Air-source heat pumps are gaining a lot of traction in the Southern United States, where homeowners switch over from traditional furnaces to enjoy three times the heating efficiency and, in many cases, a single HVAC appliance to handle both heating and cooling. But residents further North have been slower to catch on, because air-source heat pumps have a weakness: they’re less effective at heating your home when the temperature dips below freezing. That’s why a dual fuel heat pump comes in handy.
Heat pumps don’t produce heat – they simply move it around. During the winter, they take heat energy from the outside air, and use it to warm air inside your home. But as the temperature dips lower and lower, the amount of available heat energy also drops. Meaning it takes more heat energy to warm a cold home than it does to warm a cool one. The point at which the falling available heat and the rising heat needs cross and the heat pump is no longer able to heat effectively is called the balance point.
A dual fuel heat pump, however, combines an air-source heat pump with a backup system, such as a traditional furnace or electric heating coils, which does produce its own heat. This has a higher energy cost per degree of warmth, but it can produce heat no matter how cold it gets. To minimize heating costs and maximize efficiency, it will only engage to provide supplemental heat once the balance point is reached. Through much of the heating season, the heat pump will provide all you need.
They may not be as simple as switching to a heat pump for all your heating and cooling needs, but dual fuel heat pumps are proven energy-savers over traditional gas furnaces. To learn more about how a dual-fuel heat pump could work in your Ohio home, contact us at Stack Heating & Cooling!
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about dual-fuel heat pumps and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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