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Old 06-14-2010, 10:45 PM   #1
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Heat pump vs. Furnace and Air Conditioner


Our 15 year old air conditioner may need to be replaced by the end of summer. The fan blade is slipping and making noise. We want to be prepared and not have to make hasty decisions. It has been recommended to replace both the air conditioner and furnace. Both were put in 15 years ago when we built the house. We also have a humidifier on the back of the furnace we have been told we will not have to replace.

Our HVAC repair guy likes the new heat pumps -- efficient, effective, run all the time, etc. My dad did HVAC for 30 years and hated heat pumps. We live in Ohio. Let me repeat, we live in Ohio. It is cold, snowy, icy, and cold in the winter and it is hot, humid and very hot in the summer. Yes, I am exagerating the climate a bit, but I read heat pumps were for warmer climates. I do not consider Ohio a warmer climate, except summer time when it is a hot and humid climate.

How do you decided between a heat pump and a standard air conditioner and furnace? And then how do you decide about the brand. We are into quality and doing it right the first time.

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Old 06-15-2010, 06:27 AM   #2
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Heat pump vs. Furnace and Air Conditioner


Contact your local utility companies, gas and electric and see if they have engineers on staff who know your fuel costs. They should be able to give you a comparison on which fuel is cheaper to use down to what temperature. Heat pumps get a LOT less efficient at lower temps and eventually it is cheaper to use gas or sometimes electric. All depends on your local rates. As far as quality you get what you pay for.

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Old 06-15-2010, 06:34 AM   #3
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Heat pump vs. Furnace and Air Conditioner


Hate to tell you this. But. Ohio is a warmer climate.

And they now make heat pumps for cold climates. Cold, like in places that have temps of -30F.

As above. You need to look at your gas and electric rate. But, a dual fuel heat pump would probably be a good choice for your area.
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:18 AM   #4
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Heat pump vs. Furnace and Air Conditioner


Please see my thread:

Heatpump vs Natural Gas - Energy Cost Spreadsheet

Basically, I decided to get a heatpump to supplement my 92% furnace. Since I did the install myself, it only cost me about 200 more for the heat pump over the AC only unit. Tonnage is Tonnage so Heat pumps are not going to work worse than AC which is a common misconception, their output does go down based on the the outside temperature, so when it gets really cold you want backup heat which is why you want a gas furnace too.

In that post above I concluded that at 60 degrees outside, my heatpump costs 1.8 times less to run then my 92% gas furnace. At 45 degrees it costs 1.5 times less, and not until 15 degrees f does it cost the same to run as the 92% furnace.

The chart at the bottom shows the heat output of a heatpump goes down with outdoor temperature, but if it is sized right, this doesn't cause the other heat method to kick on until 30-40 degrees. You can play with these numbers on your thermostat if you get a VisionPro8000 or equiv like I got (I LOVE having the outdoor temperature displayed on my thermostat so I can decide if I should just open a window..).

Your dad may dislike heatpump setups because they use electric backup heat. If you go that route, you may not save any money because electric backup heat costs 3x to 4x more than the heatpump based heat. Where as the gas only costs 1.5 to 1.8 times more.

All the brands typically use the same internal components. All the brands will have entry level stuff and nicer stuff.

I went with a Goodman 14Seer unit because at 14seer they put the higher quality stuff in it. They put a lifetime warranty Copeland Scroll compressor and a blanket over it to keep it quiet. The unit is very quiet compared to my neighbors AC unit right next door to me.

