Heat Pumps and Dual-Fuel Furnace & Air Conditioning Systems: An Overview
As renewable energy sources such as wind and solar continue to provide a larger percentage of power generation for our regional electrical grid, the movement away from fossil fuels for heating and cooling our homes is more realistic than it has ever been.
Mainstream products are now available to reduce our carbon footprint while also reducing the cost to heat and cool our homes. Leading the way, heat pumps are gaining a strong foothold in the marketplace, and are at the center of the dual-fuel central heating and cooling movement.
Heat Pumps Perform Double Duty
The difference between a heat pump and an air conditioner is that an AC unit is designed just to cool the home, while a heat pump, which also runs off electricity, provides both heating and cooling.
There are two common types of heat pumps used for home heating. A central heat pump is typically paired with a gas furnace and makes use of a central ducting system to deliver air throughout the home, whereas a ductless heat pump directly serves specific areas of a home to provide ‘zoned’ heating and cooling. First, let’s talk more about the central heat pump.
Central Heat Pump Systems
Paired with a gas furnace, a central heat pump provides an efficient source of ‘clean’ electric heating during relatively mild winter conditions, while the furnace takes over the job automatically when outdoor temperatures drop below a programmed thermostat set point. ‘Dual-fuel’ refers to the combination of electricity that powers the heat pump, and the natural gas (or propane) that powers the furnace.
For the ultimate dual-fuel forced air central heating and cooling system, our team at Save Home Heat Company recommends the combination of a 98% efficient variable-output furnace with a high efficiency, variable-output central heat pump – for customers looking for a more uniform temperature throughout the house, while also reducing energy consumption and their home’s carbon footprint.
Dual-Fuel Systems: A Step In the ‘Greener’ Direction
According to Xcel Energy, about 28% of the electricity used by their Colorado customers in 2018 was produced from renewable energy sources.
According to Xcel, this number will increase significantly in the near future, which translates to an even lighter carbon footprint for heat pump owners as the years steadily move forward – and fossil fuel reserves continue to become scarcer.
Duel-Fuel Central Home Comfort Systems Can Provide:
- A ‘greener’ central heating option
- Very high efficiency performance and the lowest utility bills
- A built-in backup heating system, in case one has problems
- State-of-the-art comfort levels, all year-round
The Ductless Heat Pump Option – for Problem Areas or Your Entire Home
The other type of heat pump, and one rapidly gaining in popularity, is the ductless heat pump, also known as a mini-split heat pump. Ductless heat pumps have most commonly been installed as a supplement to an existing heating and cooling system. However, thanks to advances in technology, these units can now provide meaningful heating output at outdoor temperatures as low as approximately -15 degrees F.
Homeowners are now starting to convert entire homes to ductless heat pumps, providing multiple benefits:
- Eliminates air leakage from a central ducting system, which typically is significant in most homes
- Can heat and cool to your exact comfort level in different areas of the home
- Can completely turn off areas of the home when not being used
- Large reduction in gas usage and production of carbon
- Very quiet operation inside and outside the home
Ductless heat pumps are a great option to consider for resolving heating and cooling issues in certain parts of your home, or as a replacement consideration for an existing central system.
Call Your Trusted Heat Pump and Heating Pros!
In the Denver-Boulder metro area, our knowledgeable, experienced team at Save Home Heat Company sees a wide variety of homes on a regular basis. There’s no rule of thumb for the recommendations we’ll make until we learn more about your existing home comfort system and hear what your goals are. Rest assured that we will customize our recommendations to match your home and preferences regarding comfort, price and energy efficiency, and that we will present those recommendations in an informative, low-pressure manner.
As always, you can trust the experience and expertise of Save Home Heat Company to take care of all your home heating, cooling, plumbing, electrical, and indoor air quality needs. Please contact us today to schedule service or to obtain a free install quote.