The Advantages of a Hybrid Heating System
For most of our lifetimes, the only way to heat a home has been with some sort of fuel-burning furnace. Whether it is coal, fuel oil, natural gas, or propane, it is still a matter of igniting fuel in order to generate heat. Some fuels burn cleaner than others. Certainly, burners have become more efficient over the years. Still, the general process remains the same.
More recently, energy efficient heat pumps have come onto the furnace market. If you have ever stood on the exhaust side of an air conditioner, you know that for cold air to blow into your home, hot air has to be exchanged and blown out. A heat pump essentially reverses this process. It uses electricity to transfer the ambient heat outside your home to a heating coil on the inside. This coil then heats the air that blows through your heating system. This is a much more efficient process than the heat produced by burning fuel.
How does a hybrid heating system work?
The drawback to a heat pump alone is that the colder it is outside, the harder it has to work to exchange heat. In the bitter cold, this can lead to the system struggling to provide sufficient heat. A hybrid heating system utilizes the best of both fuel-burning and heat pump heating technologies. When temperatures are milder, the efficient heat pump runs alone. If more power is needed, a fuel-based burner can kick in to keep your home warm in the deep cold.
What are the benefits of a hybrid heating system?
- Reduced emissions. With a hybrid system, your home will burn less fuel and so release fewer pollutants into the air.
- Cost savings. Because the system runs more efficiently, you will be spending less money on heating your home. Some estimates suggest that savings can be between 30 and 50 percent. While the hybrid is more expensive to install than a traditional furnace, most homeowners get a return on the investment in just a few heating seasons.
- Year-round comfort. The added power of a fuel-burning furnace will make sure that your home is comfortable even on the coldest days.
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