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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    40

    does a heat pump make sense in this situation?

    hi! evaulating options for installing central air, and was considering going with heat pumps (would have 2 systems installed so as to have zones and also to preserve closets in a 2-story + basement home, etc.) instead of air conditioning units. however, we live in connecticut with real (sometimes) winters and i've read that heat pumps are designed for mild geographies so wanted to check to see if this idea makes any sense. here's my logic:

    my current boiler (heating oil) is old and is definately going to go at some point, but i don't want to replace it yet. it works fine and let it go when it goes, right? but in order to extend its life and also reduce heating costs, install heat pumps instead of air conditioning units and use the heat pumps to heat the house except when cold enough (ie., below 40 degrees). i don't know the specs or the formulas, but i've heard that (at the right temps), heat pumps can be up to 10x more efficient than the boiler and although electicity is more expensive than heating oil (maybe 2x?), enjoy the efficiency of the heat pumps until cold enough during the winter and than switch on the boiler (which would also still be used for hot water purposes). finally, i hear that heat pumps cost maybe 10% more than air conditioning units, though again i don't yet know. i do recognize that the heated air from the heat pumps will be drier than from the circulating water from the boiler, but sounds like a good trade if cheaper to operate?

    any thoughts appreciated...thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    SW FL
    Posts
    6,295
    Quote Originally Posted by hmmm View Post
    hi! evaulating options for installing central air, and was considering going with heat pumps (would have 2 systems installed so as to have zones and also to preserve closets in a 2-story + basement home, etc.) instead of air conditioning units. however, we live in connecticut with real (sometimes) winters and i've read that heat pumps are designed for mild geographies so wanted to check to see if this idea makes any sense. here's my logic:

    my current boiler (heating oil) is old and is definately going to go at some point, but i don't want to replace it yet. it works fine and let it go when it goes, right? but in order to extend its life and also reduce heating costs, install heat pumps instead of air conditioning units and use the heat pumps to heat the house except when cold enough (ie., below 40 degrees). i don't know the specs or the formulas, but i've heard that (at the right temps), heat pumps can be up to 10x more efficient than the boiler and although electicity is more expensive than heating oil (maybe 2x?), enjoy the efficiency of the heat pumps until cold enough during the winter and than switch on the boiler (which would also still be used for hot water purposes). finally, i hear that heat pumps cost maybe 10% more than air conditioning units, though again i don't yet know. i do recognize that the heated air from the heat pumps will be drier than from the circulating water from the boiler, but sounds like a good trade if cheaper to operate?

    any thoughts appreciated...thanks!
    Dual Fuel set-up for CT should definitely be pursued.

    Life Cycle (installation + operating) costs can be easily evaluated and compared after a ACCA Manual J model of your house is developed.

    Oil _______ $ 2.80 / gallon for future years ?
    Electricity __ $0.16/ kwHr ?
    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

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    2,597
    For comfort, not energy costs, I would go with straight forced air cooling only and keep the radiant for heat. There is nothing better than radiant heat.

    When the old beast dies, replace it with a more efficient unit and water storage tank, in the end I think you will be happy.

    Good luck.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Wildomar Ca
    Posts
    221
    If you go with heatpumps you better have heat strips installed or you will be screwed if the temp drops to the upper thirtys.
    i agree with the preveus post nothing better then radient heat.
    Joe

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Gold Coast of Connecticut
    Posts
    4,586
    Quote Originally Posted by a/cpro View Post
    If you go with heatpumps you better have heat strips installed or you will be screwed if the temp drops to the upper thirtys.
    i agree with the preveus post nothing better then radient heat.
    Joe
    He is not going to be using the heat pumps in the 30's.

    I would do just as you say and lock out the heat pumps at 40 degrees.

    Great savings, i would install a small strip heater for defrost and maybe you could run them into the 20's.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Pa.
    Posts
    383
    I have an oil fired boiler in my home with cast iron radiators, and I have to admit, it is the best heat. I also have a York Affinity heat pump which I use until I feel it's not making enough heat - then I shut it down, and turn on the boiler. I have 5 KW electric heat used only to take the edge off during the defrost cycle, otherwise I keep it locked out, so it doesn't come on as auxiliary heat. The set up works great, and has saved me money.

    I didn't tie my system's controls together, but what I do is keep the boiler thermostats turned on, and set about 3 degrees cooler than the heat pump thermostat, so if the heat pump quit when I wasn't home, the boiler would kick in... York heat pumps never fail though.

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