Most gas furnaces are very reliable, but after several decades of use, even the most well-designed gas furnace will break down, lose efficiency, and need to be replaced. If you have an aging gas furnace and you want to replace your home's heating system, you might assume that installing a newer gas furnace is the best option.
Alternatively, many homes are switching from purely gas-powered heating to hybrid heat systems, and for good reason. Hybrid heating systems can have numerous advantages over conventional gas furnaces. However, hybrid heat systems also have some disadvantages when they are compared to the newest, high-efficiency gas furnaces.
If you are considering switching out your old gas furnace for hybrid heating, keep the following pros and cons in mind before making your decision concerning your residential heating.
Advantages of Replacing Gas Furnaces With Hybrid Heating
Hybrid heating systems, also known as hybrid heat pumps and dual fuel systems, are essentially two different heating systems combined into one. An air-source heat pump and a 'backup' gas furnace. When temperatures are relatively mild, the system uses the heat pump to extract heat from the air and pipe it into your home. When outdoor temperatures are too cold for the heat pump to function efficiently, the gas furnace kicks in to pick up the slack.
Heat pumps cannot produce as much heat as gas furnaces, but they are extremely energy efficient and do not produce any noxious emissions or greenhouse gases. Since a hybrid heating system only burns gas during the coldest weather, these systems are very environmentally friendly. Replacing your old gas furnace with hybrid heating can significantly reduce your home's energy consumption and carbon footprint, benefiting the environment as well as your bank account.
Improved Air Quality
Modern gas furnaces burn extremely hot. So hot that they burn away a lot of the moisture present in the air that passes through them. This can cause the air that comes out of a gas furnace to be very dry. Dry air can cause throat, skin, and eye irritation, especially during the depths of winter when your gas furnace may be running non-stop.
Because hybrid heating systems only burn gas when necessary, the warm air they produce retains a lot more moisture, leading to improved air quality. If you find that your skin and eyes become dry during the winter months, installing a hybrid heating system can lead to a significant improvement in air quality and humidity.
Disadvantages of Replacing Gas Furnaces With Hybrid Heating
Less Effective In Cold Climates
Modern air-source heat pumps are extremely efficient and can extract heat from the air even when outdoor temperatures are below freezing. However, they do lose a significant amount of efficiency when temperatures are very cold and consume more power. If you live in an area that sees frequent sub-zero temperatures for many months of the year, a high-efficiency gas furnace may be cheaper to run than a hybrid heating system.
Because hybrid heating systems use two separate heating systems, they usually cost more to purchase and install than an individual gas furnace. If you live in a relatively mild climate, the upfront cost will be defrayed over time by significantly lower running costs, but a gas furnace may prove to be more economical in colder parts of the country.
Consider these different factors when you seek out ways to improve your residential heating.