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What Does a “Dual Fuel” System Really Do?

sun-and-snowflake-badgeWhen you are looking around for a heat pump installation for your house, or any type of new HVAC system, you’ll come across an appliance called a “dual fuel heat pump” or “hybrid heat pump.” If you aren’t sure what this is, or if it’s something that could benefit your home, then this post is here to clear everything up for you.

We offer installation of dual fuel systems and other HVAC services in Wayne, NJ, and our technicians can explain the pros and cons of installing one for your year-round comfort needs. Below are the basics—please get in touch with one of our technicians to find out if dual fuel is your ideal choice for a new HVAC installation.

Dual Fuel Heat Pump = Heat Pump + Backup Furnace

The simplest explanation of a dual fuel system is that it’s a hybrid of a standard electrically powered heat pump with a backup furnace that runs from a different energy source. The backup furnace most often uses propane.

The heat pump part of the dual fuel system works the same as a standard heat pump. It draws on electricity to power a compressor and fans. The compressor circulates refrigerant to move heat from one place to another. In cooling mode, the refrigerant removes heat from inside the house; in heating mode, the refrigerant moves heat into the house.

However, when a heat pump is in heating mode, it can face difficulty with removing enough heat from the outside air during times when the temperature is extremely cold. The outdoor coil must be colder than air around it for it to effectively draw thermal energy from outside that it can move indoors. In subfreezing temperatures, the heat pump can lose energy efficiency.

This is where the backup furnace comes into the picture. When the heat pump begins to lose efficiency because of the outdoor chill, the backup furnace turns on automatically to make up the heating deficit. The furnace will run for as long as necessary, and then shut off.

When Dual Fuel Is a Good Idea

The technology of heat pumps continues to improve, and today they can operate at colder and colder temperatures without losing efficiency. If your house doesn’t have the option for a natural gas furnace, a heat pump is a good energy saving choice. But if a heat pump still can’t overcome the coldest days of winter—and you don’t want to switch to using an electric furnace/air conditioner combination—then choosing a dual fuel heat pump for installation may be the best option.

You don’t want to take chances on guessing about a hybrid heat pump, so make sure you look to HVAC professionals to help with making the choice. Our technicians can analyze your home’s heating needs and give you a breakdown on how effective a standard heat pump and a hybrid heat pump can work for you.

We have over 30 years of experience in the HVAC field and we look forward to many more!

Schedule an appointment with Advanced Mechanical Services today for the best in home comfort.

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