Hello all I have been reading on here for months trying to decide what to do with our heating situation.
We live in far eastern TN near Bristol, our heat pump seems efficient in the summer and until temps drop under 30-35 for long periods of time. We usually keep it about 68 to 70 in summer and for economy have been at 66 this winter. Our power bill jumps from average of $110-$150 from April til September then November to March it averages $320-&500 depending on temps. Our electric rate is .09/kW and have propane for fireplace, stove, and grill and supplier is about $2/gal when I checked two weeks ago. We are not going to be in this house long term but I am willing to make some investment to be comfortable in the winter months for the next few years. It seems if can utilize some existing equipment it could be a rather quick return on investment.
Our house is not huge about 2000 square feet but it has a large living room with 20ft ceilings(recently doubled insulation in attic to R40 celloulose). Only rooms that are ever really comfortable are Master bedroom (shorter vaulted ceilings that are pretty well insulated) and upstais bedroom/bath which are open to livng room, but they are hardly ever used and are warm because of heat loss from living room. To further complicate things I am in the process of finishing the basement and will add approximately 1300 square feet with only back wall and half of sides underground. Also recently discovered that the inept builder did not use house wrap and lacked any real care with sealing in general so I imagine the heat loss will be very high. I am continuing to improve insulation/sealing issues as I have time.
Current system is a 7 year old Rheem HP RPNE-048JAZ (R22)and RHLA-HM4821JA with electic Aux strips not sure which ones with 2 zones with Digitract 4 2 to 4 zone controller model DTHP4A. I noticed system also has a bypass damper installed from supply back to return. Also DMW is supplied by two 50 gal electric in series and the energy guide sticker on side says cost of over $500 per year for each.
I would like to implement a propane aux whether it be by using a gas water heater(can be tankless or traditional) with hydronic coil in place of heat strips or going with a gas furnace with coil and utilize existing Rhemm outdoor unit either way. If go hydronic probably size to could add radiant in under about 900-1000 sq ft but from my estimations probably a answer for next house not a retrofit?
Any input would be greatly appreciated, I am tired of blankets in the living room or turning on fireplace to look at while it just heats the upstairs for one of the cats.