Confused by Dual Fuel Heating? Here’s What You Need to Know

If you’re interested in having one of the more efficient heating systems for your home, you might consider a dual fuel system.

They combine heat pumps with combustion furnaces, giving you the best of both worlds. Heat pumps generate heat by extracting it from the outdoor air with three to four times the efficiency that electric resistance heaters do, and combustion furnaces deliver heat regardless of the weather.dual fuel heating

Heat pump technology has improved to the point where they can heat homes in climates like ours until temperatures drop into the low 30s, depending on the balance point of the heat pump. The balance point is the temperature where it becomes less efficient to use the heat pump.

With dual fuel systems, the heat pump triggers the operation of the combustion system when the pump hits its balance point or lower, instead of turning on the backup resistance heating coil. This backup heating costs far more to heat with than the heat pump itself.

During the fall and spring, you can rely on the heat pump to deliver warmed air for your home, and during the coldest months of winter, you can use the gas or oil-fired furnace or boiler to deliver the heat that the heat pump won’t.

A dual fuel system makes sense if you:

  • Need to replace your cooling system. If your furnace is fairly new, it’s likely that you’ll be able to find a heat pump that’s compatible with it, so you can take advantage of combustion heating when temperatures are milder.
  • Use an oil or propane furnace. Heating oil and propane have always been more costly than natural gas, and you can cut your heating costs by using them less, relying on the heat pump when it’s above 30 degrees outdoors.
  • Must replace your entire HVAC system. If your system is older, inefficient, and breaking down frequently, it might be time to consider this cost-effective replacement.

If you’d like more information on using a dual fuel system, contact T.F. O’Brien Cooling & Heating. We can evaluate your comfort systems and make recommendations concerning the suitability of these systems. We’ve provided HVAC services for Long Island homeowners since 1934.

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