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What Is a Dual-Fuel Heat Pump?

Dual-fuel heat pumps combine an electric heat pump with a natural gas furnace, which is used for the auxiliary heat AKA backup heat. This system is also known as “hybrid heat”.

This setup is different from the typical heat pump which uses electric resistance heating as the auxiliary (supplementary) heat source.

In cold climates like Minnesota, many HVAC professionals highly recommend dual-fuel heat pumps instead of a regular heat pump because the dual-fuel system is overall more cost effective.

To help you understand why, we need to explain:   

  • Why a heat pump needs an auxiliary heat source in the first place
  • Why gas is a cheaper fuel source than electric resistance heating

Want a quote to install dual fuel system? Contact a Minnesota HVAC professional.

Why do heat pumps need auxiliary heat sources?

Here’s a crash course on why heat pumps need an auxiliary heat source:

  • Your heat pump acts as a reverse air conditioner; It moves heat from the air outdoors and brings that heat into your home.
  • When outdoor temperatures drop below 40°F, the heat pump can’t draw enough heat from outside to meet your home’s heating needs.
  • To help the heat pump keep up in this cold weather, the auxiliary heat source kicks on.

Learn more about the AUX thermostat setting.

So, you want to make sure that, in cold climates, the heat pump’s backup heating unit isn’t going to cost you an arm and a leg.

But why is a dual-fuel system more cost effective than a regular heat pump?

Why dual-fuel heat pumps are more cost effective

Despite being more “efficient,” the electric resistance coil is far more expensive to run  compared to a gas furnace.

Here’s why, according to energy.gov:

“Electric resistance heating is 100% energy efficient in the sense that all the incoming electric energy is converted to heat. However, most electricity is produced from coal, gas, or oil generators that convert only about 30% of the fuel's energy into electricity. Because of electricity generation and transmission losses, electric heat is often more expensive than heat produced in homes or businesses that use combustion appliances, such as natural gas, propane, and oil furnaces.“ (Emphasis ours.)

So, if your winters often get below 40 degrees, a dual-fuel heat pump system is far more cost effective than a regular heat pump system.

Do you live in Minnesota and want a heat pump system quote?

Call a Twin Cities HVAC company for a free heat pump installation quote.

Categories: Heating