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A Hybrid Heating System and its Benefits

A Hybrid Heating System and its Benefits


Do you want more control of your energy bills? And protection against unpredictable fuel cost increases? As outdoor conditions change your heating system is forced to adjust to keep up. If you have a single source for heat, that source may lose efficiency if temperatures dive too deep. A heat pump, for example, works well to temperatures down to 30-35 degrees, but then becomes ineffective. A hybrid heating system (or dual fuel system) is designed to protect homeowners from these inefficiencies and the risk of rising utility costs. These systems are more efficient, provide greater comfort, and have a smaller carbon footprint.

What is a hybrid heating system?

A hybrid heating system is the combination of an air-source heat pump (ASHP) or ground source heat pump (GSHP) with a gas/propane furnace. These systems improve performance by using a propane furnace during colder temperatures instead of relying on the heat pump’s secondary heat source. When temperatures fall below 40 degrees, an ASHP will rely on electric resistance heat as a backup. And electric resistance heat is inefficient in these conditions. When an ASHP is combined with a high-efficiency furnace to form a hybrid heating system, the furnace will assist, when needed. In colder temperatures when the ASHP becomes inefficient, the furnace will heat the home. This hybrid system maintains a balanced efficiency, reduces electricity costs, and delivers warm air.

Similarly, in colder climates, a GSHP system can be downsized if a furnace is used to handle the more extreme heating loads. During extended periods of cold weather, a GSHP may only address 50-75 percent of the heating load with the furnace handling the rest. The cost savings of a hybrid system will improve cost-effectiveness and provide better efficiency and comfort in the home.

Environmental advantages of a hybrid heating system

Most heating systems will have CO2 emissions tied to their operations. In the case of ASHP’s, many of these systems are powered by coal-fired power generation plants. When an ASHP-only system defaults to the electric resistance back-up heat, CO2 emissions will be created. An ASHP furnace hybrid system, on the other hand, will avoid the electric resistance backup and not produce as much CO2 emissions. Hybrid systems uses less energy and leave a smaller carbon footprint.

How much can be saved with a hybrid heating system?

Hybrid heating systems allow users great control. They can determine the point at which the system switches operation from electric heat pump to a traditional furnace. This “balance point” can be changed to meet the environmental conditions and utility rates in your area. Most hybrid heating systems are also fully programmable. Allowing homeowners to set weekly programs that cater to their heat usage and schedules. Because of this, savings from a hybrid system will vary. But a typical household can expect to save hundreds of dollars in heating costs each year. Ensuring that the hybrid heating system will pay for itself in short time.

Combining the strengths of two heating sources to deliver warmth and efficiency is a wise decision. These systems produce economical heating, while allowing for more control over monthly bills. For more information or a free in-home heat consultation, reach out to HomeSmart by Xcel Energy today.