVAC specialist.

Finding the Switch Point:

Usually, this is done during installation. Later, depending on changing circumstances, it can be modified to maximize performance. The furnace might kick on sooner in areas with high electricity costs, for instance, if the switch point is raised. To optimize how the heat pump works, the changeover point may be lower in places where natural gas is more expensive.

Operational Sequence

A dual fuel system works as follows, year-round:

Summer Cooling: By moving heat from inside the house outside, the heat pump cools the house much like a central air conditioner.

Mild Weather Heating: The heat pump draws heat from the outside air and moves it inside, giving effective warmth in the fall and spring.

Cold Weather Heating: The control system keeps an eye on both the inside and external temperatures as they drop and the heat pump’s effectiveness declines. The heat pump is automatically turned off and the gas furnace is turned on when the temperature hits the predetermined switch point.

Extreme Cold Weather: The gas furnace runs nonstop in extremely cold conditions, using natural gas to provide dependable and constant heating.

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22:25 10 Jun 24
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Benefits of a Heat Pump Furnace Combo

Optimizing energy use is one of a heat pump furnace combination's main benefits. Since they move heat rather than create it, heat pumps are incredibly effective in milder temperatures - something that your existing heating system may not be doing. When operating at its best, a heat pump can move up to 300% more energy than it uses, making it far more efficient than conventional heating systems.

The system automatically changes to the gas furnace, which is very good at swiftly and effectively supplying heat, when outside temperatures drop and the heat pump's efficiency falls. By making sure the most effective heating technique is constantly employed, this automatic adjustment lowers total energy use.

The flexibility of the dual fuel system to switch between natural gas and electricity depending on the most economical fuel source at any one time can result in significant cost savings on energy bills. In milder months, the heat pump runs effectively on electricity, which is sometimes less expensive than natural gas.

The heat pump is kept from working overtime and raising power bills when the temperature drops because the gas furnace takes over. Particularly in areas where natural gas is less expensive than electricity, this dynamic utilization of dual fuel sources helps homeowners control and cut their heating expenses.

As heat pumps use electricity, which can come from renewable energy, they are renowned for having no environmental effect. Householders can cut their dependence on fossil fuels and hence greenhouse gas emissions by adding a heat pump to their heating system. This advantage is magnified by the dual fuel system, which uses natural gas, a fossil fuel that burns cleaner, only when it's absolutely required. This strategy makes a house more environmentally friendly and reduces the total carbon footprint of heating it.

In any weather outside, a hybrid heating system keeps your house pleasant. Effective summer cooling and spring and fall heating are provided by the heat pump. The gas furnace systems provide the required warmth when the winter temperatures drop without the lag that heat pumps may encounter in very cold conditions. All year-round indoor temperatures are kept steady and comfortable by this smooth transfer between the furnace and air source heat pump.

Unlike single-fuel systems, each component wears out less since the heat pump and furnace share the heating load. The gas furnace comes on only in very cold weather, while the heat pump meets moderate heating demands. By extending the life of the furnace and heat pump, this balanced use can lower the need for and expense of replacements.

Installing the dual fuel system in a variety of climates and types of housing is possible. Depending on your location—mild winters or hard, frigid ones—this system can be customized to meet your particular requirements. Because dual fuel systems may be connected with current heating systems, they are a practical update for older furnaces that require better economy and performance.

These days, dual-fuel systems are made to be as quiet as possible. Quieter operation of high-efficiency heat pumps and gas furnaces keeps your house calm and free of the loud, bothersome noises that older HVAC systems may make. This helps maintain a pleasant living space free from mechanical noises in particular.

Putting up a dual-fuel system may qualify you for a number of rebates and incentives, especially those that support energy-efficient home upgrades. Upgrades to high-efficiency HVAC systems are financially rewarded by government programs and many local utility companies. Due to these advantages, switching to a dual-fuel system might be more reasonably priced after the first outlay.

Professional Heat Pump and Furnace Combo Installation with Comfort Union

Comfort Union knows how important a properly installed and maintained dual fuel system is to the comfort and energy efficiency of your house. We stand out as a reliable partner for all of your HVAC needs because of our dedication to excellent work, happy customers, and continuous support.

Comfort Union can help with a smooth transition and best performance whether you’re installing a new heat pump furnace combination or upgrading your current system. Get in touch with us to find out more about our installation and maintenance services and how we might assist you in achieving the perfect balance between efficiency and comfort in your house.

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