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  1. #1

    Trying to upgrade, so confused

    I have an 1100sq ft house in a mild climate, Oregon. The house was build in 1974 and has the original electric furnace. Gas is not available on my street so electric is my only option. I wanted to upgrade the furnace to something newer and more efficient. I have gotten a couple quotes from local companies and they have no interest in selling me a new furnace. They both said that something new wouldn't be any more efficient than what I have now. They both are trying to sell me a heat pump system. I understand the benefits to this but I have trouble believing that electric furnaces of today are not more efficient than the 38 year old one that I have. Please advise, I am so confused.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Metro Atlanta, GA
    Posts
    475
    The only way you can get a significant bump in efficiency is to add a heat pump to your house. All electric heaters provide 3.414 BTUs per watt whether they are new or 25 years old. Both companies are correct in telling you that the only real upgrade is with a heat pump.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Location
    south louisiana
    Posts
    3,188
    is there some reason you don't want heat pump?
    The cure of the part should not be attempted without the cure of the whole. ~Plato

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    3,537
    Flyer is 100% correct. Only way to increase efficiency is to go with a heat pump system. On the average it would cut your cooling costs in half.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    SW FL
    Posts
    6,295
    Quote Originally Posted by studlyrs View Post
    I have an 1100sq ft house in a mild climate, Oregon.
    The house was build in 1974 and has the original electric furnace.
    ...
    They both are trying to sell me a heat pump system.
    ...
    Please advise, I am so confused.
    How many kwHr do you use each month?
    Electric use info for last 24 months (assuming you have lived there) should be available on-line from your utility.

    City?
    Mild climate but your heating season IS Nearly 8 months.

    Description: Fahrenheit-based heating degree days for a base temperature of 65F
    Source: www.degreedays.net (using temperature data from www.wunderground.com)
    Station: PORTLAND-TROUTDALE AIRPORT, OR, US (122.41W,45.55N)
    Station ID: KTTD

    Month starting HDD ______________ CDD
    10/1/2011 322 6.5% _____ _____ 1
    11/1/2011 601 12.1% _____ _____ 0
    12/1/2011 806 16.3% _____ _____ 0
    1/1/2012 766 15.5% AVG _____ 0
    2/1/2012 647 13.1% 643 _____ 0
    3/1/2012 643 13.0% _____ _____ 0
    4/1/2012 395 8.0% 77.9% 6 months 11
    5/1/2012 294 5.9% 90.4% 8 months 35
    6/1/2012 190 3.8% _____ _____ 43
    7/1/2012 78 1.6% _____ _____ 120
    8/1/2012 66 1.3% _____ _____ 190
    9/1/2012 142 2.9% _____ _____ 111

    ________ 4,950 _______________________ 511
    Designer Dan
    It's Not Rocket Science, But It is SCIENCE with "Some Art". ___ ___ K EEP I T S IMPLE & S INCERE

    Define the Building Envelope and Perform a Detailed Load Calc: It's ALL About Windows and Make-up Air Requirements. Know Your Equipment Capabilities

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    SW FL
    Posts
    6,295
    1,100 Sq Feet
    R-10 Walls R-25 Ceiling
    15,000 BTU/Hr at 30'F _ 43 million BTU/ Year
    < $300 / year electric bill
    with use of heat pump at $0.06/ kwHr

    Is that close to 1/3 your current expenses?
    Is that what you expect electric use will be with use of a heat pump?
    Designer Dan
    It's Not Rocket Science, But It is SCIENCE with "Some Art". ___ ___ K EEP I T S IMPLE & S INCERE

    Define the Building Envelope and Perform a Detailed Load Calc: It's ALL About Windows and Make-up Air Requirements. Know Your Equipment Capabilities

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    Savannah, Ga/H.H. Island, S.C.
    Posts
    1,490
    Electric furnaces (heat strip only) are very inefficient. Heat pump w/heat strips as a backup is your best option since natural gas is not available.

    Of course, you could use LP. That would require gas lines and a tank that would need to be filled regularly. Any natural gas furnace can be converted to LP with a simple conversion kit.

