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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    24

    Air source heat pump in Minnesota

    Hello, 1st post here, looking for a little heat pump help.

    Here's the situation: Have a very old gas (LP) furnace that should get replaced, house has no A/C, I live in Minnesota our electric company is offering low interest loans for people to put in a "dual fuel system". Have had 5 or 6 guys come give me a bid and about 1/2 say I would be crazy to not put in a air source heat pump the other 1/2 say I would be crazy to put in a air source heat pump due to how cold it gets here. I've done some research online and am still confused?

    Does an air source heat pump make sense efficiency wise in a cold state such as Minnesota?

    Thank you for any advice!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Joplin,Missouri
    Posts
    310
    The air to air heat pump would heat the house on milder days. When it starts to get below 25 or 30 degrees your gas furnace would kick in for back up heat. I would say in Minnesota most days of the winter you would be running gas heat. I would discuss it with a local proffesional. I'm a lot farther sout we use a lot of dual fuel here.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Maple Grove, MN
    Posts
    1,269
    It all depends on your price of fuel. For some who have cheap natural gas and/or expensive electric rates, a heat pump might not be worth it. Since you are running on propane, I would guess that a heat pump would save you money in the long run, especially if you are planning on getting air conditioning anyways. There are online calculators that can be found where you can input your price of electricity and gas to see what your payback should be.

    Either way, at the very least, make sure you are getting a 90% or better efficient furnace, if you can.

    By the way, what part of MN do you live in?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    24
    Quote Originally Posted by ammoniadog View Post
    It all depends on your price of fuel. For some who have cheap natural gas and/or expensive electric rates, a heat pump might not be worth it. Since you are running on propane, I would guess that a heat pump would save you money in the long run, especially if you are planning on getting air conditioning anyways. There are online calculators that can be found where you can input your price of electricity and gas to see what your payback should be.

    Either way, at the very least, make sure you are getting a 90% or better efficient furnace, if you can.

    By the way, what part of MN do you live in?
    Live in St Joseph

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Portland OR
    Posts
    1,975
    I show all parts of Minnesota have design conditions in the negative so an air source heat pump will not run much since most don't do well below the 20 degree range unless you put in an Invertor heat pump.

    I would highly consider a dual fuel ground source heat pump. In Oregon we put in a lot of ground source heat pumps even on 50X100 lots using horizontal or vertical boring and since your design temps are so low you could backup the ground source heat pump with LP. A GSHP currently has a 30% federal tax credit and costs about 1/4 of the cost of propane assuming $.10 per KWh and $2.25 per gallon for propane and can provide cooling and water heating
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Keokuk, IA
    Posts
    5,520
    What's your cost of LP? It might makes sense to go all electric and as mentioned above look at geothermal heat pump. You might consider the inverter driven units which have a lot more heating capacity.

    Otherwise look at a unit like a Carrier Greenspeed inverter driven unit that has good capcity at lower temepratures. Ye,s below 0F, you'll still be on the heat strips. But sometimes LP costs more than electric per BTU.

    Heat pump still work in colder climates. You still have a LOT of days where it's 10-60F and a heat pump will be dramatically more efceint in those conditions.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    The Quad-Cities area (midwest).
    Posts
    2,626
    A split system geo-thermal heat pump is a great option for your (unbelievable, how can anyone live there) cold winters. The 30% federal tax credit of the cost helps make it affordable. In my opinion, it really adds resale value to your home, particularly to all the tree hugging liberals in MN.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Location
    Northern Wisconsin
    Posts
    2,003
    I live in Northern Wisconsin and have a dual fuel system. 2 stage nat. gas furnace and 2 stage air source heat pump. The heat pump runs down to 15F. The biggest issue with the heat pump is wet snow building up on the fan blade when it's off. Just a matter of keeping an eye on it when the weather is such that it could cause a problem.

    Like everything else HVAC, it's all about sizing the equipment and associated ductwork. My HP will handle the house just fine at 15F outside temp. Coming out of setback the furnace will eventually come on, but once the house is up to temp it seldom runs.
    Use the biggest hammer you like, pounding a square peg into a round hole does not equal a proper fit.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Maple Grove, MN
    Posts
    1,269
    Quote Originally Posted by SkyHeating View Post
    I show all parts of Minnesota have design conditions in the negative so an air source heat pump will not run much since most don't do well below the 20 degree range unless you put in an Invertor heat pump.
    What does "design conditions in the negative" have to do with anything? I agree that a standard heat pump won't cut it at the coldest temperatures seen in MN, but what about all of the hours of the year that ARE above 20 degrees? Does Minnesota have less hours of the year between say, 20 and 65 degrees, than anywhere else? I would make a guess that an air-air heat pump, used only between 20 and 65 degrees outdoor temperature, would run more often in Minnesota than it would in milder parts of the country.

    This is only a guess, though, I have nothing to back it up with.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,875
    Quote Originally Posted by SkyHeating View Post
    I show all parts of Minnesota have design conditions in the negative so an air source heat pump will not run much since most don't do well below the 20 degree range unless you put in an Invertor heat pump.

    I would highly consider a dual fuel ground source heat pump. In Oregon we put in a lot of ground source heat pumps even on 50X100 lots using horizontal or vertical boring and since your design temps are so low you could backup the ground source heat pump with LP. A GSHP currently has a 30% federal tax credit and costs about 1/4 of the cost of propane assuming $.10 per KWh and $2.25 per gallon for propane and can provide cooling and water heating
    I would think that a GSHP would be able to provide 60% of his heating needs even at -20. So using electric resistance aux would be cheaper then using a LP furnace as back up/aux heat.
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,040
    If budget and land allow, certainly ground source. I have a friend north of the cities whose had a Waterfurnace since the 80s. But if budget and land don't allow, even an air source heat pump is a wise move over solely LP. Much of the winter isn't bitter cold so the heat pump would work out. The cool weather starts early but much of fall/early winter is mild enough and since cool weather lasts but isn't bitter cold, late winter/early spring is also great HP weather. Certainly can get really cold but it doesn't last all winter that way.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    24
    I would love to go ground source, but just not in the budget. I am feeling a little more comfortable with the air source after reading some of the responses. I appreciate it!!

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