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Dan71 08-07-2011 08:18 PM

Converting a heat pump
 
Heat pump: Goodman 2 Ton 13 SEER R-22 (installed 2004)
Furnace: Lincoln electric forced air (installed 1987) - no other info
House: Bungalow (facing south) main floor approx. 1100 sq/ft + basement built in 1987

Is it possible to convert a heat pump that's hooked up to a forced air system to a mini-split type system? The furnace is dying and to fix it would probably be futile considering it's age. The heat pump works fine and is only 7 years old. The basement is already on electric baseboard heat. I was thinking of getting rid of the furnace and switching to electric baseboard heating for the main floor. As for A/C, I only need to cool the main floor. As it is now, in the summer it's freezing in the basement, even with the registers closed off. The kitchen and living-room are open concept which leaves the master bedroom and the study. Natural gas is not offered in my neighbourhood. In winter even at -20C if it's sunny outside the temp in the house goes up to +26C (thermostat is set at 18C). The front of the house is mostly windows.
Thanks for your input
Danny

Master of Cold 08-07-2011 08:36 PM

Im a little confused here. Is the existing system a heat pump system or a fossil fuel furnace with a heat pump, or is the furnace all electric?

Dan71 08-07-2011 08:38 PM

It's all electric. No oil, gas or propane.

Missouri Bound 08-07-2011 08:42 PM

Would you consider switching to propane? Baseboard heat is very costly to operate. I'm kind of amazed that a heat pump would be installed / used that far north

Master of Cold 08-07-2011 08:44 PM

Well, you are probably going to spend more money trying to convert over to the mini-split application. Trane was the only manufacturer to make a mini split air handler that could be used with a conventional condenser. That unit was phased out a couple of years ago. Now you will have to buy the whole system, new piping and electrical. You can buy an air handler to go with that condenser. Im not sure of your motivations here. What is the reason for scrapping what you have now?

Dan71 08-07-2011 10:49 PM

1 Attachment(s)
As for the conversion, it was just because I found it was a waste to get rid of a good heat pump. As for scraping the forced air system, well, I wanted to have a thermostat in every room to better control the temp from room to room. As it is now, there is only 1 thermostat for the whole house and it's right in front of the washer & dryer. The duct-work needs a complete overhaul. None of the ducts are insulated or taped. Besides, the sound of the fan drives me nuts! I guess it's a question of personal preference. I am open minded though, if you have a better suggestion I am ready to consider it. After all if I had the knowledge, I wouldn't have posted this question right? Here's a quick sketch of the main floor plan. It's not to scale but darn close and it gives a general idea.

Dan71 08-07-2011 11:13 PM

The age of the furnace is bothering me a lot. Nothing is eternal... I just don't want it to die on me in the middle of January at -20C and have to get the first system I see, or have this one fixed for the cost of almost a new system.
Paranoia will destroy ya they say....

Dan71 08-07-2011 11:17 PM

Propane is not really an option. I would have to get it trucked in and the cost is not really that good.

biggles 08-08-2011 06:53 AM

how about electric boilers...either with a coil in the HP duct work or in the furnace or actual baseboard run out,but definitly tighten up that duct work http://www.radiantkc.com/boilerelec.html

Missouri Bound 08-08-2011 02:56 PM

Forget about re-purposing the heat pump unit...just isn't worth the cost or effort. Personally I would replace the furnace with a more efficient one. Your home isn't too large for baseboard heat, either electric or water filled. How do you know the ducts leak, do you have visual confirmation or are you guessing? Do you have access under the house, crawl space, basement or is it on a slab? How would you wire the baseboard heat? If you just use one or two rooms at a time, the seperate thermostats can be a good thing for you. But with proper ducting a forced air system can be zoned as well using 2 or 3 thermostats. You have a lot of options. A new furnace can and probably will be much quieter than what you have now. Another thing is that electric furnaces tend to last forever. Very little to go wrong with it other than the blower and heating elements. I would talk to a few HVAC places and see what they reccommend. You may be able to get a ballpark idea what the costs will be whichever way you decide to take this project...Sound like you have a lot of solar gain as well....can you utilize that with storage at all or is that out of the question?


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