Household heating/cooling takes up some 35% - 45% of residential energy use, you can achieve plenty of saving on energy when adopting a 'dual fuel' hybrid system; using heat pump for less punishing weather and stick with a gas furnace for really cold months. It is a proven technology and you can now alternate very warm air with very hot air through heat pump and furnace respectively.
A high efficiency gas furnace can reduce your utility bill by $200 within one winter, and during milder days in the season, the back-up gas furnace would no longer be necessary if you are on duel fuel heat pump, making the savings even significantly more. If you are contemplating a replacement for existing AC system or midway through remodelling to add an extra zone, why not consider dual fuel system when the heat pump can function like an additional AC; creating a warm-air-out and cold-air-in cycle during hot days. Just imagine two-ways AC unit.
The Return on Investment is derived on a high-efficiency 2 ton duel fuel heat pump (c/w special thermostat) with price-tag that is $1,000 more compared to a similar capacity AC-only system. The additional investment on duel fuel heat pump can be easily recovered with savings achieved, and you can pick from heat pump or gas furnace (or duel fuel heat pump) based on temperate as well as gas vs. electricity rates. A number of electric companies extend reduced kWh rates from October to March for households that use heat pumps. If you are installing a brand new Air Source Heat Pump, you are entitled to 30% Tax Credit on all associated costs.
1. Air-Source Heat Pump (or ASHP): This comprises of either one complete assembly or sub-assemblies. Invariably all these units would include compressor (s), indoor conditioning coil(s) and outdoor coil(s), in addition to a heating element. ASHP is used to heat up cool air to some preset temperature, and it is sometimes combined with functions such as humidifying, dehumidifying, air-cooling and air-circulation.
2. Central Air Conditioner: This is either one complete assembly or sub-assemblies that typically come with condenser(s), compressor(s) and evaporator(s)/cooling coil(s). Its main function is to provide air-cooling, and it is sometimes combined with functions such as humidifying, dehumidifying, air-cleaning and air-circulation.
3. Single Package: This refers to an ASHP or a central air conditioner that comes with condenser and air-circulation functions in complete package.
4. Split System: This refers to an ASHP or a central air conditioner that comes with separate evaporator (indoor) and condenser (outdoor) unit. The energy efficiency of a split system is measured by its actual condenser/evaporator coil combination.
For AC units with external condenser/compressor that were installed prior to 2000, chances are that these units offer a SEER energy efficiency of 8-9 versus the optimal 14 or higher. This SEER rating is derived form the total cooling output (over a cooling period) divided by total electricity required (during the same cooling period) in kilowatts-hours. Higher SEER rating denotes higher efficiency. Replacing the old AC unit with a heat pump (preferably dual fuel type) would yield significantly better efficiency, in comparisons with a brand-new A/C unit replacement. Duel fuel heat pump costs only marginally higher and required similar labor work.
Air Conditioning Economizer - Economizers like the IntelliCon®-AC are able to cut down at least 10-20% of residential Air Conditioning electric bill. This UL listed and microcomputer-controlled IntelliCon-AC can self-adjust the compressor cycles in ordr to hit the optimal efficiency (while impressively keeping the household comfortable according to pre-programmed thermostat setting), thus reducing electrical waste. IntelliCon-AC can be fixed by professional installer and is free of maintenance. Out of pocket cost, including installation, is around US$300 - US$400, and you have the guarantee of 10% savings on your energy used (though many have reported of closer to 15% - 20% savings). Average AC would cost you US$400 yearly, so you save US$40 minimum a year (and likely double that amount during warmer months).
Duel Fuel Heat Pump Tips:
Don’t create air blockage – With more than 40% of utility bills goes to heating/cooling, it makes sense that we try to ensure our investments run as efficiently as possible. You can do landscape around your heat pump but make sure of proper ventilation.
ALWAYS keep your duel fuel heat pump clean – especially base boards, radiators, heat supply registers and the cold air return vent grills.