Hi Everyone -

I've recently purchased a home where the previous owner had only air handlers with strip heat installed. I can't imagine why.

It's a big place (4700 sq. ft) in Bend, Oregon, which has a climate roughly similar to Pendleton, OR (I think). I ran heating comparisons on

http://www.hvacopcost.com/

using data I think is representing the latest/greatest - I tried to compare a 9 HSPF heat pump system to a 95% AFUE natural gas furnace, and the calculator indicates a savings of the furnace vs. the heat pump of $3874/yr. Could that be right?

I've been talking with several HVAC contractors here, many whom have recommended heat pumps, but I can't get anyone to help me estimate the estimated yearly costs of HPs vs. furnaces. There seem to be a lot of folks excited about heat pumps - the DOE (energy.gov) and others.

It's a very mild summer here, so the cooling of the heat pump doesn't excite me much. That's what ceiling fans are for.

Complicating matters is that to install a furnace, we'd have to pay to extend the gas main up to the house - this could cost several thousands of dollars. However, my primary concern is the marginal costs, including utilities and expected maintenance.

My questions are these -

1. Do the comparison numbers seem accurate to the pros on the forum?
2. Am I missing something about heat pumps - much of the info on the net, and my local HVAC guys seem to think they're great even in a climate like Bend... but we spend quite a bit of time at or below freezing (it's not like MN or MT, but still).

Thanks in advance, all. Much obliged.

Nathan