A heat pump is an energy-efficient alternative to a conventional furnace that is growing in popularity in St. Louis area homes. But due to the freezing temperatures that we can sometimes experience during winter in our area, heat pumps are not always an efficient heating option. That’s where dual fuel heat pumps come to the rescue. Today we’re going to talk about what a dual fuel heat pump is and how it can efficiently heat your home no matter what the temperature is outside!

Heat pumps are not practical in bitter-cold temperatures

A heat pump works by extracting heat from the air outside and pumping that heat into your home. Although you might not think that this can be done when it’s cold outside, the truth is that there is always a certain amount of heat in the air. Heat pumps can effectively and efficiently heat your home in this manner even with outdoor temperatures in the low 30s.
When the temperature outside reaches the 20s and lower, however, there is not enough heat in the air that can be extracted to efficiently heat your home.

How a dual fuel heat pump handles cold weather

So how can you benefit from the energy savings that a heat pump provides while still efficiently heating your home during bitter-cold temperatures? By installing a dual fuel heat pump!
A dual fuel heat pump is a standard electric heat pump that has a gas-powered furnace as a backup heating supply. During milder winter days, only the heat pump is used. When outdoor temperatures dip too low for your heat pump to work effectively, the system automatically switches to using the backup furnace. Because this switch is done automatically, you likely won’t even notice a difference whether your home is using the furnace or the heat pump!

Two things to keep in mind with dual fuel heat pumps

There are two things you should keep in mind if you’re thinking about installing a dual fuel heat pump or if you already have one installed in your home. The first is that it’s important to schedule a tune-up on your system at the beginning of every heating season. Even though you might have gotten a tune-up on your heat pump in the spring, you should still schedule a tune-up during the fall as well to take care of issues that might have developed during the cooling season and also to have your backup furnace inspected and tuned-up before it’s put to use.
The second thing you should be aware of is that the thermostats for dual fuel heat pumps come with an “emergency heat” setting. When this setting is turned on, only your backup furnace will be used to heat your home. This setting should only be used when your heat pump is frozen or acting up and you want to shut it off and use your gas furnace while waiting for a technician to arrive. You should not use this setting just because it’s cold outside, because your heat pump will switch to your backup furnace automatically (as described above).
If you have any questions about a dual fuel heat pump, or if you’d like a heating system serviced or installed in your home, contact Jerry Kelly Heating & Air Conditioning, your St. Charles, MO, furnace repair and installation contractor. We provide service all over the St. Louis area, including towns like Ladue, Lake St. Louis, and Manchester, MO.

photo credit: bitzi ☂ ion-bogdan dumitrescu via photopin cc

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