Information / FAQ

What Is Dual Fuel?

Ultra Efficient EarthWise™ Hybrid Split System - What It Is
A Trane EarthWise™ Hybrid Split System combines a high efficiency electric Heat Pump with a variable speed Gas Furnace.

With the flexibility of two energy sources, the system can actually optimize your utility use by switching back and forth to whichever source is most efficient for your comfort.

How EarthWise™ Hybrid Split Systems work
A hybrid system is one that's capable of heating your home using either electricity or fossil fuel. A Trane EarthWise™ Hybrid system combines an XLi electric heat pump with a variable speed gas or oil furnace for ultimate efficiency.
With the flexibility of two fuels, the system can actually optimize your energy use by switching back and forth to whichever source is most efficient for your comfort.

Even in northern climates, the electric heat pump can find enough ambient heat in the air to keep your home warm and comfortable well into fall. But when there's not enough ambient heat and a fossil fuel becomes the most efficient option, the system will switch to either natural gas or heating oil for the toasty, cozy heat of a furnace. The system's switch point is set automatically by your dealer, but can be overridden with the Comfort Control Module.

When winter ends and warm temperatures return, the heat pump will reverse its operation; instead of finding ambient heat in the air, it will pull the heat our of your home and radiate it outside. The furnace won't ignite, but will instead serve as a variable-speed blower to move the cooled air produced by the heat pump. This year-long efficiency is what makes Trane EarthWise™ Hybrids such a smart choice.

Ultra Efficient EarthWise™ Hybrid Packaged System
- What It Is

Our EarthWise™ Hybrid Packaged System Contains the same components you find in a EarthWise™ Hybrid Split System. However they are all engineered to work together in one attractive cabinet. Whether installed on the ground beside your home or positioned on a roof top, Trane packaged units are designed to adapt seemlessly to your needs. Our family of Trane EarthWise™ Hybrid Packaged Systems consist of the highly efficient XL16c and XL14c.

How our packaged EarthWise™ Hybrid Systems work
A Trane EarthWise™ Hybrid packaged system allows you to select the best utility option based on climate conditions and energy costs. In winter, a heat pump uses electricity to capture the heat that's always present in the outside air and circulates it back into your home, while a furnace burns natural gas to heat the indoor air. Your independent Trane dealer can set the system to automatically switch from electric to gas heat, or you can make that selection with a Trane Comfort Control. And in summer, the heat pump works as an air conditioner, pulling heat out of your home and releasing it outdoors - while the variable speed blower motor with Comfort-R™ technology helps control humidity and circulate cooled air more evenly throughout your home. The flexibility of a hybrid system leads to year long efficiency and maximum comfort.


What is a Variable Speed Blower?

A variable speed blower is a self adjusting blower. It will adjust itself to a slower, quieter, more efficient speed the majority of the time. The variable speed blower gives an economic option of running the fan continuously. This will provide a more comfortable home by mixing the air and having an even temperature throughout the house. It will also provide constant filtration of the air. The operating cost of this feature is equivalent to an 100 watt light bulb.

Another benefit of the variable speed blower is the humidity removal in the summer. Since the blower runs at a low speed the majority of the time, the air is moving slower across the cooling coil and will dehumidify the air more effectively. When you combine it with a two-stage air conditioner you optimize your quietness and humidity removal. Variable speed blowers come in tow-stage gas furnaces and will cut your heating and cooling cost down.

If you own a heat pump system, the variable speed will eliminate the "cold" heat that the heat pump produces. The leaving air temperature on a variable speed blower is about 10°F higher then a conventional blower.

What services need to be performed for preventive maintenance on my heating and air conditioning equipment, and how often should this maintenance be performed?

We recommend you have Schiff Air Conditioning perform preventive maintenance before the winter heating season and before the summer cooling season. Schiff Air Conditioning offers a Peak Performance Service Agreement for one year which includes a 10% discount on all repair service work, one free pound of freon each year if needed, and provide priority response. The Peak Performance Service Agreement includes cleaning the outdoor coils, tightening electrical connections, checking supply voltage and operating current, checking refrigerant charge, measuring temperature differential at supply and return registers, cleaning blower wheel and motor, inspecting and adjusting burner, checking heat exchangers, cleaning drain lines and pan, and checking thermostat.

I need a new outdoor unit, but my indoor unit works fine. What are the advantages of replacing my whole system at the same time?

We recommend that your replace the indoor coil or air handler when replacing the outdoor unit. Both of these components are integral to the closed refrigerant loop and together determine the capacity and efficiency of your system. If you do not replace the indoor unit, there will be no test data available for the new combination to establish the expected capacity or efficiency of your system. Also, the indoor system may be partially blocked by particles that will decrease efficiency, and you may be faced in the near future with replacing the indoor unit after it fails and having to pay to have the closed refrigerant system opened again. It would be expensive and be another opportunity for contamination. You end up paying more. If your whole system is replaced, you will be less likely to need service in the near future.

Should I cover my outdoor unit in the winter?

Covering the unit is not necessary. Air conditioners are manufactured to withstand all possible climate changes. In fact, rain helps keep your unit clean. Of course, because heat pumps run all year long, they should never be covered.

How close to the outdoor unit should I plant shrubs or flowers?

Manufacturers generally agree that plants should not be closer than 18 inches. Air conditioners need intake and exhaust air to operate efficiently. If air cannot circulate, the unit could build up heat and require service.

What are the average life expectancies for heating and air conditioning equipment?

The average expected life of an air conditioner is approximately 15 years. The average expected life of a heat pump is approximately 10 to 12 years, since it operates year round. The average expected life of a gas furnace or air handler is approximately 18 years. Units in corrosive environments, such as, but not limited to coastal installations, will tend to have shorter lives.

Is there any advantage to setting my thermostat fan to "ON" so the fan runs constantly?

Yes, there are a couple. The first is that you get constant filtering of the air in your home. The second is that because the air is moving, you have a more even temperature throughout. If you have a variable speed blower the cost of this function is equivalent to a 100 watt light bulb.

I've heard a lot about new refrigerants. Do I need to think about them when buying a system?

We do not advise homeowners to choose home comfort systems based on the refrigerant they use. The Clean Air Act does not allow ANY refrigerants to be vented into the atmosphere. They must be reclaimed, recycled and reused. Units using the current refrigerant, R-22, will always be serviced with R-22. They will not need to be changed to a different refrigerant. The scheduled phase-out of R-22 allows for plenty of refrigerant to be available to service all cooling units and heat pumps that use R-22 for the life of the equipment. We do offer lines of high efficiency comfort systems using R-410A or Puron® refrigerant. Our gradual introduction of these products will allow services in the field the opportunity to purchase new recover equipment and service tools, as well as adapt to stricter installation and service techniques, to insure homeowners continue to receive the comfort and value they have chosen.

As the HVAC industry gradually and confidently transitions to a new refrigerant, we encourage homeowners to maintain their focus on purchasing energy efficient home comfort products that best meet their comfort needs. Purchasing higher efficiency cooling and heating systems and better sealing our homes will not only improve comfort and reduce energy costs, but will also improve our environment.

What is Puron®?

Puron is a refrigerant that will eventually replace R-22. Puron's official name is R-410(a).


GLOSSARY OF TERMS