We are in Southern Oregon and have a 1993 York 3.5 ton all electric split system. 2100 sq.ft., single level. Have had various heat pump licensed contractors here as our system is producing high electricity bills. Got some bids in the $7500 to $9000 range depending on do I want the very best rated unit or drop down one grade and get merely a fine unit. None did a Manual J or Manual D calc.
Yesterday a contractor came and had different views: He said our air handler and associated air lines/vents were not tight and causing outside air to come inside via cracks, holes, etc. He did measure windows, room size and will get back to me later with more info/recommendations. He said our single 20x25 inch air return was very inadequate (so did the other contractors) and our air flow was poor and no wonder it is $$$ to run.
He wants to seal everything it is possible to seal in the garage where the air handler is located, up in the attic and the ducts under the house (as they were taped.) He thinks (without going under) that they need sealing with a liquid product.
If he does this and installs one more 20x25 inch, he says we do not need a new heat pump. At least for a while.
As an alternative, he wants us to consider sealing off our air handler and ductwork and install a ductless mini split system by Mitsubishi. He left some brochures and I went to their website and am still a bit confused. Apparently you can use only 4 wall mounted vents per heat pump. Might not be enough for our 6 rooms, two of which are large. It seems you can install two units and get 8 wall vents. Is this correct? Also see that Fijitsu and Sanyo make these, among others. Apparently they work well down to 17 degrees and even below. If I read correctly there are no heat strips or emergency heat?
Any comments please. We moved here 5 years ago and this is our first heat pump. Thank you