I have a home in central MD with an oil-burning furnace heating system for the 1st floor of the house. Heat is delivered via hot water baseboard heaters located in all rooms. We do not have access to natural gas. Last year, I replaced all the original builder-grade windows with Energy Star rated, low-e, argon-gas filled Viewpoint windows.
The furnace is pretty old (30+ years) and I'm going to need to upgrade it before it fails. I also have an underground storage tank I'm not fond of, and rising oil prices with unstable future costs have me thinking about other options besides oil as my fuel source.
I do like the baseboard heaters and I like the efficiency of using water instead of forced air. I would prefer to keep this component of my system.
I like the idea of geothermal but the upfront costs worry me.
My question to the community is what do you think about an air-to-water heat pump system to provide heating and hot water through the existing system? Are there models out there that can achieve the water temp necessary for heating in winter? Would I need a supplementary system for a few months out of the year? What are the maintenance needs of a system like this? I like the idea of using air instead of oil and think I could capture some efficiency. My electric costs are pretty reasonable (8.5 cents/kWh supply). I'm currently burning about 1,000 gallons oil per year for heating and hot water.
Trying to understand the pros and cons to make an educated decision. Also thinking about propane furnace instead of oil because of commodity costs and efficiency. Open to other heating technologies as well.
I appreciate any feedback. Thanks!