In the area where I live, the weather is typically extreme. We have very long, cold and snowy winter seasons. It is not unusual for the temperature to drop well below zero and several feet of snow to accumulate on the ground. While the summer season is usually much shorter, the heat and humidity are always brutal. In-between, the spring and fall are often chilly and wet. I am grateful for the rare day when I can open the window and welcome in some fresh air. Nearly everyday, all year round, I am forced to rely on either the heating or cooling system. Temperature control is responsible for the bulk of my monthly expenses. I have taken every possible step to reduce energy use and running costs. My home is equipped with a dual fuel system, which partners a gas furnace with an electric heat pump. This combination of equipment was rather expensive to purchase and install. It would have been far cheaper to invest in a central cooling system rather than the heat pump. The dual fuel system, however, paid for itself in under five years. The heat pump acts as an air conditioner throughout the summer, and is far more energy efficient than conventional cooling methods. When the weather turns chilly, the heat pump reverses operation and takes advantage of ambient heat in the outdoor air. The process of pumping heat into the house is safe, clean and super energy efficient. The heat pump costs far less to run than the gas furnace. It also reduces strain on the furnace, so it should last much longer. When the outdoor temperature drops below freezing, the heat pump can’t handle demand. At that point, the gas furnace automatically takes over, keeping the home perfectly warm.