How Do Hybrid Heating Systems Work?

Many homeowners look forward to the day when carbon emissions are a thing of the past. They would love to reduce their carbon footprint without compromising on heating their homes. But how would they achieve this?

A hybrid heating system is a great solution. This type of heating system is highly efficient and can drastically reduce your monthly energy bill. Secondly, these systems are ideal for both winter and summer seasons.

This review will be an overview of how a hybridized system works, its benefits, the different types, and the installation cost. Read on to see what you have been missing for not installing a hybrid HVAC system.

Definition of a Hybrid Heating System

The term hybrid means a combination of two different elements. That is what hybrid heating systems are all about.

The system combines both an electric heat pump, and a gas furnace. As such, it can heat your home any time of the year, and will make sure that your home is always comfortable. It uses a network of ducts to ensure that every corner of your home is heated, no matter how cold it is outdoors.

Also known as dual-fuel systems, hybrid heating systems are the best alternative to traditional gas furnaces and electric heaters. Depending on the outdoor temperatures, they automatically determine which part of the unit will heat your house.

Essentially, hybrid heating systems seek to balance efficiency and comfort to help reduce carbon emissions and save you from high monthly bills.

How do Hybrid Heating Systems Operate?

Hybrid heating systems contain both gas and electric heating functions. It reacts to the temperatures outside to determine how to heat your home. In other words, the system chooses the most efficient mode to heat your house.

A hybrid heating system engages the heat pump to help heat your home when the temperatures get colder. The heat pump draws heat from the outdoors, so long as the temperatures are not low, and distributes it indoors. It uses a refrigerant to absorb the heat outside and transfer it to the indoor air. 

When the outdoor temperatures fall below -10 degrees Celsius, the gas, or combustion, the furnace kicks in. The system automatically wakes the gas furnace for extra heat when it detects extremely cold conditions.

The system does so through a sensor on the outdoor heat pump that analyzes the outdoor temperatures. This way, indoor heating is always active.

The key benefits of a hybrid heating system are as follows:

  1. Convenience. The system can switch between modes seamlessly. This means you do not need to worry when the temperatures change outside. It will automatically swap modes to keep the heating on.
  2. Energy efficiency. The system only consumes small amounts of energy since it knows when to change the heating options. For instance, it uses a heat pump which consumes less energy during the summer and warmer months.
  3. Both heating and cooling options. The hybrid HVAC system provides both heating and cooling benefits for your home. As such, your home will be comfortable year-round.
  4. Environmental friendly. The system favors the environment because it can choose between fuel sources in the most economical ways. It doesn’t only rely on a gas furnace throughout the year, which reduces carbon emissions.

Types of Hybrid Heating Systems

You have two options when choosing a heat pump hybrid system: the air or the ground source heat pump.

While the two types of heat pumps operate similarly, their installation is significantly different. Let us see how:

Ground Source Heat Pumps

As its name suggests, this heat pump draws heat from beneath the ground. Special trenches are dug in the ground to store the pump’s inner workings. It then absorbs heat from the rocks and the surface soil in the ground.


  • It is easy to maintain.
  • It is energy efficient.
  • Its installation process is simple if you have enough space to dig a trench in your compound.
  • It is part of the Renewable Heat Incentive family.


  • The installation process is costly.
  • You need ample space for the trench or hole to be dug.

Air Source Heat Pumps

The air source heat pump gets heat from the outdoor air. After that, it transfers it to your home’s heating system to warm your house. It usually uses a refrigerant to absorb and transfer the hot air to your indoor air.


  • It is energy efficient.
  • The installation procedure is straightforward.
  • It is less expensive compared to the ground source heat pump.
  • It is also part of the Renewable Heat Incentive team.


  • It is less efficient in cooler conditions.
  • It helps to have a lot of space on your property to install the fan unit.

Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Hybrid Heating System

When looking for an effective hybrid system, there are several things that you should look for. It would be best to always do your due diligence before settling for a system.

Some of the things you should look for in a hybrid heating system include the following: 

Equipment Size

You should be aware of the size of your heating system. When considering your equipment size, consider the exterior exposure, your home duct system design, and the square footage area that requires cooling or heating. Remember, an oversized or undersized system tends to be less efficient.


Always have a budget when purchasing a hybrid heating and cooling system. Buy a system that meets both your budget and your cooling and heating needs.


It is important to consider the lifespan of your heating system. It can be frustrating and expensive to have to buy a new system regularly. A good and effective hybrid heating system should last 15-20 years.

Brand to Buy

There are only a handful of brands for hybrid heating systems in the market. Most sellers claim that they offer the best, which may result in uncertainty. If you aim to use the best, stick with a brand that produces HVAC appliances only. Call a professional technician to help you out.

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