Why a hybrid system saves energy
A heat pump is cheaper to operate than even a 95% high efficiency gas furnace when the outside air temperature is above 35 degrees. When it is below 35 degrees outside a 95% high efficiency furnace is cheaper to operate.
To obtain the lowest possible annual operating costs a combination of a 95% high efficiency furnace and a heat pump should be used. This combination is called a "Hybrid System”. A temperature sensor installed outside keeps track of the temperature and sends that information to the controller of the “Hybrid System.” The controller then decides which source of heat is the most efficient. The “Hybrid System” automatically switches to either the furnace or the heat pump depending on the outside temperature.
By combining a 95% high efficiency furnace with a heat pump your energy bills are reduced giving you a pay-back for your investment in the higher initial cost of a “Hybrid System.” The heat pump also cools your home during the summer months just like a cool only air conditioner.
Who should own a hybrid system?
Anyone who would like to reduce their heating and cooling bills, and, at the same time, save our natural resources by using less energy should consider owning a hybrid system.
Smart homeowners research their large purchases to determine what benefits they will gain before they buy. A heat pump and 95% high efficiency furnace working together gives you the advantage of lower operating costs and peace of mind knowing that you are participating in good ecological stewardship
What is the energy efficiency rating of a heat pump?
A heat pump's energy efficiency is rated by how many British thermal units (Btus) of heat it moves from outside your home to the inside in the winter, or from the inside to the outside in the summer, for each watt-hour of electrical energy it consumes. Every heat pump has an Energy Guide label, which features the heat pump's heating and cooling efficiency performance rating, comparing it to other available makes and models. The Heating Seasonal Performance Factor (HSPF) gives the number of BTUs gained per watt-hour used. The most efficient heat pumps have an HSPF of between 8 and 10. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) rating shows heat pump cooling efficiency. The higher the SEER, the less the heat pump costs to cool your home. The most efficient heat pumps have SEERs of between 14 and 18.
What is a hybrid heat pump system?
A hybrid heat pump system is a combination of a 95% high efficiency furnace and a heat pump that automatically switches to operate either the furnace or the heat pump depending on the outside temperature. This makes the most efficient use of the energy that the system uses to heat your home.
A heat pump is really just an air conditioner that has a reversing valve that lets it switch between heating and cooling. For cooling your home the valve allows the refrigerant to take heat from inside your home and move it outside. To heat your home the valve reverses and the heat pump then moves heat into your home at up to three times more efficiently than electric resistance heat.
An outside temperature sensor keeps track of the weather and sends that information to the controller for the hybrid system. The controller automatically switches to the most efficient source of heat.
What is the energy efficiency rating of a furnace?
A furnace is rated by giving it an AFUE number. The easiest way to understand this is to think in terms of how much money that gets wasted out the flu vent on the furnace. For example an 80% efficiency furnace uses 80 cents out of every dollars worth of gas to heat the house and 20 cents gets wasted out the vent pipe. Where a 95% efficiency furnace saves 95 cents out of every dollars worth of gas to heat your home and only 5 cents gets wasted out the vent.
Many older furnaces are only 70% efficient so switching to a 95% efficiency furnace saves huge amounts of gas that would have been wasted. Couple this with a high efficiency heat pump and you can see how efficient and environmentally friendly you can become.
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