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  1. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    Gas heat is hotter, but it's only an advantage if you can afford to run it. Cold-blooded sorts can be perfectly happy with the warm (not hot) heat from heat pumps, especially in areas like Atlanta where heat pumps are so much cheaper a way to heat a home. Variable speed blowers do go a long way toward making heat pump heating more comfortable, I will grant, and you wouldn't want to set up the supply registers where they were blowing with much velocity (it feels drafty that way). It's easy to set up a heat pump in ways that don't produce good comfort, though, so it's no wonder they get a bad rap.

    In my experience in metro Atlanta a home using a heat pump as the primary heat source, regardless of whether the auxiliary heat is gas or electric, costs 50-70% less to heat over the course of a year than a house with an 80% efficient gas furnace alone. The local climate just doesn't require much backup heat beyond what a heat pump can provide.

    Georgia Power doesn't offer special rates for those with heat pumps, but have fairly low winter electric rates, and heavy users of electricity in the winter get a bit of a "bulk discount" in the rate structure. Since the vast majority of electric production in the region is nuclear and coal-fired, the recent increases in the cost of oil and natural gas are not affecting our electric rates the way they have in areas that use natural gas to make electricity.

    If anything I find the slow-and-steady warm heat from a good heat pump at least as comfortable as the on and off cycling of a furnace.

  2. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    I got an Amana 92% (I think) Eff. furnace back in 2000. It's a dual fuel system and it runs on electricity until it drops below 40 degress or so outside, then switches to gas. It's been a pretty good unit. No problems at all.

  3. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
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    Thread Starter
    Good information guys. I am becoming more confident in the merits of a duel fuel furnace in the basement, but I'm a bit concerned about wyounger's statement that "It's easy to set up a heat pump in ways that don't produce good comfort, though, so it's no wonder they get a bad rap". Can you explain this further?

    I'm still apprehensive about an all-electric air handler in the attic. As stated above, I currently have one system controlling all 3 levels of of my home. If I install a duel fuel furnace in the basement with a heat pump condenser, then a new all-electric air handler in the attic with another heat pump, will the system produce good comfort? The only duct work changes suggested so far are adding another supply in an upstairs bedroom (hot spot) and a return in the upstairs hallway (of course the chase will be closed off between the main floor and attic). I'd hate to regret not installing a gas furnace in the attic. Any further words of wisdom?

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