    You might want to research your local LP rates and compare them to electric rates and make an educated decision.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,179
    Stud, do you have cooling now or just heat?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Moore, Oklahoma, United States
    Posts
    4,292
    Quote Originally Posted by Brent Ridley View Post
    Electric furnaces (heat strip only) are very inefficient. Heat pump w/heat strips as a backup is your best option since natural gas is not available.

    Of course, you could use LP. That would require gas lines and a tank that would need to be filled regularly. Any natural gas furnace can be converted to LP with a simple conversion kit.

    You might want to research your local LP rates and compare them to electric rates and make an educated decision.
    LP has gone up so much that it's no cheaper than strip heat in our area.

  10. #10
    OK, I'll do my best to answer all the questions here.

    energy rater la--it's not that I don't want a heat pump, I just don't want to pay the increased costs. I am turning my house into a rental in the next few years.

    Dan sw fl--my heating is more like 6 months. The area you choose is a bit harsher that where I am. I live In Salem. I am a little confused at your other questions.

    Brent--I don't think LP is the best option for me.

    BaldLoonie--I just have heat now, no AC.

    I guess what I am struggling with is the investment in a heat pump. I have put myself into a position in my house where I can rent it out soon and be able to clear some money every month. I don't think adding a heat pump would increase my rent much, if any at all. I just wanted to upgrade my ancient furnace and I thought will all the advances in technology that something newer would have to be better than what I currently have. If it isn't then it would make more sense for me to use zonal space heating for the time being.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    Moore, Oklahoma, United States
    Posts
    4,292
    If what you have works leave it as-is for a rental. Electric furnaces are very simple and not much to go wrong. Sequencers are the main thing I see going bad on them.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Rochester NY
    Posts
    4,729
    What is the annual savings opportunity? Will that justify the investment?

    Will that, and the benefit of ac, increase the amount of rent you can demand?

    By how much? Will THAT justify the investment?

    I agree w 54, propane is NOT a good option, particularly in a mild climate.
    Which makes more sense to you?
    CONSERVATION - turning your thermostat back and being uncomfortable. Maybe saving 5-10%
    ENERGY EFFICIENCY - leaving your thermostat where everyone is comfortable. Saving 30-70%

    DO THE NUMBERS! Step on a HOMESCALE.
    What is comfort? Well, it AIN'T just TEMPERATURE!

    Energy Obese? An audit is the next step - go to BPI.org, or RESNET, and find an auditor near you.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    SW FL
    Posts
    6,295
    Quote Originally Posted by studlyrs View Post
    OK, I'll do my best to answer all the questions here.

    Dan sw fl--my heating is more like 6 months. The area you choose is a bit harsher that where I am. I live In Salem. I am a little confused at your other questions.
    I live in Salem also.
    Only a different one, S.C.

    Statistically, there is no difference between SALEM and PORTLAND.
    For one years data, Salem even has a slightly higher HDD than Portland ( post #5).

    5,000 HDD does not meet My Definition of MILD climate.
    A MILD climate would Not be a location _ where the HDDs are = 10X CDDs.
    Salem definitely has a long [ 8 months with > 300 HDDs] heating season with a lack of low temperatures.

    Description: Fahrenheit-based Heating Degree Days for a base temperature of 65F
    Source: www.degreedays.net
    Station: SALEM MCNARY FIELD, OR, US (123.00W,44.91N)
    Station ID: KSLE

    Month
    starting HDD _____ CDD
    10/1/2011 344 _____ 2
    11/1/2011 604 _____ 0
    12/1/2011 824 _____ 0
    1/1/2012 699 _____ 0
    2/1/2012 652 _____ 0
    3/1/2012 656 _____ 0
    4/1/2012 422 _____ 11
    5/1/2012 323 _____ 36
    6/1/2012 211 _____ 37
    7/1/2012 97 _____ 133
    8/1/2012 87 _____ 200
    9/1/2012 158 _____ 117
    ------- _____
    ___ 5,077 _____ 536

    Month starting HDD CDD

    _______ 5,077 ______ 536
    Designer Dan
    It's Not Rocket Science, But It is SCIENCE with "Some Art". ___ ___ K EEP I T S IMPLE & S INCERE

    Define the Building Envelope and Perform a Detailed Load Calc: It's ALL About Windows and Make-up Air Requirements. Know Your Equipment Capabilities

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