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Old 11-18-2007, 05:31 PM   #1
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Heatpump system or 90%+ gas furnance & AC ?


I have rental property--when I need to replace an old furnace, I've always purchase a "90%+ furnace and AC combo. ---Recently, my 70 year-old mother-in-law announced that she needs a new furnance (she lives 40 miles away in another city). ---Apparently a serviceman told her that her furnance was unsafe---defective air exchanger---he would do her "a favor" and not "red tag" her furnance---but she would need to buy a new one (presumably from him) asap. --He gave her an estimate of $5,000.00+ --I recently put a 90%+ system in one of my rentals for less than $4,000 (same size as she needs---I told her to get a 2nd and 3rd opinion--- she was concerned about the "unsafe" furnance---I told her to get a 2nd & 3rd opinion. ---In the meantime, my brother-in-law (who lives in same city as my mother-in-law), did some research; he feels that she should replace her current furnance and AC with a heatpump system---he admits that the initial cost of the heatpump system will cost more than a 90%+ gas furnance and AC, but insists that the monthly energy cost (Winter & Summer in Kansas City) will be lower with a heat pump. ---Is this true? ---They are looking at a 14 SEER heatpump system. I've have always believed that a heatpump system produced higher energy bills than a forced-air gas furnance & AC with a 90%+ rating. Please advise as soon as possible because a decision is about to be made. ---Helpful responses would be most appreciated. ---Jaes.


Last edited by jaes; 11-20-2007 at 10:40 PM. Reason: Spelling
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Old 11-18-2007, 06:20 PM   #2
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Heatpump system or 90%+ gas furnance & AC ?


you are right, unless they live in one of those areas with dirt cheap electricity rates, they d wate their $$$$.

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Old 11-20-2007, 09:38 PM   #3
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Heatpump system or 90%+ gas furnance & AC ?


If you install a gas furnace with a heat pump and use a dual fuel thermostat you can save a substantial amount in many areas of the country. Gas costs have been approaching electric costs in Indiana and a rough figure on the cost of operating a heat pump versus conventional electric is 1.00 for the same amount of electric heat you get for 3.00. A heat pump is typically effective down to around 30-35 degrees. You can set the dual fuel thermostat up to switch to gas heat at that temperature and it operates without the heat pump below the temperature you choose. If you have very many heating days above 30-35 degrees you will save money with the heat pump. Without the dual fuel option most people will not be happy with a heat pump. If the area you are in is like Indiana and gas costs keep increasing it might be a good option.
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Old 11-20-2007, 10:37 PM   #4
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Heatpump system or 90%+ gas furnance & AC ?


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Originally Posted by shortyshvac.com View Post
If you install a gas furnace with a heat pump and use a dual fuel thermostat you can save a substantial amount in many areas of the country. ...Without the dual fuel option most people will not be happy with a heat pump.
--Because, I know little, or nothing, about heat pumps, let my ask the following dumb question: When you say, "If you install a gas furnance with a heat pump," --Do you mean that you are installing a standard forced-air gas furnace (e.g., 90%+ eff.) with a heat pump element in it (i.e., in, or near, the heat exchanger)? ---Sounds like it's a dual system? ---If so, one probably would need to be concerned about the efficiency of both systems---Also, how does the Air Conditioning work? ---Sorry for my lack of basic knowledge about heat pumps---and the dual system you are talking about. I appreciate your coments, and would like further information/discussion. --Thanks. Jaes.
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Old 11-21-2007, 06:34 AM   #5
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Heatpump system or 90%+ gas furnance & AC ?


A heat pump is actually an air conditioner with an added feature. It is installed like a standard air conditioner with some extra control wires. The added feature is a reversing valve that diverts the direction of refrigerant. In the cooling cycle the indoor coil absorbs heat from inside your house and the outdoor coil releases heat outside. When the valve changes direction the outdoor coil absorbs heat from the outside air and the indoor coil releases heat inside your house. As the outdoor temperature approaches 30-35 degrees you do not gain enough heat to adequately heat most houses.
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Old 11-21-2007, 06:49 AM   #6
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Heatpump system or 90%+ gas furnance & AC ?


In simpler terms, when you're heating with a heat pump, you're airconditioning the outdoors. Meaning your heating cost in the winter with an electric heat pump will be similar to your a/c costs in the summer.

Heat pumps are ridiculiously expensive to operate, and ridiculiously inefficient in a Northeast winter where temps are below 34 degrees for many weeks. Their only place is in southern climates AND where electricity is dirt cheap.

As for your MIL - a cracked heat exchanger in a furnace is CO poisioning waiting to happen. I don't think any honest HVAC tech could sleep at night knowing that they ignored one and "let" the homeowner off with a warning, and an estimate to replace, and upgrade to a more efficient system.

I also find it way too convenient that she MUST replace the system, and was also suggested an "upsell" to what will most probably be a less efficient, more expensive setup that even if it WAS going to save energy over the long run, she'd probably never live to realize the payback.

Get a 2nd AND a 3rd opinion post haste.
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Old 11-21-2007, 12:39 PM   #7
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Heatpump system or 90%+ gas furnance & AC ?


try this http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/experts/heatcalc.xls plug the cost of energy in your area and see.
in my area (western NY) natural gas is the cheapest choice, second place for propane, 3rd for heating oil and at the very botton electricity.
if saving energy is your goal there is not better choice than a 96% efficient gas fired furnace.
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Old 11-21-2007, 12:44 PM   #8
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Heatpump system or 90%+ gas furnance & AC ?


Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnGuyLandSparky View Post
In simpler terms, when you're heating with a heat pump, you're airconditioning the outdoors. Meaning your heating cost in the winter with an electric heat pump will be similar to your a/c costs in the summer.

Heat pumps are ridiculiously expensive to operate, and ridiculiously inefficient in a Northeast winter where temps are below 34 degrees for many weeks. Their only place is in southern climates AND where electricity is dirt cheap.

As for your MIL - a cracked heat exchanger in a furnace is CO poisioning waiting to happen. I don't think any honest HVAC tech could sleep at night knowing that they ignored one and "let" the homeowner off with a warning, and an estimate to replace, and upgrade to a more efficient system.

I also find it way too convenient that she MUST replace the system, and was also suggested an "upsell" to what will most probably be a less efficient, more expensive setup that even if it WAS going to save energy over the long run, she'd probably never live to realize the payback.

Get a 2nd AND a 3rd opinion post haste.
you are what we call "well informed customer" you wont believe how many of those so called green system my company has replaced with a standard high efficiency furnace. sadly there are many crooks in my trade.
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Old 11-24-2007, 04:35 PM   #9
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Heatpump system or 90%+ gas furnance & AC ?


I very much appreciate the time everyone gave me regards heat pump vs. high eff. gas furnance. I will print off this discussion, and let my mother-in-law have the benefit of it. --Thanks again. Jaes.

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