SMO Energy

How Old is Your Heat Pump?

If you have an older HVAC system, you’re probably throwing away a lot of money each year. If you’re looking for ways to save on your energy bills, look no further than a dual fuel HVAC system. This hybrid energy system provides the best of several types of equipment.

A dual fuel system is a combination of a fuel oil furnace system and an air-sourced heat pump.The combination of the two systems provides a more economical solution than heating with your furnace alone. How do these two systems work together?

How a Heat Pump Works

A heat pump functions like an air conditioner, except it does more to keep the house comfortable all year long. In cold weather, it extracts heat from the air outside and moves it inside to warm the home. In warm weather the heat pump reverses that process, extracting cool air from the outside and moving it inside. By moving air from one location to another using just a small amount of energy, a heat pump can be a very efficient way of keeping your home comfortable. The heat pump can use either an air handler or a furnace to distribute air in the home.

Heat pumps are easy to install because they don’t require any new systems like standard HVAC equipment. They’re a greener way to heat and cool your home, because they just transfer heat instead of a furnace that burns fuel. While there are many types of heat pumps, they all operate on the same principle of heat transfer.

By taking advantage of heat’s natural movements and transferring from the heat source to the heat sink, the pump keeps you comfortable while only requiring a small bit of energy. If you have a hot tub or heated pool, you may already be using a heat pump as a water heater.

The heating efficiency of a heat pump is measured by Heating Season Performance Factor, or HSPF. An efficient heat pump should have an HSPF rating of eight through 10. The cooling efficiency of a heat pump is measured by by the SEER system, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating.

How a Furnace Works

While heat pumps are very effective in moderately cold temperatures, more extreme conditions may call for additional heat. The heat pump can be used in conjunction with a propane furnace to make what’s called a dual fuel system. While homeowners have been heating their homes with furnaces for many years, today’s modern propane furnace is more effective, more compact and more energy efficient than older furnaces that run on wood or electricity.

In many cases of a dual system, the furnace is used to circulate warm air from the heat pump. The furnace becomes the backup heat for when the outside temperature drops well below 40 degrees. When the temperature does drop, the heat pump shuts off and the propane furnace kicks it into high gear to keep your home warm. That means the rest of the time, you save money by not burning any fuel oil in the furnace.

Energy Efficiency All Year Long

This hybrid system works best in moderate to colder climates. At lower temperatures, a heat pump alone would rely on electric resistance back-up heat, which can affect your energy bill. The high performance propane furnace is more efficient, and keeps your home comfortable in the colder months than a heat pump on its own. Likewise, the heat pump is more efficient cooling your house down in the warmer months that other HVAC systems.

This hybrid system can be installed to save you money every year. In addition to saving money and feeling comfortable in any weather, you can also feel good about reducing your carbon footprint and helping the environment.

If you’re curious about upgrading your heating equipment, contact our friendly staff. At SMO Energy, our NATE-certified technicians can install a new, efficient system. Whether it’s a fuel oil furnace or a heat pump replacement, we can help keep your family comfortable while saving money on fuel.