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Old 05-18-2008, 10:23 PM   #1
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Electric Heat pump in New England?


My wife and I looked at a timber framed home today. It is 20 years old and just had a new electric heat pump system installed. The house has central heat/AC from this unit, but from what I've read tonite online about the efficiency of heat pumps, they are not efficient in temps below ~30F. This house also has a coal fired stove in the finished basement, which the agent told us used to be the sole heat source for the house. Not sure I beleive that or not, but I don't doubt that it puts out some serious heat in the winter, but realistically, I doubt I would use it 24/7 all winter, so the question of how well and how much in electric use the heat pump system is going to cost? The house also has an electric water heater. I am all for moving away from oil based heat sources, but I don't know if this setup would be really cost effective in the winter. The house also has an EZ flow air exchange system, since the house is so air tight. Again, also run on electric. We pay ~0.07 cents/kw here in Mass. We really like the house, but I am not sure on the reasoning behind putting in a heating system like this in new england. Any thoughts?

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Old 05-19-2008, 05:22 PM   #2
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Electric Heat pump in New England?


Is the coal stove just radiant heat? How many BTUs is it? If it is in the center of the basement or below the rooms that need to be warmest it could easily be the sole heat source and be very cheap!

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Old 05-19-2008, 08:08 PM   #3
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Electric Heat pump in New England?


The stove is a Harmon Magnum Stoker (5000-85000 btu) coal stove with 100lb hopper and blower in the middle of the finished basement. I don't doubt the abilities of it being able to heat the whole house, but I am trying to imagine keeping it running 24/7. BTW, the heat pump unit is a 13 SEER, Goodman model #GSH130361AD and GSH130181AC with two compressors and indoor unit. The house is 3500sft.
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Old 05-20-2008, 07:17 AM   #4
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Electric Heat pump in New England?


The Magnum Stoker is Harmon's top of the line coal burner I believe. I do not have any experience with coal, but I know Harmon to be a great brand. I do also know that coal is the the cheapest fuel available, if priced correctly, WELL below everything, gas, pellets, even wood. The heating "rating" on the Magnum is "2500 sq ft" which is generally larger than the ACTUAL capacity. I.e. if something says 2500 it is usually not really capable of heating 2500. It could be that the magnum gets the house to 63 and the electric does the rest? Do you also have gas available where you are located? I also don't know anything about the heat pumps, sorry.
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Old 05-22-2008, 09:12 AM   #5
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Electric Heat pump in New England?


Just to clarify, our electric rates are 0.06 cents/kwh. I still have concerns about the use of the electric heat pump and how much it would cost monthly to operate. My main interest is during the winter months, not so much in the summer, as we open the windows generally and would not use the central AC. Anyways, I was told by the seller's agent that this timber frame home has "structural panels not the everyday pink fiberglass and has R30 in walls & R50 in roof". I don't know much about insulation, but does this sound like it would offset a lot of the heat use, given the type of insulation the house has?
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Old 05-22-2008, 10:03 AM   #6
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Electric Heat pump in New England?


Go to this site to get a comparison of the different fuel costs for your area.

http://warmair.net/html/fuel_cost_comparisons.htm
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Old 05-22-2008, 01:27 PM   #7
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Electric Heat pump in New England?


Thanks, but what number do I put into the column for efficiency for a heat pump? The default is 1.7. All I know is that the Goodman model is a 13 SEER.
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Old 05-22-2008, 03:02 PM   #8
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Electric Heat pump in New England?


I have had an electric heat pump in my last house and in this one as well. I was on the West Coast of Canada and I know your winters are a little colder than ours but mine worked great. We had an electric forced air furnace as back up and the heat pump for the main source of heat. The heat pump would keep our 2000sq ft house at 70 and the furnace would kick in to bring it up to that when the temp dropped below -11C I am not sure what temp that is in F. Our electricity bills never varied more than about $20 between summer and winter and were about $75. per month.

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