I'm looking to upgrade my orig equipment in a 1986 colonial. 2600 sf, plus some finished basement. 3 duct zones. One second level, 2 main floor. Going to supplement great room zone with a hitzer 503 coal stove fireplace insert. Currently have a 115kBTU furnace with 5 ton AC. Considering the Kerr furnace or possibly the Thermopride units.

Since I have ducted zones, I would think I should get a variable speed fan coupled with dual stage AC compressor and furnace to keep the right cooling/heating when one or more zones is closed, thus reducing the air flow that can go over the coil or HX.

I've read on this site that some have had good luck with heat pumps. I'd like to have a ground source unit that can give you a COP of 4, but the ground loop/wells are too expensive. If I go with an air source, I question if it's really worth it. I pay $.18/kWh here in Connecticut. Even with the COP of 4, the payback wasn't that great. With an air source, COP 2 to 3 is probably the best I could do, and that starts making oil still look comparable, even at $4.50 gal. Is anyone here in the same boat? Am I missing something here?

Finally, can anyone recommend a good contractor in the area, around Danbury, CT? I've heard some good results from folks on this forum, and I'm hoping for the same.