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  1. #1

    Replacing Forced Air Oil Furnace ... thoughts?

    First, I have a very old oil furnace that is dead and needs to be replaced (and yes, I'll replace the oil tank as well). I live in S. Md (it's like Richmond VA). The current furnace was running at 72% eff and the AC is a SEER 8. The pricing I have for Gibson equipment is:
    #1 - 13 SEER A/C only w/ oil-fired furnace for primary heat ... $X
    #2 - 13 SEER Ht Pump w/ oil-fired auto furnace heat backup ... $X+7%
    #3 - 15 SEER A/C only w/ oil-fired furnace for primary heat ...$X+15%
    #4 - 15 SEER Ht Pump w/ oil-fired auto furnace heat backup ... $X+23%

    Now, our electricity price is 9.11 cents/kWH winter, 9.75/summer. Having said all that, I guess I'm thinking of using a option 3, a hybrid SEER 15 unit (heat pump with oil burner ... probably set it to 40 degrees). Anyone like to weigh in?

    thanks ... hope this is the right forum ... and hope I obeyed all rules (removed pricing).


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    At your published cost of electricity, I'd recommend you consider the highest efficiency heat pump you can wrestle up the money to purchase. The oil furnace should be replaced with one having an ECM motor at least or variable speed at best. You'll be able to heat your home down to about 30-degrees, if the system is sized properly, without using any oil! This is a perfect winter for such dual fuel systems to maximize their potential. So don't delay. But do be sure the installing company has done a full load analysis before allowing them to size or sell you any equipment. Proper sizing is of the utmost importance to both your wallet (during both purchase and operation) and your comfort.
    If YOU want change, YOU have to first change.

    If you are waiting for the 'other guy' to change first, just remember, you're the 'other guy's' other guy. To continue to expect real change when you keep acting the same way as always, is folly. Won't happen. Real change will only happen when a majority of the people change the way they vote!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    SW Wisconsin
    Since you are replacing the oil tank, why not go with an LP propane instead of oil as a backup? In most areas "the cost per heating Btu of LP is fairly close to that of oil fuel."

    Get a room t-stat that has a temp swing 1-9 setting, on/off differential setting or, cycles per hour setting.

    If your occupants are comfortable with a 3F or so temp-swing the system will run considerable more efficient due to less start-up & shut-down times per hour.
    Reheating the plenum due to shorter off-time lengths plus shorter run-times due to lesser degrees to reach the set-point, results in a waste of costly energy. Those factors can make a difference in both heating & cooling modes...

    I agree with skippedover, using a heat pump as primary heat, an ECM motor at least or variable speed is a good idea.
    Last edited by udarrell; 01-10-2012 at 08:21 PM. Reason: using a heat pump as primary heat

  4. #4
    good thoughts on the variable speed motor ... and I believe it has it, but I'll verify. Don't want to go propane ... it might be cost effective, but a) it's only "close to", not exact or less, and b) I never heard of a home oil drum exploding. Might not be logical to a "Hank Hill" type (and I say that with a smile), but to me, I understand the process of combustion enough to get scared. I'll also ask about the Tstat ... that was all news to me, so I'll have to get smarter!

    Higher SEER units worry me, but maybe 'illogically' so. My research says that to get above 15, your into expensive units that (when they start failing in 5-8 years) are more expensive to maintain, whereas a 15 SEER is still pretty basic (relatively speaking). Any thoughts you have in regards to SEER/dollars would be appreciated (like a rule of thumb that says "pay about $500/SEER point over 15 is a good trade-off").


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Philadelphia PA

    #2 sounds like a good price/ performance combo

    Sounds like an informed consumer choice to me
    You have got to learn from other people's mistakes! Because God knows you don't live long enough to make them all yourself !!!!!!!!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    most people in Richmond have access to natural gas ,

  7. #7
    I live in S. Md (it's like Richmond VA).

    and I have no natural gas access.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    I would go with a 14 or 15 seer heat pump with electric back up .if you use a back up generator then I would convert to propane and go with at least a 95 percent furnace with a heat pump,when comparing heat pumps look at the hspf rating.

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