Gas Furnace or Hybrid – Which is Better?
This has got to be one of the most common questions I get at the Web HVAC website! The truth is… A Gas Furnace is actually a key component in a Hybrid Heating System!
What is a Hybrid Heating System
To better understand how a Gas Furnace fits into a Hybrid HVAC System, you need to understand there are 2 key functions to a central HVAC system, Heating and Cooling! As it relates to a Hybrid System, the heating portion is all you are really interested in, since the cooling will remain the same, regardless.
Hybrid Heating Systems give you the ability to decide how you wish to heat your home, by providing 2 sources of heat!
- Gas Furnace, Preferably High Efficiency!
- Heat Pump Condensing Unit, Preferably High Efficiency!
How a Hybrid Heating System Works
[adsenseone]In the previous paragraph, we found out that in a Hybrid HVAC system, you have two individual sources of heating for your home. A Gas Furnace and a Heat Pump. Depending on the cost of utilities in your area, it may be more affordable to run one or the other, at different times. The variable of cost may even change at different times throughout one single day!
Scenario 1 – High Cost of Natural Gas
Assume for a minute that this year, natural gas costs rise considerably, yet the cost of electricity remains low. In a scenario like this, you would tell your heating system to use the electric heat pump for as much of your heating needs that it will handle, usually down to about 32 degrees outside.
You step over to your thermostat and program it to read the outdoor temperature. When the temp outside drops to 32 degrees, the heat pump will automatically switch over to the gas furnace for the heating of the home.
Scenario 2 – High Cost of Electricity
In this second situation, you are one of the fortunate ones that gets super cheap natural gas in your area! In this case, you reverse the above mentioned strategy, and instead, tell your hybrid heating system to use natural gas as much as possible for your heating needs, never really using the heat pump at all for the purpose of heating your home.
Hybrid Flexibility Pays Off Over Time!
Why anyone would install a simple AC Condenser outside their home nowadays is beyond me! Heat Pump units only cost about 50% more for the equipment, but can save you a significant amount of money over the course of a lifetime with your unit! Ex: 2.5 ton AC only unit costs about $800, the same size Heat Pump Condensing Unit costs about $1200. That extra $400 in the cost gives YOU control over how you heat your home in the colder months!
Even though one utility may be cheaper right now, history shows that the costs will fluctuate over time. Having the ability to make your own choice is priceless!