Are Dual Fuel Heating Systems Worth It? Here’s What To Consider

Bry'Ana Arvie
Written by Bry'Ana Arvie
Updated January 12, 2022
A couple covered in a blanket
Photo: MoMo Productions / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Highlights

  • Dual fuel heating systems are energy efficient and adaptable 

  • These systems are budget-friendly, but have a high upfront cost of $2,500 to $10,000

  • People who experience harsh climates and frequent temperature fluctuations benefit most from this type of system

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Those in the market for a new heating system may have heard about dual fuel heating systems. The internet says they’re the talk of the town, but are they worth the hype? If your most recent energy bill had your pulse jumping, or your home is constantly three degrees short of comfort, than dual fuel systems might be your saving grace. Let’s look at whether switching from your current heating system to a dual one is worth it.

What is a Dual Fuel Heating System?

A dual fuel heating system, also known as a hybrid, is a type of HVAC system that uses an electric heat pump and a gas furnace to keep your home comfortable. During moderate temperatures—typically in the spring, summer, and fall—your electrical heat pump is usually all that’s needed to stabilize your indoor temps. However, your heat pump may need a little help pushing the heat you need during colder months. In these instances, the gas furnace portion of your dual fuel heating system will take over to heat up your home. Both elements work in a near perfect uninion to heat your home more efficiently and without waste. 

Pros of a Dual Fuel Heating System

Here are a few reasons why dual fuel heating systems are the go-to heating system for some homeowners. 

Energy Efficient

An electric heat pump and a gas furnace both do an excellent job keeping the cold air at bay. Electric heat pumps work better in mild to moderately cold weather, while gas furnaces shine in frigid temperatures. According to Energy Saver, an electric heat pump can reduce your energy usage by 30% to 60% on average compared to using only a furnace, so you’ll reap the energy benefits by leveraging both elements throughout the year. 

Continual Comfort

Because of their dual nature, these systems will ensure that you get an adequate amount of heat when you need it, without asking. You can also switch it over to the manual setting as needed. If you prefer keeping your home slightly cooler, regardless of the outdoor temperature, a dual system can handle it.  

Cost-Effective

Nothing says a hefty electric bill like blasting your heater in the winter. Luckily, one study found that a typical 2,100 square foot home slashed their winter energy bills by $26 using a dual fuel system. Exactly how much you save depends on your home’s size, local climate, and how energy-efficient your home is overall.  

Uses Less Harmful Gas

With a dual fuel system, you’ll still only use your electric heat pump for the majority of the year, which means you’ll burn less gas. A study by Sustainable Technologies found that you can reduce the carbon footprint associated with natural gas heating by 30% with a dual system.   

Cons of a Dual Fuel Heating System

A technician repairing a gas furnace
Photo: GregorBister / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Not everything that glitters is gold. Dual-fuel heating systems have their advantages, but they have a few drawbacks that we’ll cover below. 

High Upfront Cost

While you do save money in the long run with these two-for-one heating systems, one of their downsides is that their initial cost might be a little steep. According to HomeAdvisor, the price to add a dual fuel system to an existing pump is $2,500 to $6,000, while installing a new system typically costs $4,500 to $10,000

Takes Up More Space

A dual system will likely need more space, potentially posing a problem for homeowners who don’t have abundant outdoor space for their unit. 

Is a Dual Fuel Heating System Worth it?

Wondering who could benefit from a dual heating system? For many, it is a budget-friendly answered prayer. For others, it’s all hassle, no gain. Whether it’s worth your investment depends on the climate. 

Best climates for dual heating systems: Extreme climates and temperature fluctuations 

Electric heat pumps won’t suffice during frigid weather. They’ll struggle to combat cold air in your home and cause your energy bill to rise. But a gas furnace can quickly heat up a home until the temperatures level out when your heat pump can take over again. 

Best climates for heat pumps: Mild climates with warmer temperatures

If you live in an area where the temperatures are warmer and rarely bitter, an electric heat pump is a sufficient heating system for your needs

Contact your local HVAC professional for more specific advice on whether a dual fuel heating system is right for you and your home. They’ll analyze your situation and determine what system will be the most energy- and cost-efficient for you.

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