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Old 05-10-2013, 07:39 AM   #1
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Heat Pump in Minnesota


Good morning, So we are finally finishing up our first winter in a new house. We have a Trane Heat pump and a gas furnace in the attic. I erroneously assumed that the gas furnace was the auxillary for the heat pump when in fact it is just a separate unit for the upstairs. This is my first experience with heat pumps, and we were dropping the temp down at night, so in the morning we were using auxillary (electric) heat to bring it back up. A mistake on my part is that we were on a budget plan and wern't looking at the bill close enough to see actual usage so now at the end of winter I have a huge bill to pay, looking forward what are my options.

If I would have left the temp set at 68 all the time, would that have mostly taken care of the issue (i know that the auxillary kicks on for defrost cycles, etc).

right now, the upstairs gas furnace and the downstairs unit are completely separate, if i can duct them together, would it be possible to make the gas furnace the auxillary instead of electric?

What else are folks experiencing with heat pumps where the winters are long?
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Old 05-10-2013, 08:53 AM   #2
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Heat Pump in Minnesota


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Originally Posted by thegopher View Post
Good morning, So we are finally finishing up our first winter in a new house. We have a Trane Heat pump and a gas furnace in the attic. I erroneously assumed that the gas furnace was the auxillary for the heat pump when in fact it is just a separate unit for the upstairs. This is my first experience with heat pumps, and we were dropping the temp down at night, so in the morning we were using auxillary (electric) heat to bring it back up. A mistake on my part is that we were on a budget plan and wern't looking at the bill close enough to see actual usage so now at the end of winter I have a huge bill to pay, looking forward what are my options.

If I would have left the temp set at 68 all the time, would that have mostly taken care of the issue (i know that the auxillary kicks on for defrost cycles, etc).

right now, the upstairs gas furnace and the downstairs unit are completely separate, if i can duct them together, would it be possible to make the gas furnace the auxillary instead of electric? You cannot duct them together as 2X the ductwork will create a unbalanced system and you won't get proper flow or velocity in either part of the house.

What else are folks experiencing with heat pumps where the winters are long?
There is a concept called COP co-efficient of performance with heat pumps where the amount of heat you get from $1 of electricity decreases with a drop in temp. Google air to air heat pump and read up about it. Depending on where you live there is a set point ( control in the heat pump or thermostat programming if it has an outdoor air sensor) and it has to do with the cost of electricity where you are as to what temp to switch to elec aux. You should call your elec co as they have engineers and may be able to give you good advice for your area. There may be some guys here who know but local advice is necessary due to your elec rate which we don't know.

A bit dry but has good info in this link

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coefficient_of_performance
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Last edited by yuri; 05-10-2013 at 08:59 AM.
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Old 05-10-2013, 08:55 AM   #3
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Heat Pump in Minnesota


what's the btu output of the heat pump w/ electric strips and what's the btu output of the gas furnace? pretty sure one is meant for only downstairs (heat pump) and the gas is meant only for upstairs meaning one system can not handle the total square footage of the home. heat pump with gas furnace would still need those electric heat strips, me thinks. unless of course the system's btu's were increased. bigger gas furnace and bigger heat pump.

it'd be a waste to duct them together.
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Last edited by Doc Holliday; 05-10-2013 at 08:59 AM.
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Old 05-10-2013, 11:04 AM   #4
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Heat Pump in Minnesota


So am i correct in that with a heat pump in MN climate, I do not want to lower the temp too much, otherwise the auxillary heat will have to work even more?

I'm just trying to figure out if i mis-used this system and that caused high electricity or if the current system as is, is what i should expect every winter. If so i might have to think about other options since 500 bucks electrical bill a month makes me cringe.
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Old 05-10-2013, 11:22 AM   #5
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Heat Pump in Minnesota


OOOh that is bad. It may be low on Freon and w/o enough Freon it will run forever and not produce enough heat. I would recommend calling a well known well established Trane dealer, check BBB first. Get him to check the Freon level and he should know the best cut off point for your climate. If you can get a good reference for another contactor fine but some of the newest units have computers in them and the factory guy may be the best.
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