Hybrid is a big buzz word these days. The HVAC industry (heating, ventilation, & air conditioning) also has hybrid systems. The system basically consists of a conventional warm air furnace that incorporates a heat pump. With the high cost of fuel, an electric heat pump can produce cost efficient heat. Higher efficiency heat pumps will operate down to about 25 degrees (outside) before the fuel burning furnace becomes more efficient. What does this all mean?... Homeowners will subsidize their overall fuel consumption dramatically. A natural gas furnace and heat pump combination has the least operating cost over both oil & propane.
What is a heat pump?
Think of it as an air conditioner that can run backwards for heating, or as the words imply, it moves heat. People have a hard time understanding heat extraction from what we feel is cold air. This is because we’re thinking of our own human comfort. In actuality, heat can be extracted from what we feel is freezing. Take a look at your refrigerator, it has the ability to extract heat from your food as you lower the setting. A heat pump works under the same principals.
Heat pump improvements...
Heat pumps of the past were typically paired with electric strip heaters which are energized at lower temperatures. This was costly and was a less efficient process of providing emergency heat. Electric heaters and lower season energy efficiency ratios (SEER) contributed to the unpopularity of the heat pump. The latest technology utilizes hybrid thermostat control which allow the homeowner to select the least expensive combination of fuel. Today, dual fuel hybrid systems can have as many as four stages of heat, bringing on different pieces of heating equipment.
There are split options available for homes with baseboard heating systems. For instance a home with a boiler can still be retrofitted for a ductless mini split heat pump. Mini split heat pumps will produce heat or A/C while operating down to about 5 degrees effectively.
Skeptical? LeBlanc Heating has several testimonials from customers with installed mini split systems claiming they have subsidized their fuel consumption as much as 45%. This is all while decreasing your carbon footprint through reduced consumption of fossil fuel.