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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    coastal georgia
    Posts
    102

    nat gas or heat pump, or?

    I was planning on a late fall install of a complete new system including duct. The more I learned here the more I figured I better continue the education before making a $ decision.
    I have a 3 ton AC with nat gas for heat for 1400 sq ft . I was planning on going straight heat pump with 10kw of strips. After a few conversations I am thinking I need to reconsider dumping the gas. The heat is the only thing I use gas for and I like the fact that it blows hot air when it runs. Are heat pumps better at blowing warm air at lower outdoor temps than say 15 or 20 years ago?
    Where I am located it rarely goes to freezing(yesterday and today it was low 70s and wet/humid). I guess it freezes in our area a couple of times a year, but the dog water at my house hasn't frozen in 3 winters.
    So, please render some opinions on keeping the gas heat, going straight heat pump and strips, or some combination.
    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Grottoes VA
    Posts
    5,856
    If you are on TVA and have a low electric rate, I would go with a straight HP. I have a straight HP and it always gets below freezing here and have no problems with it. My Mom has a time share in the Poconos and all the units had HP's in them and they worked fine.
    Karst means cave. So, I search for caves.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    38
    From my experience most people I have repaired heat pumps for that have had gas heat do not like the heat from heat pumps. Here in Cali. Electricity is more expensive than running gas so most prefer gas. The OSA temps you are describing would not be much of a problem…a little but not much. Good luck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    coastal georgia
    Posts
    102
    I should know my electric rate, but don't. I am on Georgia Power for electricity. I will try google, but if anyone has a link or can comment on what is considered inexpensive electric rates please post.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2002
    Posts
    327
    It all depends on your utility rates. Today's high efficiency heat pumps are FAR superior to the old ones.

    You can also go dual fuel and have the best of both words.

    Your contractor should have all the details, if he doesn't you need another contractor

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Grottoes VA
    Posts
    5,856
    Quote Originally Posted by 7echo View Post
    I should know my electric rate, but don't. I am on Georgia Power for electricity. I will try google, but if anyone has a link or can comment on what is considered inexpensive electric rates please post.
    Look at your electric bill, if it doesn't tell you straight out what the rate is divide the bill total by the KW used.
    Karst means cave. So, I search for caves.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    The South
    Posts
    2,209
    7echo

    First choice would be straight HP with var speed air handler and two 5 KW heat strips that are staged.

    Second choice would be HP paired with 80% AFUE var spd gas furnace. Keep in mind this will be more costly to operate and you will rarely use it.

    Find out your electric rate and ask utility if they offer special electric rate for winter HP heating.

    Get a load calculation and have ductwork thoroughly inspected.

    Today's heat pumps are vastly improved from any over 10 yrs and older.

    Get a system with minimum 15 SEER and 9 HSPF efficiency rating.

    If you elect straight HP with strip heat supplemental, your HVAC dealer will need to verify whether electrical panel will need to be updated to handle the strip heat load.

    See link for fuel comparison calculator below.

    IMO


    www.warmair.com/html/fuel_cost_comparisons.htm

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    coastal georgia
    Posts
    102
    Sorry for the confusing post about electric rates. My avg from April thru November is approx. 9 cent/kw hour. How does that compare nationally?
    From what I have read in this thread and searching, I think a HP with strips will work fine. I have enough electric capacity.
    I need all new duct work-the existing duct was sized for an oil burning furnace removed in 1988 for the current AC/nat gas set up. The return air just roars. One of the main reasons for this project is comfort, including noise reduction. The problem is the space for the gear makes it difficult to get 2 90 degree bends prior to the fan. Current set up the 14" x 24" return shoots about 14" thru plenum box into fan, and the thing is sitting on the floor. Current unit is 3 tons.
    I have talked with a lot of AC people and gotten 3 quotes. No one mentioned a Man J, they want to go back with existing after asking if it is cool enough in the summer and warm enough in the winter. I plan on doing HVAC Calc myself. My AC runs short times even on the hottest days so I think I am over capacity. Coupled with the fact that I just replaced all my old alum frame single pane windows with insulated vinyl I will be surprised if I need the same amount of cooling/heating. The old windows would sweat like crazy-on the inside in winter and outside in summer. No problems like that with my new windows. I told one contractor that I was upgrading the windows and he said I would still need the 3 tons.
    My original choice was Bryant HP with vari speed fan, Evolution control, and non-communicating outdoor unit.
    I guess I need to interview a few more contractors but doubt if any in my area will meet the strict requirements on quality installation I read about here : )

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