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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
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    New home owner - clueless about furnaces

    Hi all,
    I am hoping someone here can point me in the right direction.
    Background goes like this. Wife daughter and I just moved to central PA, bought a nice little house which needs a bit of work - furnace needs replacing, I think (though am not absolutely sure). We are from the UK and so know absolutely nothing about furnaces - I mean absolutely nothing.

    Heating in the house is forced air from an electric Whirlpool thing (I can get the model number if this helps). The furnace may be as old as the house (30 years? the house inspector said he had never seen one before) and the guy we got to come round and check things over said it would be very inefficient - big bills come winter. He has supplied a quote giving options for a propane (Trane XV95), a heat pump (Trane XR14) or a combination propane/heat pump (Trane XV95 with a Trane XB13).

    We are seeking quotes from other contractors of course but initially like the look of the Heat pump system. However, we have no background knowledge and so any quote we get will still pretty much be double dutch to us.

    What i was hoping for are some pointers about what kind of technical specifications we should be looking for. As I said the heat pump looks a good option (but of course having so little knowledge this is a fairly basic assessment - it may be better to go for something different I simply don't know) but don't know why we would be quoted for a XR14 rather than say an XL14i. I presume there are cost differences but we would want an efficient system (especially if it qualifies for an energy efficient rebate) over and above some moderate increase in price.

    I realise this is all a bit woolly and not very specific but hopefully if anyone replies it will help me narrow down my generalisations to some more pertinent questions.

    Many thanks in anticipation

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
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    beenthere will be able to give you some Pennsylvania help. He'll be along soon

    But I'd be leery of putting in LP. That stuff is EXPENSIVE to use, even with a 95% furnace. At least look at a heat pump outside. I'm not a Trane heat pump fan since their heat pumps (except the R410a XL15i) are lousy at heating. But beats using only LP. Might be wise to go heat pump and another electric furnace. Obviously the previous owners were doing fine with the old electric furnace.

    Reminds me of 6 years ago. Sis's Mom in Law married a Norwegian and after she lived there for a while, he retired and they moved here. I went over to explain to him about central heating and heat pumps!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
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    Get an energy audit from a "HERS" rater. This will help you prioritize your upgrades. An audit will compare your different utility costs and give you a better idea of what fuel to use. Also insulation and air sealing will reduce your heat load and you can reduce the size of your heating system. I believe PA has some new energy incentives, do some research. Dual fuel is good.

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