What Are Hybrid Heating Systems?

Consider Your Heating System and Climate

Every home and its energy requirements are unique, so when considering a new heating system, many factors should be considered, including:

  • What fuel options are readily prevalent and available in your area?  What are the current markets and how will they effect the costs associated with the fuel option?
  • Consider the climate in your region.  Winters are usually harsh in Colorado, requiring a heating system that can withstand the burden.
  • How long do you plan to be in your home?  Compare the cost of investment in a new heating system with the cost savings in long term energy costs.

When considering a new heating system for their home, many people only consider two options: a heat pump system or natural gas.  However, a third option, a hybrid heating system, might be the best choice for heating your home.

Hybrid Heating Systems

A hybrid heating system has the best of both worlds of heating systems.  Hybrid heating systems are also called dual-fuel systems.  They are not usually considered in our area due to the colder weather climate in the Colorado region.  However, hybrid heating systems can be an excellent alternative to traditional heating and cooling systems, even saving you money in the long run.  

The hybrid heating system, or dual fuel system, combines the best of both a heat pump system and a natural gas system.  A hybrid heating system is comprised of several components and requires specific controls in order to operate the most efficiently. The heat pump is installed on the exterior of the house. The evaporative coil and natural gas furnace are located on the inside. The dual fuel thermostat is also a key component that is located inside and controls the system.

The heat pump will function in the same manner as a traditional central air conditioning condenser when used for cooling in the summer. The difference between a heat pump and an air conditioner is that a heat pump has the ability to reverse the flow of refrigerant and absorb heat from the air outside. It will transfer the heat and release it into the duct work in your house. It should be called a “heat and cool pump” if named accurately, as it does both with one unit.

The amount of BTUs or heat that it will transfer directly depends on the temperature of the outside air. The warmer the air, the more efficient the heat pump is. The heat pump can even be efficient at absorbing and transferring heat at temperatures as low as 30 degrees Fahrenheit.

Every heat pump system uses a secondary or auxiliary source of heat. In some climates, electric strips are used. In a true hybrid system, a gas furnace is used. A gas furnace is a much more efficient secondary source than electric strips.

A dual fuel thermostat, with an outside sensor installed, are necessary to control the hybrid heating system. There is a set point which determines at what temperature the system switches over to gas and then back to the heat pump. This set point can be changed at any time depending on current gas and electrical rates.

The Bottom Line for Hybrid Heating Systems

A hybrid heating system will automatically use whatever source is the most efficient to heat your home throughout the day. Generally it will use the heat pump during the day and the gas furnace in the morning and the night. You will use less natural gas and save money at the same time. Hybrid systems are a very “green” way to heat your home and cut down on fossil fuel sources.

While a hybrid system, may cost more in initial equipment and installation.  The system will normally pay for itself in three to five years through energy cost savings.

Go Green Heating and Air Conditioning is experienced with the installation and repair of hybrid heating systems. Make sure that a heat loss and heat gain load calculation is performed to properly size a system for your home! Call for a more detailed explanation and for the best pricing and customer service in the Denver area.