The climate of Fayetteville makes hybrid heat and smart HVAC systems a good choice for keeping homes comfortable. Temperatures are fairly moderate throughout the year, but they do require a heating and cooling system for dependable indoor comfort. HVAC systems that combine the best technology available are ideal options in this climate.
Smart HVAC Systems
A smart HVAC system embodies components that relay information to it that affect how it runs. Variable-speed and inverter technology placed in the blower motors and compressors cut energy use in heat pumps and central cooling systems. Furnaces with modulating gas valves adjust their heat output based on the need for heat.
These types of smart technology adapt the amount of energy the system uses based on the amount of heating and cooling they need. Most systems run at a single speed regardless of the conditioning load. These systems start and stop more frequently, which wears the parts faster.
What Are Hybrid Heating Systems?
A hybrid system combines the best of heat pumps with combustion furnaces. A heat pump functions as both a cooling and heating system by extracting heat and moving it from one place to another. In the heating mode, the heat pump pulls heat out of the outdoor air and brings it inside, the reverse of what it does in the summer.
A combustion furnace relies on fuel to create heat, typically using natural gas or propane, although oil and wood can also be used as fuels. The fuel uses a combustion chamber and the heat it creates warms a heat exchanger, over which the air blows, warming it.
Benefits of Hybrid Systems
A heat pump works well as a heating system until temperatures fall near or below 30 degrees. When the heat pump can’t gather enough heat to keep your home warm, it switches to an electric resistance coil, which uses much more electricity than the heat pump to provide the same amount of heat. With hybrid heat, instead of turning on the electric coil, the system switches the heating function to the combustion furnace.
Efficiency Rating Basics
The minimum standard for seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) for a cooling system stands at 14 and combustion heating systems must have an annual fuel utilization efficiency (AFUE) rating of 80 and higher. The minimum heating season performance factor (HSPF) for heat pumps stands at 8.2.
Improved technology raises the efficiency of HVAC appliances, and the increases are reflected in the SEER ratings, although not necessarily the heating efficiency. The AFUE rating doesn’t include the amount of electricity the system uses, even though its usage adds to its operating costs.
Smart Parts of Hybrid Heating
Each heat pump has a balance point where the system decides whether it needs to switch to supplemental heating from the electric coil. When heat pumps are installed, the thermostat is set at this balance point based on the pump’s HSPF.
More efficient heat pumps have lower balance points, which means they extract heat at lower temperatures. Hypothetically, a less efficient pump may switch over at 35 degrees, while one with a higher HSPF will switch at 25 degrees. The thermostat with hybrid heat keeps track of the balance point and instead of switching to the coil, it sends the heat signal to the combustion furnace instead.
Since the winters in this region are comparatively mild, the heat pump can efficiently supply most of the heat your home needs. It may switch to the furnace component overnight or during exceptionally cold weather. Hybrid heat saves energy because the pump uses the heat available outdoors, unlike a combustion furnace that burns a nonrenewable fuel to create it.