Can a Hybrid Furnace Pair a Heat Pump With an Electric Furnace?
Heating and cooling systems are necessities for most homes. Depending on where you live, you may discover that you need a furnace that can adapt to the weather. Conventional heating solutions use either gas or electricity to control temperature. Electric-powered furnaces can generate great levels of heat, which makes them excellent for very cold climates. However, they can be expensive to run; heat pumps, on the other hand, cost very little to operate. You needn’t choose, however, between the raw power of a forced-air furnace and the efficiency of a heat pump: it’s possible to have the best of both worlds.
A hybrid system pairs a furnace and a heat pump, combining comfort and efficiency. Using a heat pump with an electric furnace means you can properly heat your home in colder climates while switching to the more efficient heat pump in moderate weather. Can a hybrid system pair a heat pump with an electric furnace? Yes, it can. Keep reading to learn how the system works and the benefits of going the hybrid route.
Furnace vs. Heat Pump
Before delving into the world of hybrid systems, let’s first look at how a furnace and heat pump compare and why keeping both may benefit your home. With regard to furnaces, you have several options from which you can choose. Some use natural gas or oil, while others can be powered by electricity. This might be especially appealing if you don’t have access to a gas main.
In general, a furnace works by blowing heated air through air ducts distributed throughout the house. Air is pulled in and heated through a heat exchanger, then pushed out through the ducts as it is circulated back throughout the home. Both gas and electric furnaces operate in a similar fashion, with the only difference being whether they are powered by a gas burner or by electric heating elements.
Heat pumps do not generate heat; instead, they transfer it from place to place using the same technology as an air conditioning system. They require electricity to do this; however, they are far more efficient than methods that also require a costly fuel source to provide heat energy, including electric furnaces.
Heat pumps are also more versatile than other methods, as they can simply be reversed to operate as air conditioners. In the winter months, heat is absorbed from the outside air through the evaporator and released by the condenser indoors, heating the house. During summer, as warm air enters the heat pump from inside the home, it passes over the refrigerant coils, and the heat energy is drawn out of it and then vented outside.
Are There Advantages to Both?
In short, yes. Heat pumps work best in milder climates. If you live in a region with colder winters, a heat pump may not sufficiently heat your house. In this case, a furnace works best. However, heat pumps cost less to run due to their high efficiency. They also tend to require less maintenance and are safer, quieter, and reduce carbon emissions.
A hybrid system allows you to use a heat pump with an electric furnace. If your location is too cold to use a heat pump year-round, then you can opt for a hybrid furnace and balance comfort with efficiency. A hybrid system switches to the furnace when the weather is more severe, keeping your indoor temperature comfortable. Then, when the temperature is moderate, it switches to the energy-efficient heat pump, saving you money during milder weather.
How Does a Hybrid Furnace Work?
Heat pumps are wonderfully efficient, but because they rely on heat transfer to heat a home, they tend to struggle during extreme winters, simply because there isn’t enough heat energy outside to utilize. During the coldest days of the year, a hybrid system will use a furnace to generate the needed warmth.
A comprehensive hybrid system adjusts automatically to outside temperatures. A hybrid heat pump, also known as a dual-fuel system, usually uses a combination of renewable energy and fossil fuels to heat your home or cool it down. It can also use an electric furnace instead of gas or oil. These two components work together, maintaining efficiency year-round. A hybrid system automatically switches between the two sources, adjusting to the most energy-efficient method. If the temperature outside is ideal, the heat pump operates, keeping your house warm with minimal energy. When the temperature drops too low for the heat pump to do its job effectively, the system shuts down the heat pump and activates the furnace, automatically switching to the boiler.
Benefits of Choosing a Hybrid Furnace
A hybrid furnace allows you to take advantage of the energy-efficient heat pump even if you live in a region with severe weather and harsh winters. This system allows you to comfortably regulate indoor temperature while cutting your energy use, therefore saving money on your utility bill. Fossil fuels are expensive. It’s estimated that a hybrid system can save you 30 to 50 percent a year.
A hybrid furnace can also extend the life span of your heating and cooling system. Since they are dual systems alternating between one another, neither has to work as hard. This can cut down maintenance costs and delay the need to replace your system.
In addition to longevity and efficiency, a hybrid system is also safer for your home and friendlier to the environment. Electricity is generated by burning some kind of fossil fuel, most often coal. This creates a lot of pollution. An electric furnace can require a lot of electricity to keep your house warm, making it inefficient. Heat pumps, however, use less energy to heat your home, greatly reducing carbon emissions.
A hybrid system also offers redundancy in case one of the systems experiences a problem. For instance, if the heat pump’s compressor stops operating properly, your home can still be heated via the furnace. Besides efficiently heating your home, this system is also optimized for humidity control and cooling.
A heat pump with an electric furnace offers versatility. It uses a highly efficient heat pump to conserve energy and save money along with the forced-air furnace to comfortably heat your home in colder winter conditions.If you are looking for maximum comfort and efficiency, let Entek help improve the comfort of your home. Our professional and skilled technicians are here to serve all your HVAC heating and cooling needs, whether your property is residential, commercial, or industrial. Contact us today for quality service and efficient heating and cooling solutions.