Is a Dual-Fuel: Electric + Gas HVAC System Worth the Investment?

December 21, 2022

Service Champions installs new heating and cooling equipment, including dual-fuel options. These provide year-round comfort, especially in Northern California where temperatures can vary significantly from season to season. Dual-fuel technology combines a heat pump with a gas furnace. Two energy sources in one HVAC system ensure comfort no matter what the outdoor conditions are like.

How Does a Dual-Fuel System Work?

Instead of a traditional air conditioner unit, a dual-fuel HVAC system uses a heat pump. This works similarly to an AC and looks no different from one. But it has a reversing valve so it can provide cool air when it’s warm out and warm air during the colder months. A gas furnace uses energy to produce heat, while heat pumps transfer heat from the outside air.

How is that possible if the outside air is cold? Even if it’s below freezing, there’s latent heat energy in the air. And, the refrigerant in a heat pump can boil at a very low temperature (about -55℉). Heat is therefore extracted from the air, compressed, warmed, and distributed throughout your home.

Like a central AC, a dual-fuel system is controlled via a thermostat. The heat pump can reverse the flow of refrigerant to provide warm instead of cool air. But it can provide only so much heating. If demand exceeds capacity, the heat pump will stop and the gas furnace will run until the indoor temperature matches the set temperature on the thermostat. The switch point can be factory set or you can use the thermostat to program it.

Advantages of an Electric + Gas HVAC System

A dual-fuel HVAC system costs more upfront to install. In addition, electrical service, wiring, or gas lines may need to be upgraded. However, future cost savings is just one benefit that can make a dual-fuel system worth it. Here are some of the perks:

  • Energy Efficiency: The most efficient fuel source is selected automatically. Therefore, the system adapts to the outside air temperature, all the while using less energy. While a heat pump may function less efficiently in colder temperatures, a dual-fuel configuration allows it to reach maximum efficiency. This means annual energy costs can be reduced by as much as 50%.

  • Simpler Maintenance: In a dual-fuel: electric + gas system, the heat pump and furnace can be combined into a packaged unit, which makes maintenance easier. But even in a split system, both can be serviced at once. Properly maintaining the system allows it to run even more efficiently and can allow both your heat pump and furnace to last longer.

  • Environmentally Friendly: A hybrid heat pump uses electricity most of the time, reducing the demand on your gas furnace. It provides a clean, sustainable source of heat. This reduces your carbon footprint. It’s also good for your indoor environment, as a dual-fuel heating system runs more quietly. The system won’t wake you up; even the outdoor compressor isn’t as noisy as a traditional one, so there’s less outside noise pollution as well.

How Is a Dual-Fuel System Installed?

Your existing air conditioner can be replaced with a heat pump. Consult with a licensed HVAC professional about whether a heat pump is compatible with your existing furnace. If natural gas is available, upgrading to a high-efficiency gas furnace may be an option. An HVAC contractor can help find the most cost-effective solution with the greatest long-term benefits in terms of comfort, performance, and efficiency.

Contact Service Champions

We install high-efficiency heating and cooling systems in San Jose, Sacramento, and surrounding areas in Northern California. Our dual-fuel: electric + gas HVAC options include variable speed blowers, humidity control, and a smartphone-compatible thermostat with adaptive heating and cooling. The air filter/filter cabinet we use is highly effective at eliminating allergens and germs. For next-day installation, special pricing on select equipment, and 0% financing options, call 833-600-0991 or book a visit online.

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