Energy-efficiency is an important trend today among homeowners, not only because energy-efficiency is better for the environment but because it's also better for your wallet. If you're getting ready to replace your furnace this fall before the cold weather starts, you may want to consider a hybrid model. These are some things to consider before you start.
Do you have a somewhat unpredictable climate?
If the most reliable thing about your weather is that it will probably change in the next hour or two, a hybrid furnace system with a dual-speed fan could be a big energy and money saver. A hybrid heating system can be set to handle the cooler temperatures that come with an elongated autumn or mild winter weather using an electric heat pump. Once the temperature dips closer to freezing, you can switch the unit to propane. This lets you conserve the expensive propane for the most critical times.
A dual-speed fan comes in handy for essentially the same reasons. If you live in an area where the temperature ranges can have you reaching for the furnace controls in the morning and the air conditioner by mid-day, a dual-speed fan is ideal. The lower speed fan can cut the chill out of your house while using less energy than you'd need if the furnace were running full-tilt. It may also offer you better control over the temperature fluctuations in your house—since you won't be overheating the home early in the day, you might be able to avoid turning the air conditioning on later to compensate.
Can you save money using a hybrid system?
Economics are always an important factor when deciding what type of heating system you want for your home. You should check into the stability of both propane costs and deliveries in your area before deciding on a hybrid system.
As long as you're comfortable that you'll be able to get a steady, affordable supply of propane when you need it, a hybrid system can save you around $400 per year over a standard furnace. The average cost to install a dual-fuel system in a house with usable ductwork costs an average of just over $7,200. That is significantly more expensive than getting another traditional furnace, which averages a little more than $3,900, so you have to consider both the immediate cost and the long-range picture when making your decision.
For more information on hybrid furnace systems or to discuss your heating options, contact a company in your area that handles new furnace installation. They may be able to help you make the decision.