What am I missing? AC vs. heat pump

beachratFebruary 12, 2011

I am buying a small (1000 square feet) ranch home. The central air unit needs to be replaced, furnace is propane. I know that the cost of a heat pump is more, but if it is not astronomically higher, why wouldn't I spring for the heat pump?

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there is no good reason not to get a heatpump. Heatpumps should only cost a little more than a like model A/C. Anybody charging you more is taking you for a ride. Like $500 or so more. $1000 at most I would say.

Propane is expensive.
How much do you pay for electricity? What part of the country are in?

I prefer highest efficiency single stage. Usually gets to be about 15 seer with the matched airhandler.

I recommend demand defrost and scroll compressor.

Heatpumps are good at maintaining temperatures. They take a long time to bring it back up. They keep places nice and evenly heated since they run so long at warmer temperatures.

Lots of good major manufacturer off brands are available for not a ton of money.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 10:29AM
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Thank you. This is in coastal North Carolina. I do not yet know the utility cost -- I wanted this particular piece of property. The house was almost secondary! I have budgeted to repair/replace duct work as necessary, condition the crawl space and further insulate the attic.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 10:49AM
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Initial cost is probably less than 500.00 for the heat pump option which with the right stat will give you total control of what heat your using at selected temperatures so you can get the most btu out of every dollar.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 1:46PM
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You wouldn't spring for a heat pump if it is more economical to heat your home with the furnace. You have to compare the costs of running the furnance versus the heat pump to make a decision.

Be aware a heat pump has a shorter life expectancy than an AC only condenser. If you plan to live in this home for a long time, than you need to factor in the added costs of maintaining a heat pump and a possible replacement.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 6:52PM
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Thank you all for your input. Much to think about.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 9:22PM
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Coastal Carolinas would be a good location for a heat pump. You'll very likely use the system primarily for cooling in the summer.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2011 at 11:15PM
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get rid of the propane furnace as well and install a completely matched HP system. breaker panel will need to be checked to see if it can accept small heat strip.

these are my minimum specs for a new HP system. both outside and inside units should be replaced to have a properly matched system.

15 SEER, 12.5+ EER, 9 HSPF
best matching VS air handler
full BTUs in both cooling and heating for your rated size
R-410a refrigerant(same as Puron)
scroll compressor preferred
electronic demand defrost preferred
thermostat with "dehumidify on demand" feature
staged backup heat strips
new and correctly sized refrigerant lineset

you want a thorough inspection of your ductwork system. size, overall condition, supply and return lines, insulation qualities, leak test, etc.

any hot/cold spot issues in your home should be addressed.

I would only use authorized dealers for the various brands that provide quotes. see mfg websites.

I would look at Trane/AmStd,Rheem/Rudd,Carrier/Bryant.

I would not purchase a new HP system that did not have electronic demand defrost.

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 7:17AM
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