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How Does Electric Heat Work?


Electric heating has become an eco-friendly movement to shift away from traditional fossil fuels such as natural gas, oil, or even coal with HVAC equipment that relies on electricity as the source of energy. Learn about this ‘cleaner’ heating trend and why American Standard is dedicated to making smart choices for our planet.

Why choose electric heat?

Heat pumps rely only on electricity to produce heat, unlike gas furnaces that rely on fossil fuels. When you choose to include a heat pump in your HVAC system you can reduce or eliminate the carbon emissions coming from your home, while also decreasing your overall energy use.

What electric heating looks like

A gray heat pump with a blue American Standard logo.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps can both heat and cool your home on 100% electric power, completely eliminating the burning of natural gas or propane typically required to heat. In the winter, they work by extracting heat from outside and pumping it inside. In the summer, heat pumps remove hot air from your home and place it outside.

A dual fuel, or hybrid, system featuring three units.

Hybrid Systems

Hybrid, or dual fuel, systems combine a heat pump with a gas furnace to heat and cool your home. In warm climates, the heat pump works to cool your home. As the weather gets colder, the heat pump switches to a heating function, until the temperatures fall below the ideal efficiency range of the heat pump. Then, the gas furnace kicks on to provide heat. Both units are only used in their optimal conditions, which can increase the efficiency and lifespan of your system.

Heat Pumps vs Furnaces

Electric heating options provide multiple benefits over furnaces.

Heat PumpsFurnaces

*The energy efficiency shown for a heat pump is at optimal efficiency, but can decline overtime, especially in consistently cold temperatures.

Explore more heat pump benefits

Homeowners in a variety of climates can enjoy the benefits a heat pump provides.

Increased savings

Because heat pumps are an environmentally friendly option to heating and cooling, rebates and tax credits are available in many areas across the country for homeowners who purchase a heat pump or dual fuel system. Talk to your local dealer about which systems qualify in your area.

Increased energy efficiency

Heat pumps provide over 3x increased energy efficiency compared to alternatives like gas furnaces. Heat pumps can be up to 300% energy-efficient, which can help you save money on energy use, while also helping the environment.

Increased flexibility

Heat pumps provide the best of both HVAC worlds: hot and cool air throughout the seasons. With the ability to reverse the flow of refrigerant, heat pumps are flexible systems that provide maximum comfort in many temperature conditions.

Increased environmental benefits

American Standard heat pumps use electricity to produce heat, instead of a less environmentally friendly option like propane or natural gas, which helps the outdoor environment at large.

HVAC technician looking at a clipboard near an outdoor air conditioner.

Will a heat pump really cool my home?

Of course! Although the name heat pump might lead you to believe these systems only heat, they can actually cool your home, too. Heat pumps have the ability to reverse their refrigerant flow depending on your temperature need. In the winter, the refrigerant carries heat from outside and puts it in your home. In the summer, refrigerant carries heat and humidity from your home and releases it outdoors. And, homeowners never need to touch the heat pump to set the function — your system knows what it needs to do!

An HVAC dealer stands beside an outdoor unit.

When does a hybrid system make sense?

A hybrid system combines a heat pump with a gas furnace to fulfill your temperature needs while decreasing your energy use and costs. These are some situations where it might make sense to invest in a hybrid system.

  • If you experience a variety of climates

    If you can never be completely sure what outdoor climate you might wake up to in the morning, a hybrid system can adapt your indoor comfort to the temperature outside, even when it’s extremely cold. With a gas furnace working in extremely low temperatures and a heat pump working in mild to warm temperatures, a hybrid system takes the best qualities of both to cover you in all conditions.
  • If you already have a gas furnace in your home

    A hybrid system requires both a heat pump and a gas furnace to make a complete system. If you already have a gas furnace installed in your home, you’re halfway to an energy efficient, environmentally-friendly system. Now, all you need is a heat pump.
  • If you want to decrease your energy costs

    A hybrid system uses both a heat pump and a gas furnace, but only in their optimal conditions. Not only does this expand the life of both units, but it can also decrease your energy costs, because neither is expending unnecessary energy to do its job.
  • If you want to help our planet

    Plain and simple, electric heat is better for the environment than HVAC systems that burn fossil fuels to heat your home. If you want to reduce your home’s carbon footprint by releasing less emissions into the air, an electric heating system is a great place to start making a difference.

Savings & Offers

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Getting Started Guide

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Green Guide

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