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  1. #1

    Hybrid Heating units

    I am in the process of replacing the AC and furnace in my house. I live in Nothern Virginia. The contractor I have contacted are pushing this type of unit, a hybrid heat pump (HP with a gas furnace back up for temp below 40 degrees). I have looked at carrier, Trane and Lennox. I would like to know if anybody has any experience with these units and their performance.

    Also, all have indicated that I should go with a 80+ furnace because a higher efficiency unit, 90+, will require a new PVC exhaust. Does it make sense to go with this hybrid unit with a 80+ furnace?

    Any advice will be welcome.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    In the work truck
    Posts
    2,990
    Here in new jersey we install mostly 95% hybrid systems. the rebate from the gas comp. for the high eff. help our customers decision if you have the ability to go with the 90 go for it. think about it this way with a 80% unit, 20% of the heat made goes outside. compared to a 90+% less than 10% of the heat goes outside. your purchasing the hybrid to save money so why not go with the more eff. furnace. now on to the second part of the question. brands are not that important. i would be more concerned to go with a reputable company. one who will do the proper load calculations to size the units correctly and install the unit properly. one who has highly trained service techs, that way they are there when you need them. hope this helps. good luck

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    PA/DE area
    Posts
    1,535
    If you can vent it,go with the better heater. You are not doing it twice and fuel is not getting cheaper.
    It's NOT the BRAND,it's the company that installs it!!!!!

  4. #4
    I understand that the 90% are more efficient but the contractor in this area seem reluctant to deal with it. I have talked to four different contractor and all say the same, that the cost difference, couple of thousands, is not worth the savings and that it will take a long time to recoup the investment. in addition, the new furnaces exhaust is too acidic and that they will need to replace exisitng exhaust and replace with PVC. My guess is that they are are afraid their customer will balk at the expense of installing a new exhaust.

    Since the furnace will be a backup to the heat pump, is really a good investment to go with the 90% or are they right and is not worth the money? I am incline to buy the more efficient unit but now I am having second thoughts since all the negative comments. Now I am confused.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Rochelle Il / Chicago
    Posts
    169

    I have a dual fule or Hy brid

    I recomend you do the system, only people who are afraid of heat pumps don't recomend them. Look at the Carrier web sight and see what you think. I live in chicago { ok, Rochelle } out on the corn feilds. High winds and cold. This winter I saved about 750 $ Electric bill went up about 200 $. Do the math. This system may cost litle more the conv. But total system pay back with utilty savings will be twice as fast. Meaning youll save lotts.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    In the work truck
    Posts
    2,990
    you are going to need to find out what is best for you situation. i wont say you need to buy the more efficient furnace but in my experience they are nice in this area. assuming you don't have a heat pump now, adding that alone you should see a difference in you total fuel costs.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Wisconsin
    Posts
    1,125
    A contractor not trying to push a 90% + furnace in a colder state? That's a new one. A high efficiency furnace/ heat pump combo will be expensive up front...but you'll burn very little fossil fuel.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    134
    The 90% furnace may never pay for itself. If the system is designed right, the furnace will run only when absolutely needed. That may only be 20% of the time. Even though the furnace is more efficient than a standard furnace it's run times are reduced. Break even may be years after the furnace's average life span.

    Your furnaces estimated run time will have to be calculated to make that decision. The 40 degrees that they are mentioning is where they are planning to set the Outdoor Thermostat. Be aware that this sounds like they are using an arbitrary number. A full set of calculations has to be performed to know where to set the outdoor thermostat to save the most money. Every house is different and therefore require different OD Thermostat settings.

    Has anyone performed a Manual J sizing calculation to know what size equipment your house actually needs?

    You are paying money to install a system that will save you money on utilites. You need to find a contractor that has the knowledge to perform these calculations.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    The Twilight Zone
    Posts
    2,964
    Quote Originally Posted by HomeowneNOVA View Post
    I am in the process of replacing the AC and furnace in my house. I live in Nothern Virginia. The contractor I have contacted are pushing this type of unit, a hybrid heat pump (HP with a gas furnace back up for temp below 40 degrees). I have looked at carrier, Trane and Lennox. I would like to know if anybody has any experience with these units and their performance.

    Also, all have indicated that I should go with a 80+ furnace because a higher efficiency unit, 90+, will require a new PVC exhaust. Does it make sense to go with this hybrid unit with a 80+ furnace?

    Any advice will be welcome.
    Your climate is perfect for a heat pump w/gas furnace back-up (also called dual-fuel or a hybrid). Your winters are not brutally cold.

    I think you have cheap electricity.

    What is your cost of natural gas ($ per therm)?

    If you go dual-fuel, the gas furnace will be used a back-up or when the heat pump goes into defrost, so you don't "have" to get a 90% furnace (unless the furnace is propane, then get 90+ for sure). This depends on gas price and furnace usage. 40F is a little high for the switch-over setpoint. Your balance point might be 32F or less depending on home construction.

    Good luck.

  10. #10
    Don't get me wrong I think the Hybrid Heat pump is a good idea for this area, Northern Virginia. What I was having doubts is the insistence of the contractor to use a 80% furnace as back up heat.

    The gas rate here is as follows:

    1st 25 therms -$.46
    next 100 th - $.29

    On average, in winter, I use about 150 therms per month. I have asked the contractor about doing a Manual J calculations and most do not like the idea. they just want to replace what is there with the same or bigger unit. I guess I need to continue looking for the right contractor.

    Right now I am leaning towards a Hybrid HP with dual speed and variable speed fan with humidity control.

    Thank you for your comments.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,770
    Unless your electrric rate is like $0.01 per KW, a HP isn't going to save you much with those low gas rates.

    Whats the rate after the next 100 therms.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    PA/DE area
    Posts
    1,535
    Sound GREAT for those Humid days ahead
    It's NOT the BRAND,it's the company that installs it!!!!!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    northern mass
    Posts
    411
    I find what you said to be a clear indication that they work out of the back of a pickup. What HVAC contractor would have a negative approach to more efficient equipment ? Or running a new flue.....what is he....lazy ? 40 degrees ? The whole thing sounds off to me. I would dismiss the company and opt for one that is more in tune with their trade.
    I only try to be the best.....though i'm not......but in my efforts to be, I hope to learn and achieve more than most !!

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