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What Is a Hybrid Heating System?


In our area, the climate is not exactly tropical. We have very cold winters that go on for quite a while. Many people assume that this means heat pumps are not an option here. But that’s not actually the case! It’s possible to reap many of the benefits of a heat pump while staying warm all winter in a cold climate. How? With a hybrid heating system. 

Heat Pump Efficiency

If you purchase a new heat pump today, it will be very efficient as an air conditioner. This is largely because AC technology has improved in the last few years and efficiency standards have gone up. But if you purchase a new air conditioner, it will be similarly efficient at cooling your home. 

Heating is where heat pump efficiency is really mind-blowing. The trick is that generating heat, whether you do it with a fire, a gas furnace, or an electric heater, always requires a ton of energy. But a heat pump can operate on a small fraction of that energy because it doesn’t generate any heat. It only moves it from one place to another!

Heat Pumps in Cold Weather

Using refrigerant flowing through coils, a heat pump can transfer heat from outdoors into the air of your home. It might seem like it would have to be pretty warm outside for this to work, but no. Since it operates on the heat differential, not the specific temperature, it only has to be warmer out than the temperature of the super-cooled refrigerant. Heat pumps work amazingly at temps as low as 40 degrees.

Hybrid Systems

Below 40 degrees, the efficiency of the heat pump begins to be less impressive, and once the temperature is down to 25, it would be too inefficient to work effectively. But in our area, we can have long stretches of temps that low. The solution is either a cold-climate heat pump or a hybrid system, also called a dual fuel system, which provides an automatic backup for the heat pump.

As long as the heat pump is working efficiently, that’s the heating system your home will rely on. When the temperature—and thus the heat pump’s efficiency—drops, a gas-powered auxiliary heating system will kick on. As soon as the temperature returns to a range that will allow the heat pump to work well again, the gas heater will automatically turn off.

By utilizing this kind of system, you’ll be able to heat your home all spring and fall, and during the less-cold days of the winter, with the most efficient heating technology that exists. You’ll only use more energy when it’s absolutely necessary, and the transitions between the two will be seamless and automatic. And this system will function as your air conditioner all summer as well!

Ducted or Ductless

While many homes use ductwork for their heating and cooling, others have no ducts, or have ducts which are in very poor condition. Heat pumps and hybrid systems can be used with ductwork. They can also be used with a mini split alternative in Woburn, MA, eliminating the need for ductwork entirely.

If you’d like to find out more about the heat pump and hybrid options available, we’d love to help you find the system that works best for your home, your lifestyle, and your budget.

Reach out to Cooling Unlimited, Inc. to speak with qualified heating and cooling experts.

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