If you are interested in saving money on energy costs, then get a heatpump with GAS backup heat. You can always turn off the heat pump and just use the gas if you want the house to heat up in 15 minutes instead of 30 minutes.. In the spring and fall your heatpump will save you money if your utility costs are similar to mine. (for likely 6months out of the year).. In the winter you'll use mostly gas, in the summer you'll use the HP as AC.
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:48 AM   #5
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Heat pump vs. Furnace and Air Conditioner


Quote:
Originally Posted by heating&cooling View Post
I do not consider Ohio a warmer climate
Neither did I.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Climatemapusa2.PNG
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Old 06-15-2010, 10:10 AM   #6
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Heat pump vs. Furnace and Air Conditioner


What city do you live in?

http://countrystudies.us/united-states/weather/ohio/

http://countrystudies.us/united-stat...portsmouth.htm

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Mean 30 34 45 55 64 71 75 74 67 56 46 35

Looks to me like a heatpump will save you money March through November, and will still run some time during parts of Jan Feb and Dec at which it will be saving you money.
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Old 06-15-2010, 12:45 PM   #7
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Heat pump vs. Furnace and Air Conditioner


Here's another take on it.
http://www.degreedays.net/
and
http://www.google.com/search?client=...UTF-8&oe=UTF-8
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:24 PM   #8
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Heat pump vs. Furnace and Air Conditioner


We live nearest to Xenia and Beavercreek Ohio. We are on propane.

Thanks! We will check electric company and then we are on propane for heating, but I guess we do not have to be -- could go electric. I know years ago propane was less expensive -- haven't thought about it since we built.

Ok, and what about cooling? Can heat pumps really get cold. Today, inside temp rose to 75/76 and I had to crank the AC down to 60 just to stop from being dripping wet in the house. We had thermostat set at 68, but a few trips in and out and next thing you know we are at 75. We work out of the house most days so we are here all of the time.

Thanks! Interesting read and appreciate the data.
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Old 06-15-2010, 09:31 PM   #9
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Heat pump vs. Furnace and Air Conditioner


Heat pumps can get just as cold as a regular AC which is what they really are. Only difference is the heating part of it which uses a reversing valve to alter the cycle. Google air to air heat pump for more info. The drawback to them (and they are getting better) is that the supply air temp from a heat pump is a lot less than a propane or electric furnace. May only get 110 deg from the registers and most people are used to 130 and up. Feels uncomfortable for some people. Will still heat your house but in a longer cycle with not as warm air. They are more complex and expensive to repair but in some areas are a better value than propane or oil or straight electric. Pros and cons to everything. They can be set to switch over to a alternate fuel/duel fuel at a higher outdoor temp by a skilled tech. There may be some good rebates from the government and utility companies for higher SEER heat pumps worth looking into. Check this out:http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/publications/...sheatpumps.cfm
We use them in the warmer Provinces of Canada, southern BC and Ontario.
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Last edited by yuri; 06-15-2010 at 09:34 PM.
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Old 06-15-2010, 10:15 PM   #10
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Heat pump vs. Furnace and Air Conditioner


Yep. A heat pump can cool just as good as a straight A/C.
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Old 06-16-2010, 02:52 PM   #11
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Heat pump vs. Furnace and Air Conditioner


Quote:
Originally Posted by yuri View Post
They can be set to switch over to a alternate fuel/duel fuel at a higher outdoor temp by a skilled tech.
They can also be set to switchover at higher temp (or a lower temp) by an unskilled lay person with the manual. Basically some units have outdoor cutoff modules and some units have the switch-over done by the indoor thermostat. Mine is switched over by my indoor thermostat. (which has it's own outdoor temperature sensor) I can hit two buttons to get into programming mode, look up the code for cut out temp, and set it to 25,30,35,40, etc degrees f for the shutoff.

I can also select between HeatPump Heat, Gas Heat, Cool, or Off by hitting the main system button on the thermostat. (Vision Pro8000 settings)

If I put it in Gas heat only, it will never use the heat pump for heating. If I put it at heat pump heat, it will use the heat pump until it gets too cold outside, then automatically switch over to gas. It is very very simple and easy to use once setup. I love it.

Last edited by zootjeff; 06-16-2010 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 06-16-2010, 06:07 PM   #12
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Heat pump vs. Furnace and Air Conditioner


Very good technology. If he doesn't like the very long cycles as it gets real cold outside he can opt to switch to another fuel. Saves some wear and tear on the compressor and fan motor also.

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