Oil furnace/heat pump vs hp+ electric strips

thesilverbackJuly 29, 2013

I currently have an oil furnace and central air. Looking to replace with a heat pump with oil backup. I have 3 quotes, but the one guy brought up another option: go with a hp + electric strips and ditch the oil entirely. I live in NE Ohio about an hour south of Cleveland.
Anybody out there with hp+ strips in my climate with advice?
House is 2,900 sq. ft. Single story, full basement.
Trane 15i. Or a Bryant extreme with his quote.
All thoughts appreciated.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What is the cost/ gal for oil and cost/ KWh for electric?

Be as specific as possible.

I will run a fuel cost comparison for you.

You might check with electric utility to see if they offer any special rate for HP heating in the winter mths. Many utilities do.

Using Cleveland as a guide you have three mths of cold weather.

Month Low High
Jan 18.8ðF 32.6ðF
Feb 21.0ðF 35.8ðF
Mar 28.9ðF 46.1ðF
Apr 37.9ðF 57.3ðF
May 48.3ðF 68.6ðF
Jun 57.7ðF 77.4ðF
Jul 62.3ðF 81.4ðF
Aug 61.2ðF 79.2ðF
Sept 54.3ðF 72.3ðF
Oct 43.7ðF 60.8ðF
Nov 34.9ðF 48.7ðF
Dec 24.9ðF 37.4ðF

How would you describe the insulation properties of your home?

Post back.


This post was edited by tigerdunes on Mon, Jul 29, 13 at 16:43

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 4:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would also inquire as to whether your Electrical Service from the street is adequately sized to handle the additional strip heater load.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 6:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If it's an old belt-drive blower & the heat exchanger is near the top of the Oil furnace it will usually cause an airflow restriction causing low airflow.

I'd probably consider getting rid of the oil furnace, even if replaced with propane or NG.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 8:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks everyone. This is my first ever post. Electric is .0646 per kwh, oil is around 3.60 a gallon. I would say the home is well insulated. No data, just opinion. Previous owner was a builder himself.
I have 200 amp service.
Blower on old furnace is shot, drip pan leaks, unit is approx. 16 years old. Ac uses r 22. When I say oil furnace back up, I mean a new furnace.
Looking at a whole new set up so it is all integrated. T stat also.

    Bookmark   July 29, 2013 at 9:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I will assume nat gas service to your home is not available.

Here are the results from fuel comparison calculator. I always say to use the results as a guide. Using your rates and efficiency 82% for oil, 2.75 COP for electric.

Cost per 100,000 btu of useable heat

Electric baseboard: $1.71
Heat pump: $0.69
Oil: $3.18

As you can see even straight electric resistance heat is substantially less expensive than oil heat. The cold climate heat pumps available from Carrier and Bryant would even have a lower operating cost. As mentioned by Salti, dealer or electric contractor would need to check your electric service for capacity to handle backup heat strips. This would depend on size of home, size of equipment, and load calculation. Keep in mind, heat pumps are sized by cooling.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 1:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow, thanks for running those numbers. I was worried about a sky high elect bill in winter. The elect backup would be much cheaper and the hp could still run with them on as opposed to the oil.
Now I'm thinking about the Bryant extreme hp. It will be more $ but it will work better at the lower temps than the train.
No, gas isn't an option here except propane. No good place for a pro. tank.
Definitely will be sure elect service checks out.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 9:47AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If this were my home - especially since you already have a 200amp entrance and a rate of 6.46cents/kW, I would install a Carrier Greenspeed Infinity heat pump system with WiFi T-stat if I were going forced air and not going geothermal.

I would search for the best installation at the most reasonable price, not look at anything else - and not look back!



Here is a link that might be useful: Carrier Infinity Greenspeed

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 9:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am not opposed to the GreenSpeed. Obviously they have been more of a success compared to the the failure of the Arcadia models. Carrier is obviously marketing and pricing these systems as an alternative to geothermal. My point is you should weigh the cost difference between the high end air to air conventional HPs versus the Greenspeed and what your payback would be.

If you decide in the GreenSpeed, it should be a dealer that had installed many of these systems. I would want the names and phone numbers of a few of these installs that you could call and perhaps even visit.

You already ave my suggestion about your electric service.

I would want a thorough survey of your ductwork system as well.

Either way, you should see some nice savings over your oil system. May be some mfg rebates in September. Don't know your plan and schedule.

Good Luck!


    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 10:01AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


You said,
Electric baseboard: $1.71
Heat pump: $0.69 with a COP of 2.75
Oil: $3.18

I think it is more meaningful to show the Heat Pump operating cost at the COP which would exist when the oil or electric strip heaters were to be providing auxiliary heat.

I understand that my suggestion has no bearing on the comparison between oil and strip heaters.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 11:55AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For Salti

I understand what you are saying.

My fuel comparison calculator is to be used as a guide only. It clearly points that because OP has very cheap electric compared to the more expensive oil, there are some real savings and cost advantage to going all electric.

Now to fine tune the operating costs, I would need to know the details of the system being considered including size of the heat strips. This I don't know.

I would be willing to tackle this if I knew but really believe this is incumbent more on the quoting dealer than myself.

Not sure if you are trying to make the case that oil furnace is not as bad as it seems for the backup. I think it is just looking at the straight resistance cost which is almost 1/2 of the oil operating cost.

Any suggestions are appreciated.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 12:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

thanks, tigerdunes.

