hybrid heat vs standard system

buckthornAugust 21, 2008

We're in the process of replacing a furnace and air conditioner, both 20+ years old. We're trying to choose between a standard furnace + A/C system, and a furnace - heat pump (air) hybrid heat combo (Carrier Infinity). The difference in process is about $2500 or so. It doesn't seem as though the heat pump combo is that likely to pay for itself, although it might in the long haul. I've been going through this forum and elsewhere trying to research this, but we can't come up with compelling reasons to go with one system or the other. We live in Wisconsin, use LP for the furnace (now at $2.50+ per gallon), and pay about .10 per kilowatt for electricity. We have a strong interest in energy efficiency; we use a wood stove to supplement the gas heat, and have solar panels that cover about 75% of our annual electricity costs. Why would a heat pump be worth the extra $$?

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yes, definitely go dual fuel.

crunch the numbers on link to fuel comparison calculator.
you will be surprised at the results.


Here is a link that might be useful: Fuel Comparison Calculator

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 4:33PM
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I would dual fuel and then you have three options to heat your home depending on fuel cost and availability. If propane dropped back down to 60-70 cents or even a buck a gallon I would use it but at the 2.50+ mark I would run the heat pump till it gets down around 15-20 deg out.

Either way I would add a humidifier to the system if there is not already one.. It will make whatever you go with feel all the more comfy.. especially the heat pump.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 6:28PM
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You may want to check this out also....


There is also a savings cal there just plug in some data and see. The write up seems to say that this unit ( Heat Pump ) is good into the freezing temps

Any way best of luck


    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 10:27AM
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Hi I went through the decision earlier... right or wrong went with 2 stage HP and a variable speed furnace. My thoughts are:

1) Should be able to get reduced electric rate for heating/cooling in MI rate drops to 5.5 c/Kwh (abour 12 $/MMBTU) with the HP COP this should be about half Ngas cost. Not sure cost of LP, but I'd guess it is higher.
2) Can use HP for ~4 months & 1-2 months will mostly be Ngas. You can look up average temperatures for your area an estimate use.
3) I believe the Ngas (& LP) will go up faster than electric (at least winter rates) so expect the numbers to look better going forward...

But the payback isn't great

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 12:13AM
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Flexibilty and the best of both worlds great savings down to 35 degrees and actual warm air below 35 degrees takes care of the #1 complaint against Heat Pumps

Here is a link that might be useful: Air Conditioning Repair made Easy

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 12:50AM
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Thanks for all of the responses -- they all help. The difference in the quotes we got is about $3000, once you factor in Energy Star cashback awards. Our HVAC guy is not pushing the heat pump at all; he says that the standard system will give us more bang for our buck. The chief advantages of the heat pump seem to be flexibility and cost savings. The first is good but not overwhelming. The second, while it sounds good, doesn't seem quite as compelling as some suggest. Will the HP actually pay for the price difference over its lifetime? Maybe, but maybe not. Projecting operating costs seems like a bit of a crapshoot -- at least to some extent. Who knows what's going to happen with the price of LP and electricity, although it seems reasonable that LP heat will continue to be more expensive than HP/electric heat for the foreseeable future. And perhaps we'll use the A/C more as we get older, and would want a more efficient A/C unit (14 vs. 13 SEER in this case). This is a tough one.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 9:47AM
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Hybrid heat should be $500-600 more than standard cooling. Something isn't makin' sense.

LP 92% furnace at $2.50 (sounds cheap) is $30 per million BTUs put in the house

Today's heat pumps at 30° outside with 10 cent juice, $9.77 or 1/3 the price of your LP.

Find a dealer who doesn't get $2500 more for hybrid heat. It will pay for itself fast.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 2:39PM
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I still think you should check out this website and run some numbers .... they have a tab that says something like ' how much will I save ' can't hurt.



Here is a link that might be useful: Arcadia

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 10:27AM
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I agree with everything that Baldloonie says.

I would throw your dealer overboard and find another. Your dealer is not listening to you, may not know HPs, and has overpriced the HP to make it less attractive. I would look at Carrier's sgl stg Performance 15 HP or two stg Infinity 16 HP.

It would be a mistake not to leverage your inexpensive electric rate vs the very expensive LP gas. You are on the correct path, just have a poor dealer.


    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 12:09PM
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Just to be clear (I may have given the wrong SEER figure earlier) , they've quoted us a basic Carrier A/C unit (24ABA336 13 SEER)w/ evap coil, lineset, etc. at $2350 vs. an Infinity 25HNA648 16 SEER Heat pump (4 ton, 2-stage) at $5750 (includes lineset, evap coils). Both are matched with an Infinity 58MVC08-20 furnace plus Infinity controls) @ $4400. That's kind of a low-end A/C unit and a higher-end HP, which may account for the large difference. I've seen some of the other Carrier HP price quotes in this forum, and this doesn't sound out of line. I'm beginning to lean towards the HP solution. Does the price quote seem otoo high?: $4400 (furnace)+ 5750 (HP Inf. 16)= $10150 minus about $400 for energy incentives = $9750.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2008 at 12:52PM
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