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Old 09-10-2008, 04:17 PM   #1
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Baseboard versus heat pump


I know baseboard heaters are supposed to be more efficient than heat pumps, but with today's oil prices (mine is oil to hot water heated) I wonder if a fuel pump isn't more efficient. My baseboard isn't working right now, and I'd have to put some serious money into getting it fixed, so should I just get a fuel pump set up with my existing AC? Any advice would be great.


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Old 09-10-2008, 09:15 PM   #2
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Baseboard versus heat pump


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I know baseboard heaters are supposed to be more efficient than heat pumps, but with today's oil prices (mine is oil to hot water heated) I wonder if a fuel pump isn't more efficient. My baseboard isn't working right now, and I'd have to put some serious money into getting it fixed, so should I just get a fuel pump set up with my existing AC? Any advice would be great.


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Depends on where you live.

If you live up north where the winters are cold, that heat pump will not work efficiently. It'll cut over to resistance "emergency" heating, and that will be costly.
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Old 09-10-2008, 09:26 PM   #3
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Baseboard versus heat pump


Are your baseboard heaters the hydronic type?

A high-efficiency heat pump may have energy savings over the high price of oil or gas these days.

You should do an analysis of the cost per BTU of heating with gas, oil, and electric. The answers may surprise you.
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Old 09-11-2008, 07:39 AM   #4
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Baseboard versus heat pump


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Depends on where you live.

If you live up north where the winters are cold, that heat pump will not work efficiently. It'll cut over to resistance "emergency" heating, and that will be costly.
I'm not sure how you're using the term efficient here, but many people, including myself, do use heat pumps up north to effectively lower their heating bill. Mine was on this morning and I can bet it was cheaper BTU cost to run than my 92% AFUE Propane forced air.

If you live in a climate where a heat pump cannot provide all your seasonal heating needs, you're gonna need a secondary heat source. So you either need to fix that boiler or replace it with something else.

Without knowing where you are located it is impossible to even guess.
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Old 09-11-2008, 01:25 PM   #5
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Baseboard versus heat pump


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I'm not sure how you're using the term efficient here, but many people, including myself, do use heat pumps up north to effectively lower their heating bill. Mine was on this morning and I can bet it was cheaper BTU cost to run than my 92% AFUE Propane forced air.

If you live in a climate where a heat pump cannot provide all your seasonal heating needs, you're gonna need a secondary heat source. So you either need to fix that boiler or replace it with something else.

Without knowing where you are located it is impossible to even guess.
I'd go with the boiler.

The heat from a boiler or gas furnance just feels much warmer than from a heat pump blowing cold air or uneven heat from a resistance heater.
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Old 09-11-2008, 10:45 PM   #6
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Baseboard versus heat pump


Heat pumps are more effiecient than gas furnace unless your electric rate is high such as in California. The effiency ratio is about 3:1. I will tell you though, if your wife or significant other is always cold save yourself the trouble and repair the boiler. Nothing produces a more even and comfortable heat than a hydronic system.
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Old 09-11-2008, 11:44 PM   #7
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Baseboard versus heat pump


I am located on the eastern shore of Maryland, so it;s not real cold here.
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Old 09-11-2008, 11:48 PM   #8
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Baseboard versus heat pump


In response to "Are your baseboard heaters the hydronic type":

I'm not sure, but I know the oil heats up water that runs through them (sorry if that doesn't help). I'm trying to understand and learn more about how my system works.
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Old 09-11-2008, 11:50 PM   #9
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Baseboard versus heat pump


How do you reply to an individual comment (so that text shows in the same box)? And to sgthvac's comment, I am the wife
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Old 09-12-2008, 02:15 AM   #10
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Baseboard versus heat pump


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I am located on the eastern shore of Maryland, so it;s not real cold here.
Where? I'm near Salisbury ...

Are you on DP&L or Choptank?

Maybe we can get a quantity discount, as I am looking to install a new high-efficiency heat pump as well.

So far, I have asked 3 fellow contractors for prices, and not one of them has responded. You can't tell me that they are slow on work!!

Last edited by kbsparky; 09-12-2008 at 02:32 AM.
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Old 09-12-2008, 02:17 AM   #11
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Baseboard versus heat pump


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How do you reply to an individual comment (so that text shows in the same box)? And to sgthvac's comment, I am the wife
You hit the "quote" box in the bottom right corner of the message you want to quote. Then type in your reply in the dialog box.
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Old 09-12-2008, 07:40 AM   #12
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Baseboard versus heat pump


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I am located on the eastern shore of Maryland, so it;s not real cold here.
Then I believe in that region you could go with a heat pump and backup heat strip. The heat strip would be needed rarely.

Having said that, if you choose a heat pump you will need duct work run to all heat zones as I have never heard of a hybrid heat pump setup that mates to boiler. If one did, I'd wonder about its efficiency.

What kind of serious money are you looking at to repair your current system?

Last edited by dac122; 09-12-2008 at 08:02 AM.
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Old 09-12-2008, 07:59 AM   #13
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Baseboard versus heat pump


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Heat pumps are more effiecient than gas furnace unless your electric rate is high such as in California. The effiency ratio is about 3:1. I will tell you though, if your wife or significant other is always cold save yourself the trouble and repair the boiler. Nothing produces a more even and comfortable heat than a hydronic system.
I'm not sure I agree here. If by more efficient you mean from a purely theoretically standpoint a heat pump is a heat transfer engine, and even at low outdoor temps can have a Coefficient of Performance above 1, then yes I would agree. If by more efficient you mean from an economic standpoint I must disagree.

And since I believe the original thrust of the OP's question was asking an economic question, I would advise the OP to consider these factors when comparing two heating systems: efficiency of your furnace/boiler, cost of your fossil fuel, cost of your electric, HSPF and COP curves of the Heat Pump, heat loss of the structure, and initial cost of install or repair.

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Old 09-12-2008, 08:23 AM   #14
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Baseboard versus heat pump


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You hit the "quote" box in the bottom right corner of the message you want to quote. Then type in your reply in the dialog box.
Thank you, I never knew what the quote box was for.

Now about your system, yes, you have an oil fired boiler and it sounds like you have central air as well, if I read an earlier post correctly, you already have the duct work in place. With that in mind, I think going to a heat pump with electric heat strips would work well for you. Heat pumps are definately more effiecient. That being said, you have to understand that instead of getting 180 temp. coming off the baseboards the temp will be 90-110. a vast difference in comfort. I've seen some people have a heat pump installed and have it remove because they could never get used to the home feeling drafty when they are sitting down in the evening. Pesronally, I have a 96% eff. natural gas boiler that also heats my domestic hot water as well and I love it unfortunatly eff. for oil boilers have not increased above 75-80%.
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Old 09-12-2008, 10:32 AM   #15
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Baseboard versus heat pump


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You hit the "quote" box in the bottom right corner of the message you want to quote. Then type in your reply in the dialog box.
Testing, testing
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