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  1. #1

    Heat pump worth the extra cost?

    Hi,
    I'm in central N.C., an area where dual-fuel heat pump systems are supposed to be advantageous. However, my NG price is currently $0.89/therm, and the dual-fuel Heat Pump system that gets comparable efficiency ratings to the AC-furnace system we are considering costs$ more. Also, the dual-fuel Heat Pump system that is comparable in price to the AC-furnace system we are considering has lower efficiency ratings: 15.5 SEER vs. 19 SEER.

    So, although Heat Pumps are theoretically good in my area, I can't see paying the same amount as a high-efficiency AC-furnace system (19 SEER) to get a less efficient dual-fuel Heat Pump system (15.5 SEER). Also, I don't know that energy cost savings of the high-efficiency dual-fuel Heat Pump system (18.7 SEER) will ever overcome the $ higher price.

    Am I missing something in these equations? Because, if not, it looks to me like the AC-furnace system would be our best choice. Did I reason that right?

    Appreciatively,
    Pittsburrito
    Last edited by beenthere; 06-03-2012 at 04:58 PM. Reason: removed price difference

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    4,802
    Please edit any price references from your post, site rules
    A good HVAC tech knows how, an educated HVAC tech knows why!

    DEM


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    4,802
    If I remember correctly, electric rates in your area are usually lower. I would get several estimates comparing apples to apples before ruling out a heat pump completely. Most manufacturer's have cost comparison charts available to help with deciding what system best fits your needs. Heat pumps do cost more than conventional AC systems so actual real world numbers are helpful when deciding. Any HVAC contractor you get an estimate from should be able to do a operation cost comparison for you.
    A good HVAC tech knows how, an educated HVAC tech knows why!

    DEM


  4. #4
    Our electric rates are $0.10/kWh. The Operating Cost Estimate shows it will take 12 years to regain the initial investment difference with the energy cost savings. Don't know if that is worth it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    4,512
    Quote Originally Posted by pittsburrito View Post
    Our electric rates are $0.10/kWh. The Operating Cost Estimate shows it will take 12 years to regain the initial investment difference with the energy cost savings. Don't know if that is worth it.
    I am a fan of dual fuel in a lot of cases .it does not look like you will benefit from it unless natural gas goes sky high

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    The South
    Posts
    1,976
    Pitts

    I live in the Southeast. I installed a DF system about 7 yrs ago. At the time, I calculated that a HP had an operational cost advantage down to the balance point of about 35% over nat gas. This gap has significantly closed where a HP today is only marginally advantageous. Two things have happened. Regulated electric costs have increased much faster than inflation while marketplace nat gas rates have significantly declined.

    Using your rates which I will assume include all related costs and charges within your bill, a DF system with a HP is not a good choice from an operational cost standpoint. I used 95% efficiency for nat gas and 3.00 HSPF.

    Results below

    Cost per 100,000 btu of useable heat

    Electric baseboard: $2.64
    Heat pump: $0.98
    Natural gas: $0.92

    This is a guide only.

    Of course, a DF system does give you flexilibilty as rates change. Now if your furnace is an 80% efficient, you would see a small savings. However, I don't think a DF system is worth the additional cost.

    IMO

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Pavilion, NY
    Posts
    2,015
    I agree with tigerdunes. If you factor in the decreased lifespan of the outdoor unit then you will be behind. If all costs were equal then I would still go with furnace/Ac For your situation.
    ...

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    The South
    Posts
    1,976
    A correction.

    That was supposed to read 3.00 COP, not HSPF.

    My bad.

    IMO

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    NE Alabama
    Posts
    301
    Having resided in NC i remember the mid 90's when the cost of N. gas tripled and even the largest industrial consumers were caught unawares when price tripled. So, given the uncertainty of N. gas prices I would grab a chance to use a heat pump for three to four months a year when outside temps are warm enough to pull heat in from outside and stay off the gas. Like any other situation you are betting N. gas will not rise. As global temps seem to be rising you may find yourself using your heat pump more and you N. gas side less.

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