Heat pumps offer a fantastic heating option for much of the South, where mild winters rarely hit freezing. But as you move north through the United States, they lose a little of their appeal. This is because as temperatures dip into the 30s, air-source heat pumps have difficulty drawing enough heat energy from the outside air to bring an entire home up to a comfortable temperature – and it doesn’t matter if your heating system offers 300-400 percent efficiency if it isn’t also effective.
But homeowners in areas like Wichita that experience cold winters can still reap the efficiency benefits of a heat pump by using a dual-fuel heating installation.
A dual-fuel heating system combines a high-efficiency heat pump for cool temperatures above about 32-40 degrees with a traditional furnace for when the temperature dips. At a pre-defined balance point when the heat pump can no longer effectively heat your home, the system switches automatically to its backup heat source, generating the heat internally and circulating it through your house. By doing so, you continue to get the energy savings of a heat pump through most of the year, without sacrificing home comfort during the rest. And because a heat pump also functions as an air conditioner by removing heat from your indoor air and exhausting it outside, it’s really no more complicated than a traditional furnace and air conditioner combination.
A dual-fuel heat system may cost 20-25 percent more to install than a traditional A/C, but the savings it offers over traditional heating during the cool but not freezing months means most homeowners find that it pays for itself in a few years. And because it reduces energy and fossil fuel consumption, it’s an appealing option for those looking to switch to a greener method of heating, as well.
To learn more about dual-fuel heating and other energy-saving strategies for your Kansas home, visit us online at Comfort Systems.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about dual-fuel heating and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.