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How Does a Dual Fuel HVAC System Work?

Pumping heat from the outside to the inside on a cold winter day might seem impossible. Actually, the concept is fairly simple, and the efficiency of a dual fuel heat pump can save you significantly on heating and cooling bills.

Components Working in Harmony

A dual fuel heat pump relies on four main components working in harmony.

  • Heat Pump – Installed outside your house, it resembles an air conditioner unit and contains a compressor.
  • Furnace – Located inside your home
  • Coil – Actually two coils, one inside the house and the other at the heat pump.
  • Refrigerant Lines – Carrying compressed refrigerant between the house and the heat pump.

Fuel Efficiency

The dual fuels in the heat pump are electricity and a fossil fuel like natural gas, propane or fuel oil. Electricity powers the heat pump. The furnace burns the fossil fuel, hence the term “dual fuel.”

Fuel efficiency comes through heat transference. The heat pump does not create heat by burning fuel. It takes heat from outside, concentrates it and then pumps it into the house.

How It Works

The outside air transfers its warmth to the much colder refrigerant. It’s a little like putting your warm hands on a friend’s cold hands on a blustery day. Heat is transferred from your hands to theirs or, in this case, from the air to the refrigerant.

The heat pump compresses the refrigerant, which raises its temperature even more. Next, the refrigerant is pumped inside to the coil.

Air passes over the coil and is heated by the now warm refrigerant and is sent throughout your home. Then the cooled refrigerant is pumped outside again to repeat the process.

So, the heat pump has taken heat from outside, concentrated it and pumped it inside your home. Pretty efficient, right?

What About the Furnace?

Temperatures outside may drop low enough that the transfer of heat to the refrigerant is no longer efficient. This is called reaching the “Balance Point.” When that happens, the furnace becomes the source of heat for your home.

That’s where the dual fuel comes in. The furnace burns a fossil fuel like natural gas, to provide heat for your home until the outside temperatures moderate and the refrigerant can absorb warmth again.

But There’s More!

In summer, the heat pump reverses its operating process and becomes the home’s cooling system. The refrigerant is pumped into the house to absorb heat and to cool the coil.

Air passing over the coil is cooled and transmitted into your home. The refrigerant is pumped back outside to the heat pump where the absorbed heat from your home is radiated into the air, and the cycle is repeated.

Dual Fuel Heating and Cooling Systems in Baltimore

If you want to know more about efficient dual fuel heat pumps and how they can lower your heating and cooling bills in the Baltimore area, give the professionals at All Seasons Heating & Cooling a call at (443) 692-7723 or contact us online!

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