Dual-fuel systems use the gas furnace when the outside temperature is low and rely on the heat pump when the temperatures are higher. A heat pump’s thermostat controls the heat pump unit and when the outside temperature is so low the heat pump cannot maintain the desired temperature in the home, the thermostat calls for second stage heat. At that point, the lockout control shuts down the heat pump and lets the gas furnace operate off the indoor thermostat. Both systems never operate at the same time.
According to a story in the Arcoaire Dealer Access newsletter, it is easy to sell customers on the idea when the local utility company is offering an attractive incentive. Fox said his local utility company, Aquila Energy, offers a reduction on electric rates to customers who purchase dual-fuel systems or install a heat pump.
“Dual-fuel sales are about 50% of our business,” he said. He added that a lot of subdivisions in his area advertise on their signs that they feature housing with reduced electric rates.
“Our work is mostly new construction, with some replacement work,” he said. Fox added that most builders in his area choose the 80% gas furnaces and 10 SEER air conditioners and heat pumps.
Publication date: 09/30/2002