The term hybrid has been used extensively to describe today’s fuel efficient cars. The heating and cooling industry has used hybrid heating systems, also known as dual fuel systems, for decades.
In a hybrid car the system decides when to use electricity and when to use gasoline for optimum performance and economy.
The same holds true for hybrid heating systems. Most commonly, a gas furnace is installed with a heat pump (rather than a simple central air conditioner). Heat pumps perform best at milder winter temperatures, as the temperature drops the system will shut down the heat pump and switch over to the gas furnace.
In rural areas some homeowners have install high efficiency propane furnaces as the back up to the heat pump.
An interesting feature is that the systems are adjustable. There is an outdoor thermostat that determines when the heat pump shuts off and the furnace takes over. If natural gas rates were to rise a homeowner can adjust the heat pump to run more, if electric rates rise the gas furnace can be adjusted to carry more of the load. Fuel choice may be an attractive option to have in the future.
Heat pumps act exactly the same as an air conditioner in the summer months. They provide the same Btu’s of cooling sound the same, use the same amount of energy and are the same size and shape. Heat pumps are more expensive and estimates range between a few hundred to as much as a few thousand dollars more than just an air conditioner.
If you are a homeowner considering a central air conditioning system we encourage you to ask a heating and cooling professional about a hybrid heating system.
Web Site: http://www.aaaheatingandcoolinginc.com