What is a Hybrid Heating System & How Does It Work?

hybrid heating system

In the quest for improved energy efficiency and environmental responsibility, hybrid heating systems have emerged as a promising heating option. These innovative systems combine the strengths of electric heat pumps with the reliability of fossil fuel-based furnaces to create a powerful duo that provides efficient and cost-effective heating. Read on to learn more about these systems and what they offer to those seeking comfort and sustainability in their heating solutions.

What is a hybrid heating system?

A hybrid heating system, also known as a dual-fuel heating system, is a type of heating system that combines two different methods of heating to provide efficient and cost-effective heating for a home or building. The primary goal of a hybrid heating system is to take advantage of the strengths of each heating method. It typically consists of a fossil fuel-based heating system (usually a furnace) and an electric heat pump.

How does it work?

There are essentially three components in a hybrid system:

Heat Pump

An electric heat pump is the primary heating source in a hybrid system. Heat pumps work by extracting heat from the outside air or ground and transferring it indoors to heat your home during the heating season. Heat pumps are highly efficient and environmentally friendly because they don’t rely on burning fossil fuels to generate heat.


The second part is typically a gas or oil furnace. This is usually the backup system and is only used when the outdoor temperatures drop significantly and the heat pump becomes less efficient. It provides a supplemental source of heat to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures during extremely cold weather.


A control system or thermostat manages the operation of the hybrid heating system. It monitors the outdoor temperature and indoor heating needs to determine when to use the heat pump, the furnace, or a combination of both. The goal is to maximize energy efficiency and cost savings.

Advantages of a Hybrid System

  • Energy Efficiency: The heat pump is highly efficient and consumes less energy compared to a furnace, especially during milder weather conditions. This can lead to lower energy bills.
  • Reduced Carbon Footprint: Heat pumps produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions than fossil fuel-based systems, making them more environmentally friendly.
  • Reliability: The backup furnace ensures that you have a reliable source of heat even in extremely cold weather when the heat pump’s efficiency may drop.
  • Cost Savings: By using the heat pump for most of the heating needs and the furnace as a backup, homeowners can potentially save on heating costs, depending on local energy prices and climate.
  • Comfort: Hybrid systems can provide consistent and comfortable indoor temperatures, as the control system switches between heating sources as needed.
  • Rebates & Grants: There are heat pump grants and rebates available that can lower the cost of installation. Hybrid heating systems also qualify. 

Hybrid Heating System Installation

By intelligently harnessing the efficiency of electric heat pumps and the reliability of fossil fuel backup, these systems offer Ottawa homeowners an efficient and more sustainable home heating solution. They not only reduce energy consumption and lower heating costs but also contribute to a greener future. For those looking to strike a balance between comfort and conservation, a hybrid heating system could do just that!

For the professional installation of your hybrid heating system, contact Team Harding.

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Team Harding has been Ottawa’s leading home comfort specialist since 1994. We are a family-owned and operated local business and all of our installers and technicians are fully licensed.

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