About five years ago, I made the investment into a dual fuel system for my home. Combining a heat pump rather than an air conditioner with a furnace is quite expensive. However, for the extreme weather conditions in my local area, the benefits make the added cost worthwhile. We expect temperature fluctuations from negative twenty to ninety degrees. We experience excessive amounts of snow, dangerous wind chill, high humidity, freezing rain and just about every type of weather challenge. For the majority of the year, we rely on either the heating or cooling system. There is seldom an opportunity to open the windows and simply enjoy some fresh air. The cost of indoor temperature control is responsible for approximately fifty percent of the household energy budget. In cooling mode, a heat pump performs exactly like a central air conditioner. It uses refrigerant to pull heat out of the indoor environment and deliver it outdoors, creating a cooling effect. The advantage of a heat pump is that it can also provide heating. When the conditions cool off, the operation literally reverses the flow of refrigerant. The system takes advantage of ambient heat available in the outdoor air and supplies it into the home after compressing it to a higher temperature. Because the process doesn’t burn fossil fuels, it eliminates concerns with carbon monoxide and other greenhouse gasses. A heat pump is especially environmentally friendly and energy efficient. It costs considerably less to run than the furnace. Unfortunately, the heat pump struggles to keep up with demand once the temperature drops below freezing. In a dual fuel system, the furnace automatically takes over and maintains comfort for as long as necessary. As the primary source of temperature control, the heat pump significantly trims our utility bills.