When the time comes for your heating and air conditioning equipment to be replaced, one of the things you should consider if you live along the Wasatch Front is a “dual fuel” system. Dual fuel systems have been popular in many parts of the United States for years, but have been less frequently used in homes along the Wasatch Front because of the extremely cold temperatures we experience in the winter. But that is starting to change with improvements in technology and the popularity of residential solar.

What is a dual fuel system

As the name implies, a dual fuel system has two energy sources on which it can rely to heat your home. In our case, those two heat sources are gas and electricity.

How does a dual fuel system work

Your “traditional” central air conditioning system uses a condenser, compressor, and refrigerant to extract heat from your home. Here’s a very simplified explanation of how it works:

  • A blower and a series ductwork circulate air through your home by drawing air in through the air returns and out through your floor and/or ceiling air registers.
  • As the air circulates through this system, it passes through an evaporator coil. The evaporator coil contains a network of copper pipes filled with liquid refrigerant. As the room temperature air from your home blows across these copper pipes, heat is removed from the air as it warms the refrigerant.
  • The “warm” refrigerant is then forced through piping to the outside your home and to your condenser/compressor unit (what we traditionally think of as our “air conditioner”), where the heat captured by the refrigerant is released.
  • Cooled refrigerant then returns back to the evaporator coil, and the process repeats.

A dual fuel system is able to reverse this process. In essence, when your system is in “heat” mode, it uses the warm (approximately 40 degrees Fahrenheit or higher) air from outside to heat the refrigerant. The “warm” refrigerant is then drawn into your house where it is exchanged with cooler air being circulated by your ducting and blower motor, thereby increasing the internal temperature of your home.

Why do I still need a gas furnace

When the temperature really starts to drop in Utah, there is less and less warmth in the air that can be extracted. With current technology, that threshold is typically reached around 40 degrees Fahrenheit. After the temperatures drop below that point, your gas furnace kicks in and starts to heat your home. With modern systems, this switch happens automatically or you can direct your system which heating source to use with a setting on your thermostat.

Are there incentives for installing a dual fuel system

If you have solar on your home, a dual fuel system can help you get the most out of the electricity your solar panels generate. That’s because, as long as your system can extract warmth from the air, you can heat and cool your home using just electricity.
There are also incentives for homeowners to install dual fuel systems, even if they don’t have solar. For example, gas and electricity utility providers often offer rebates when homeowners install these systems. Tax credits and manufacturer rebates are also available. With all these rebates, tax credits and other incentives, it can often cost less to install a dual fuel system.
If you’d like to learn more about installing a dual fuel system at your home, contact the experts at Blue Best Plumbing, Heating, Air, Generators. We go to great lengths to stay informed on the current incentives being offered so that we can help you save the most money possible on your new install. Give us a call today to schedule a free consultation.

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