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billyrayvalentine 05-09-2007 11:15 PM

Heat Pump vs Electric Heat w/Air Handler
My heat pump went out last week and when I have gotten two different guys to come look at it they both suggested not going with a heat pump.

I've read some that heat pumps are better for mild winters and that in Nebraska, where we hit below zero, it isn't as good. And also that the compressor would run all year around, not just during the summer like a normal A/C unit. And then would be done in 10-15 years instead of like 20, like what is happening now. The heat pump I have now is only 12 years old, with a bad compressor.

I am really confused though because just heating the house with the air handler would more more expensive correct? What do others see being installed in the same climates?


Climate-Pro 05-10-2007 11:52 AM

In very basic terms - for every $1 it cost to run the electric heat strips in a air handler, you get a return of $1 worth of heat.

In a heat pump system, for every $1 you spend on electricity, you get a return of $4 worth of heat. Now... a heat pump will begin losing effectiveness at the 25-35 degree range and if you live in a snowy environment, you need to have it in a way that snow cannot build up around it.

In regard to lifetime of the unit - it begins with installation and ends with proper maintenance. It is no different than a car engine, or your own body. it MUST be maintained at least once each year... check refrigerant charge, clean the coil and electrical contacts etc. In addition, the air handler needs the same attention.

I am not assuming you do not maintain your unit - just throwing it out there to be sure it is done.

If you are going through the trouble of having everything replaced right now - why not just use an outdoor heat pump condensing unit and instead of an indoor air handler, use a gas furnace (With propane kit if needed). Set your thermostat to switch over to the gas furnace at the 32 degree mark.

This will allow you the most flexability should one or the other utility cost go through the roof. Initial investment is not that much different from one to the other.

Thanks, hope this helped.

billyrayvalentine 05-10-2007 12:02 PM

Thanks for the help.

Going gas is what both of the guys said right at the beginning, but my entire house is electric and there isn't even a gas line to the house.

I've only been in the house a little over a year, now everything goes wrong....

I'm thinking about going with a Rheem unit with a heat pump now.

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