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Dual Fuel System vs. Furnace: Which is Better For My Phoenix Home?

2020 Nov 09
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Trying to decide whether a dual fuel system or a standalone furnace is the best option for your Phoenix home? 

For Phoenix homeowners, we’d recommend a dual fuel system. 

Here’s why...

A dual fuel system is the combination of an electric heat pump and a gas furnace. This setup gives you maximum energy savings (heat pump) and maximum comfort (furnace). 

We know this only scratches the surface of your questions, so below, we’ll look at:

  • How dual fuel systems work
  • Why a dual fuel system is the best option for Phoenix homeowners
  • A few situations in which a dual fuel system may not be the best option

First, let’s dive into how dual fuel systems work in the first place.

Rather just speak to a professional who can help you determine which type of heating system is best for your home? We can help with that! Learn more about the heating installation services we offer or schedule installation! 

How dual fuel systems work

As we mentioned above, a dual fuel system is a mix between an electric heat pump and a gas furnace. Essentially, a dual fuel system works by utilizing the heat pump when the temperature outside is mild and then switching to a gas furnace when the temperature gets too cold. 

Let’s look at the ins-and-outs of how (and why) this system works the way it does...

The heat pump part of a dual fuel system: 

When temperatures are mild (30 degrees or higher), a dual fuel system will use a heat pump to heat your home. 

Heat pumps don’t actually produce heat, but instead they absorb heat from the air outside and bring that heat inside your home. Because heat pumps transfer heat instead of creating it, they’re extremely efficient. 

However, there is a downside to the way electric heat pumps heat your home. As we mentioned above, heat pumps transfer heat. And, when the outside temperature drops low enough, there’s not enough heat in the air outside to transfer into your home. 

When the temperature drops low enough that your heat pump begins to struggle, a dual fuel system will automatically switch over to your gas furnace.

The gas furnace part of a dual fuel system: 

Unlike heat pumps, gas furnaces produce heat, so no matter what the outside temperature is, a gas furnace will be able to adequately heat your home. 

When the temperature gets high enough for your heat pump to start working adequately again, the dual fuel system will kick back over to using the heat pump. 

Summary:

Dual fuel systems rely on a heat pump to heat your home until the temperature drops too low. Then the system will switch over to a gas furnace. Ultimately, this gives you the most savings along with the most comfort (more on that next). 

Why a dual fuel system is the better choice for Phoenix homeowners

Now that you know how a dual fuel system works, you might be wondering, “Well, if a gas furnace can heat my home regardless of the temperature, why bother with a heat pump at all?” 

As we mentioned, heat pumps are extremely efficient. According to Energy.gov, heat pumps can reduce your electricity for heating by about 50% compared to furnaces. 

So, having a heat pump run for as much of the winter as possible vs having a furnace run all of the time will save you quite a bit of money in the long run.

 

A few reasons why a dual fuel system may not be the best choice for your home

Even though we would recommend a dual fuel system for most Phoenix homeowners, there are a few situations in which a furnace or a heat pump by itself may be the best option for you.

You may want to go with only a furnace or heat pump if: 

You don’t have access to gas - If you don’t have gas appliances, there are two reasons why installing a dual fuel system won’t make sense:

1. Gas furnaces require you to pipe gas to your home and they require special ventilation. The “set up” costs for piping gas to your home and installing ventilation are very expensive and probably wouldn't be worth it. 

2. Gas isn’t available to all Phoenix homeowners, so even if you were willing to pay for gas to be piped to your home, it’s not an option for every residential area of Phoenix. 

Installing two systems is out of your budget-  If installing both a heat pump and a furnace is out of your budget, we’d suggest sticking with the type of system you currently have. So, if you currently have a heat pump, we’d suggest installing another heat pump. If you currently have a furnace/AC combo, we’d suggest sticking with that.

If you’re still on the fence about whether or not a dual fuel system is the best option for your home, you should reach out  to a professional for advice. They will be able to accurately determine which option is best for your home and budget. 

 

Ready to install a new heating system? Hire the best in Phoenix: George Brazil

Whether you’re sold on a dual fuel system or you aren’t sure whether a dual fuel or a furnace is the best option for your home, we can help. We have years of experience helping Phoenix homeowners decide on the best heating solution for your home.

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