Dual-fuel heat pump systems have become increasingly popular in Maryland and areas with similar climates, but many of our customers still aren’t sure what they are and what differentiates them from traditional furnace systems. To help you understand your options and make the purchase that makes sense for your goals and budget, the experts at All Seasons Heating & Cooling have put together this brief guide.
A heat pump operates similarly to a window-based air conditioner, but where a window AC only transfers heat in one direction, a heat pump can channel it inward or outward. This allows a heat pump to be an extremely efficient tool for both heating and cooling, but only so long as the temperatures inside and out remain within certain ranges. As soon as the temperature drops too low outside, there’s no heat for it to pull into your home.
A dual-fuel heat pump combines a high-efficiency heat pump system for heating and cooling your home with a gas furnace, swapping between the two as necessary to maintain a comfortable home temperature.
A dual-fuel heat pump system utilizes the high efficiency of a heat pump when the weather allows, but leans on the strength of a traditional furnace when temperatures drop too low for the heat pump to ensure comfort alone. The gap between the two is quite significant; while an extremely efficient furnace from a top manufacturer utilizing efficient fuels might achieve fuel efficiency just short of 100%, a heat pump under similarly ideal circumstances offers efficiency in the range of 300% or more which results in considerable cost savings.
A heat pump also stands out for its potential in cooling a home in the warm months in the same way that it warms it in the cool, with a similar level of energy efficiency. Many will find a heat pump provides plenty of cooling for the climate here in Maryland.
The advantage of a furnace lay in its simplicity. Strong, reliable heat is an excellent boon for any Annapolis home, and a furnace installation provides plenty. Modern furnace installations can also be fairly efficient, though not nearly as efficient as a heat pump.
It’s also worth noting that a standalone furnace might use any number of fuel sources, such as electricity, gas, or oil, while the furnace component of a dual-fuel system will be a gas furnace in the majority of cases.
Since a dual-fuel heat pump system offers the full advantage of heat pumps and furnaces both, it stands out a clearly superior HVAC choice for most homeowners. That said, it’s a fair bit more expensive upon initial purchase. A dual-fuel system will save you more than it costs—but only if you keep up with the maintenance and utilize its efficiency as much as possible.
You can find out more about your options for dual-fuel systems or stand-alone furnaces by contacting All Seasons today!