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Posted: 5/7/2003 5:41:32 PM EDT
Since the natural gas company that I use has raised it prices 80% in the last 6 months and has a very poor attitude when it comes to customers, I'm thinking of installing a heat pump. I have a central air unit that was installed in 1966 and no longer works. The heat pump would solve both problems of central air in the summer and getting away from natural gas in the winter. If I switch to a heat pump what kind of performance can I expect compared to a gas furnace? I've heard the heat pump has to run more to keep the temperature. This is a concern because I have an old house with huge single pane windows.
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 6:02:04 PM EDT
The heatpump works for me in VA...But if you like being Toasty Warm in the winter of frigid in the summer forget it...It will keep you comfortable but you'll run it 9 months a yr. You should be able to get a ballpark cost to run it thru your electric company (and possibly a low cost loan to install it).
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 6:02:23 PM EDT
My only experience with a heat pump was in an apartment. I hated it and it seemed like it blows cold air in the winter. It cooled pretty good in the summer though. In our townhouse we have natural gas for heat and a central air conditioner, I'm happy with these.
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 6:20:29 PM EDT
I can't speak for where you live, but here in northern Ohio, heat pumps just don't produce enough heat on cold days. You'll have to switch on the "auxilary" or "emergency" heat from the electric furnace for extended periods. After that, gas heat seems cheap.
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 6:32:45 PM EDT
Originally Posted By SWS: I can't speak for where you live, but here in northern Ohio, heat pumps just don't produce enough heat on cold days. You'll have to switch on the "auxilary" or "emergency" heat from the electric furnace for extended periods. After that, gas heat seems cheap.
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Good point...that's the time that my wife tell's us to put on a sweater .
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 6:42:16 PM EDT
Originally Posted By SWS: I can't speak for where you live, but here in northern Ohio, heat pumps just don't produce enough heat on cold days.
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Wouldn't a larger heat pump help with this? I ran two window AC units last summer, they cost under $50 a month. Gas for 6 months cost me about $1,500, or $250 a month. In addition to $50 a month in electric for the furnace. Not knowing anything about heat pumps, it would seem like the heat pump would pay for itself rather quickly. Or am I totally off base here?
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 6:58:34 PM EDT
Originally Posted By SWIRE: Gas for 6 months cost me about $1,500, or $250 a month.
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Yikes, that's some expensive heating costs. I don't even pay half of that. (for 1900 sq. ft.) I'm no HVAC expert, and I'm not even qualified to play one on the internet. Is your house well insulated and fairly tight, or does it leak? If you have numerous leaks, any type of HVAC system will be expensive. Generally, the colder the ambient temperature, the harder the heat pump will have to work to exchange the heat from the outside air. The bigger the pump and exchanger, the more cost to operate. Catch-22.
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 7:01:43 PM EDT
Originally Posted By SWS:
Originally Posted By SWIRE: Gas for 6 months cost me about $1,500, or $250 a month.
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Yikes, that's some expensive heating costs. I don't even pay half of that. (for 1900 sq. ft.) I'm no HVAC expert, and I'm not even qualified to play one on the internet. Is your house well insulated and fairly tight, or does it leak? If you have numerous leaks, any type of HVAC system will be expensive.
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I've got a 100 year old brick house with no insulation. My windows are lose fitting and are 76 inches tall by 32 inches wide. The ceilings are 10ft. It's 1 1/2 story with very little insulation in the attic. I have the second floor shut off, so my heated area is about 1,200 sqft.
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 7:22:55 PM EDT
Here is the skinny - hope it helps: Gas Heat: when it comes out of the vent, it is WARM heat. Heat Pump: When it comes out of the vent, it is warm heat but not WARM heat. The real skinny... In Tennessee the last 3 years ME: average electric bills of $250 My cousin: average electric bills of $250 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~­` Winter in Tennessee: ME: average electric bills of $250 My cousin: average electric bills of $250 [b]4 months of average Gas bills of $285[/b]
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 7:24:48 PM EDT
I ran two window AC units last summer
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Window units are now cheaper than you think. After my central air quit last summer, rather than spending $4,000 on a new heat pump, I spent $315 on three small window unit AC's. Yes, they were only $105 each at Wal-Mart. I only ran the one I needed depending on where I was in the house, and my power bill was much less than when I had central AC. If you spend just a little more money ($40 or so) on a window unit, you can now get one with a real thermostat and a remote control. I've never liked natural gas, because the air just isn't warm like with oil heat. You'll get more dust and odor with oil heat, but I love the temperature. I had one for about 30 years until my furnace finally quit. You might want to ask around where you live to find someone with oil heat. Depending on the supplier's prices, oil can be cheaper than natural gas. It isn't where I live, but then again, I didn't spend that much time looking for the lowest price. Also, buy the oil in September. Don't wait for the price hikes after the first cold night.z
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 7:45:51 PM EDT
If your current gas heater is more than 10 years old it is probably only about 60% efficient at getting the heat from the burning gas into your home. The least efficient models available now are 80% efficient and go up to over 90% efficiency. If your system is old a new gas heating and air conditioning system would probably save you money. Have an "energy audit" done by your utility, or gas company, or a contractor and see where your problems lie. You should also definitely spend some money and time on caulking all cracks in your exterior and interior and insulating the attic and anywhere else you can access. Much of this work is easy to do and the materials come from your local Lowes, Home Depot, etc. Good luck, just make sure you are addressing the real problem before you proceed.
Link Posted: 5/7/2003 9:10:05 PM EDT
Depending on how cold and the humidity level in your area, on a heatpumps efficency. You may not no this but a 12 SEER rated unit is 12 SEER in cooling only. In heat it's about 7.8 SEER. As for a heatpump vs a gas furnace I'd want a gas furnace in 90 percent range. Heatpums also tend to break down way more than gas furnaces. Heatpumps also have to go through a mode called defrost cycle. What happens in defrost mode? The outdoor coil has a temperature sensor attached to it. It closes about 26*F not 26*F outside ambient temperature. When it closes a defrost board/timmer monitors it. If the coil stat is closed the defrost board kicks the unit into the A/C mode to thaw out the outdoor coil. That's defrost mode. So you don't have freezing air blowing on you in defrost mode it brings on electric heat element to temper the air. And when you use auxillary heat/emergency heat you are shutting off your heatpump mode and turning on electric heat. Although here in Arizona 95 percent of heatpumps don't have auxillary heat. It's dry here so a heatpump won't ice up as much. And we all know that electric element heat is the most exspensive. As for electric element heat vs heatpump. As long as the heatpump isn't going into defrost it's full load amps would be in the 9 amps to 18 amps range depending on size of unit. As for electric heat each unit may have two to six 5KW elements depending on size of house and where you live. Each 5KW element pulls about 21 amps. So if you have say 15KW then your going to pull about 66 amps with blower motor included. So this is where they get heatpumps to be more efficient vs electric element heat. So if I was you I'd go with a new gas furnace maybe even two stage gas. Also get upgraded windows to double pane. Have your ducts inspected by a smoke pencil and sealed using duct mastic not tape. Also have ducts checked for right size, alot of homes have under sized ducts including return ducts. That's how you get whistling sounds. Alot of homes in the country had ducts sealed with tape, not good. Then get some new insulation added to your attic. Also check and repair seals for doors and windows. And a warning to all of you gas furnace people. Please buy a carbon monoxide detector. It can and will save your life. Also have your furnace inspected before using it by a qualified heat exchanger expert. I have never worked on oil burners and would never want to. To messy! Experinced HVAC Tech. for seventeen years.
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