Most of us know what a furnace is right? They are typically powered by natural gas or propane, and they keep our homes toasty warm during a Virginia winter season. Heat pumps are another method of heating, and they are all electric. Heat pumps work by reversing the air conditioning process. If that sounds confusing, you must understand that a comfortable home is all about one thing: Moving heat energy. In the summer, an air conditioning system moves heat energy out of the home, and in the winter, a heating system adds heat energy back.
How They Each Work
A furnace adds heat back by igniting a gas-fueled flame, and heating a metal “heat exchanger.” The furnace fan motor pulls air from the home via the return air duct(s), and the cold air is forced through the hot heat exchanger, which adds heat energy back to the air.
A heat pump heats by absorbing heat energy from the air outside, and using it to heat refrigerant. Even when the weather is cold, there is still heat energy in the air. So essentially, a heat pump takes heat energy from outside, and moves it inside. In the summer, a heat pump works identically to an air conditioner by removing heat energy from inside, and dissipating it into the outside air.
So…. Let’s get to why we started this blog post! Hybrid heating. What is it? Keep reading…
The Hybrid Advantage
Most home comfort systems use a gas furnace and electric air conditioner. Exchanging the air conditioner for a heat pump, creates a hybrid system. Well, almost. You also need a thermostat capable of controlling hybrid heating. So what’s the point? The point is that an electric heat pump is cheaper to run at mild winter temps (typically above freezing) than a gas furnace is. However, a gas furnace is the definite choice when our temps drop lower.
A hybrid heating system intelligently switches between the gas furnace and electric heat pump based on the outside temperature. This means you will pay a lot less for staying cozy during the winter! Hybrid systems really save if you’re in a rural area, and heating off propane.
If you’d like more info on hybrid heating, or any other type of indoor comfort service, schedule a free estimate today.
Thanks for reading the Delta T blog! We’re a Virginia Beach heating and air company known for honest, quality indoor comfort solutions.