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Need to replace HVAC in an old farm house: gas, geo, or electric?

Posted by hautinglu (My Page) on
Thu, Sep 17, 09 at 15:05

I know every situation is different, so I'm looking for feedback and/or ideas. Here's my situation:

-Old 100 yr old farm house on a 1 acre lot, insulated attic but not much else. Vinyl windows upstairs. Mix of original wood, thermal, and vinyl downstairs. 20 windows total. Eventually all will be replaced.

-I have about 200 ft in the front, and 200 in the back before I hit the street. Side yard is a large rectangle...100 ft x 50? But there are trees in the front and back.

-Current HVAC: a 40x20 addition (living room) has a heat pump for AC and heat. The rest of house has an OLD oil furnace. Have about 800 gallons of heating oil left. That's enough for 2 winters probably. I haven't spent a winter in the house yet, but I haven't used the AC once this summer. The shade help to keep it cool.

-There is no gas line. Tapping in would mean about 100 - 150 ft of trenching. I have an unused well in the front yard and a well in the basement. It's filtered b/c of sulfur smell. Water heater is electric.

-I planning to install a wood burning insert into the fireplace and possible open another fireplace (it's currently covered, possibly filled in). Furnace vents into a 3rd small chimney.

I found a local geothermal company (Western PA), but haven't been in touch with them yet. I'm thinking that since I need a new furnace and gas line, why not go with geo from the get-go. On the other hand, I've always liked single room/dual zone ductless heat pumps. I could easily mount these in the back of the house. Running the gas line was my original plan, which I'm now rethinking.

Like I said, I know every house is different, but is there anything obvious that I'm missing that would push me to one system vs another? No one else in the house except me, so during the week it sits empty while I'm at work.

Initially, I was budgeting $10k for the gas line and furnace. But of the 2 - 3 plumbers I've called, 0 have returned my calls so I have no quotes. I've been distracted by a 2nd floor remodel, so I'll starting calling contractors again in Oct.

Any info or advice would be great. Thanks.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Need to replace HVAC in an old farm house: gas, geo, or elect

I work for a geothermal air conditioning company in Florida and I would highly recommend the product. They can easily be retrofitted into older homes and will probably take up much less space than your current unit. They also are quieter, have better humidity control, cut the electric bill in half, and more. Also, there is a 30% tax credit based on the installed cost of a geothermal system, so when you couple that with the energy savings you actually will start making money off of it after about 5 years. Best of luck to you!

Here is a link that might be useful: Egg Geothermal Systems

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