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Dual Fuel Systems: Something You Need?

You may have noticed among the many heating services we offer is something called a dual fuel system. What is this? The short answer is that it is a hybrid heating/cooling system that combines a heat pump with a back-up furnace, usually one that runs on either natural gas or propane.

Why would I want something like this?

Good question! The first part of answering it involves explaining a bit more of how it works, and why using two energy sources—electrical and natural gas/heating oil—can be beneficial.

A heat pump when running in heating mode must draw thermal energy from the outside a building and move it inside. It does this the way an air conditioner does, through evaporation of refrigerant in one place and the condensation of it in another. But it operates in the reverse direction of an air conditioner in order to send heated air indoors.

But this poses a bit of a puzzler: a heat pump will run in heating mode when it’s cold outside—so where does the heat pump draw the heat from? It sounds contradictory. But the science behind it is sound: there is always some thermal energy in the air, no matter how cold may be. (The exception is absolute zero, which is a hypothetical temperature anyway. And if it ever got to be absolute zero outdoors, you’d have far more urgent problems than whether your heat pump is energy efficient.) But a heat pump can still struggle at pulling in enough heat when the outdoor temperature plunges below freezing.

This is where the hybrid part of the dual fuel heat pump comes into play. The backup furnace activates when the heat pump starts to lose efficiency, and it supplies the additional heat necessary for comfort. The furnace shuts off as soon as it’s not needed, helping to conserve fuel.

You may not need a dual fuel heat pump for your home comfort and energy efficiency. To find out if you do, call on our team of heating professionals. They’ll see that you receive the ideal heating system to meet your needs.

Advanced Mechanical Services serves Cliffside Park, NJ.

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