No argument for oil. With his low electric costs I think oil is a poor option... assuming the electrician and power company don't need tons of money. lol

Just saying that with a COP of, say, 1.11 the comparison at LOW outside temp might be:

Electric baseboard: $1.71
Heat pump: $1.71 with a COP of 1.11
Oil: $3.18

Also, this would help the homeowner to understand WHY he sets the Auxiliary heat to kick in at , say, 25 Deg F. (Or whatever temp yields a COP of, say, 1.11)

This post was edited by saltidawg on Tue, Jul 30, 13 at 13:56

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 1:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


The numbers I listed on the fuel comparison calculator were based on 100 KBTUs. Of course this would be scaled down based on load calculation.

I suspect a 4 ton condenser with a 15 KW heat strip but wouldn't know until a properly performed load calc was performed.

I would want to rerun the fuel comparison when size is known both for a high eff conventional HP system and a Greenspeed. Only then would OP know if the numbers would justify the upgrade to the cold climate GreenSpeed.

Either way, This is a no brainer.


    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 1:29PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The greenspeed will have a COP of 1 at a much lower temp than a conventional heat pump and a 15+ seer unit with decent numbers will hold a COP much lower than most realize and with demand defrost a lot of money is saved right there.

I would research greenspeed and geothermal both heavily. Ditch Witch and a few other companies now make machines that can do the wells like a cone drilling outward and down from a central location which saves a lot of money and has less impact on the drill site than 4 individually dug wells.

If you have a pond or a regular well nearby that is an option to use and also if you have the space to trench in the lines or dig a pit system. I know someone who had a leaky pool and put the system in there and filled it with bentonite and dirt and it does excellent.

Don't forget to ask yourself how long you plan to live there and figure that in and also remember that dollars spent sealing and insulating will pay back faster than any heating or cooling system upgrade in efficiency and comfort.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2013 at 11:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here's an update. Trane XL15i 16 seer 9.5 hspf (3ton) variable sp blower 4heat strips, 5kw each. $11,125. Single stage.

Option two. Bryant extreme, 280ANV, 20.5 seer 13 hspf (4 ton) blower, strips the same. $15,978. Variable speed hp. Puts out 47,000 btu down to 17 deg.
Contractor is the same guy. Said the Bryant would be 4 ton because it was variable. Very impressed with him and company. They put in gas furnace and central air in our previous house. (Miss that gas!)

Rheem guy coming over today. His quote, oil furn. 3ton hp, 15seer, don't have an hspf on it. Vs blower on furn. $6, 570.
When he was here first time, I wasn't looking at all elect. So he is coming back. Still would expect his quote to be much lower. I would have to compare it to the Trane option since Rheem doesn't have anything comparable to the Extreme. (That I know).
Ductwork was insp. by each.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 12:28PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think the Trane 3 ton may be undersized.

To be clear, what size is main floor and what size is basement finished living area?

Is basement at or partially below grade?

Post back.


    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 12:34PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I made an error in my first post, Tigerdunes. The first floor is 2100 sq. ft. And the basement finished area is 800 sq. ft.
Real estate agents count finished basement area. It has drop ceiling, paneling, carpet, and walkout access. However, this area isn't directly heated. There are some vents in the ductwork there but I keep them closed.
So about 3/4 of the basement is below grade with the grade gradually sloping towards the walkout end.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 2:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What size is existing AC?

Post back


    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 3:24PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Existing unit is 3ton.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 4:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here's another update. Rheem guy came back out to give me an all electric quote. 3 ton hp 16 seer , air handler 15 kw heater, $8,956.
He also does geothermal installations. Walked me through everything, checked out our yard, etc. Will give me an exact quote tomorrow am.
So now I will prob. start a new thread on geo vs air hp!
With the 30% credit, may come close or under the Bryant quote.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2013 at 5:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Why does same dealer think 3 ton is correct size for Trane and 4 ton for Bryant Extreme? I find this very odd and in conflict.

And has this dealer looked at ductwork system that currently has a 3 Ton AC condenser and said that 4 ton Bryant would not require ductwork modifications to handle extra CFMs? This is a big issue. If you are making a serious change like you are considering, then you want it correct.

I don't like these loose quotes. I want to see complete model numbers for outside condenser and inside air handler.

Also on the Bryant and Trane quotes, I see no reason for 20 KW heat strips. 15 KW would be fine and yields about 51 KBTUs.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2013 at 8:24AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi, we have similar situation to research.

We are looking into upgrading our HVAC and have question as to go with Heat Pump with Electric or Oil backup.

Central Massachusetts, 20 year old house, 3000sqft typical two story colonial with central forced hot air oil furnace and AC.
Currently 5ton AC and heating with 80% efficient and I think 110000BTU oil furnace. Which might be more than necessary.
No natural gas available. Oil or Propane.
200Amp main panel.

Electric rates are about 11.39cents per KWH.
Oil rates are about $4.00 dollars per gallon.

AC is only two months or so, heating is more important. So we are thinking of choosing a low temperature Heat Pump with good HSFP, SEER is less important.

We were wondering if for the price of electric and oil if we can move to electric as backup in this area (New England).

Would there also be any re-sale issues later too?

Our dealer is also recommending Byrant 280A 5 Ton low temperature with 20KW, which we might request to bump up to the three stage 24KW heat strips because we keep warm temperature (70F).

Thank you for any help you can give.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 12:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


You have several options from which to choose.

It is bad form to take over someone else's thread. Start a new thread and copy your post. You will get better responses with an email alert.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 2:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi Mike, okay. I thought I was using proper etiquette by not starting a new topic when one existed already. If I start new one people will say this is already discussed.

Will start my own thread then.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 2:57PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Are mini-splits a bad idea.
I have lived in both Europe and the Middle East and...
Nozzle size for Oil Burner ??
I have a Slant fin oil furnace that heats my water...
Rheem Econet AC
Does anyone know when the new Rheem econet Ac units...
HVAC question
I live near Charlotte NC and have a new Bryant Hybrid...
Insulating floor on my raised home in Louisiana.
We recently installed solar panels on our home. We...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™