If you are a homeowner looking to install a new HVAC system, there are several decisions you have to make. You must decide how energy efficient you want your system to be, and what type of fuel your system will use. While there has been a trend for years for homeowners to install heat pumps, they do not work as efficiently as other systems if your weather drops below a certain temperature. A hybrid heating system may be the answer you a looking for, and they can be found in fossil fuel and electric configurations.
What Is A Hybrid HVAC System?
If you live in an area that has extreme temperature swings in the winter, it can often be difficult to get your home comfortable. You often have to choose whether you want to run your furnace or your air conditioning system. Switching back and forth between the two is not only inconvenient, but it can also quickly become very expensive in energy costs.
For example: If you choose to leave your heat on, your home can be warm and stuffy when you return. But if you choose to turn your system off, or turn your air on, your home can be too cool.
With a hybrid system, you do not have to make these choices. Your system will make these choices for you. Unlike a traditional HVAC that includes a furnace and an air conditioner, a hybrid system combines a furnace with a heat pump. This configuration allows your system to automatically adjust to the changing temperatures, and choose the most energy efficient method to get you to the comfort level you need to be.
What Makes The Hybrid System Different?
The heat pump is the major difference in a hybrid system. Even when it is cool outside, a heat pump is able to find and pull warm air into your home, without having to use a flame to heat this air. Unfortunately, once the temperature drops below a certain degree, the system kicks in electric resistance heat in an effort to warm this air up. If your heat pump has to stay in this mode too long, this type of heat can quickly get expensive.
With a hybrid system, once your system reaches this point, it will automatically switch to your fossil fuel heat source, which will be your furnace. Not only will this to more economical, but your furnace will supply air that will be slightly warmer than that supplied by your heat pump.
How Will A Hybrid System Save Me Money?
Your cost savings will depend on several things. Some of these factors include:
- The size and layout of your home
- Your heating load required
- The type and cost of the fossil fuel you choose to use to power your furnace
- Your average winter weather temperatures, and more
One of the primary ways that a hybrid system will save you money is by being able to automatically switch between the two systems as needed. Another way is through the quality of warm air your furnace is able to deliver if needed.
This is because a typical furnace is usually set to supply air that is approximately 50 degrees warmer than the temperature set on your thermostat. This means that if your thermostat is set at 72 degrees, the warm air coming from your furnace will be at approximately 122 degrees. Not only will this heat be coming from a fossil fuel, rather than an electrical source, you will need less of it since it will automatically be warmer heat. This means that you can keep your thermostat set at a lower temperature and still be comfortable in your home.
A heat pump on the other hand, only raises your air temperature by approximately 25 degrees. So this means that it is producing air that is only about 97 degrees, which is below your average body temperature. This can result in you feeling chilly if the temperature outside is below freezing, and may result in you bumping up your thermostat, and costing yourself more money. Due to the lower temperature throughout your home, your system will often also run longer in an effort to produce more heat in your home.
Like most hybrid items, hybrid systems can cost a little bit more upfront. This cost can average a little more than $7,200 if you have usable duct work, and even more if you do not.
Fortunately, if you live in an area that has lower temperatures throughout the winter, you should see cost savings in your energy costs over the life of your system. Will these energy savings be enough to offset the difference in the cost of the system? That is something you may want to discuss with your local HVAC contractor at a company like A One Heating & Air Conditioning. They will be able to give you more information on hybrid systems and help you decide if a hybrid system will be right for you.