Help me decide, please. Do I "upgrade" or keep my old system?
Hello, all- I'll warn you in advance that this is a little long. Hard to sacrifice accuracy for brevity. I could really use some 2nd opinions from the experts willing to read this!
Thanks to a wealth of info here I've narrowed down my choices considerably. I would very much welcome a few 2nd opinions before I commit to some big $$. I'd like to make sure I am getting more than just different color equipment should I commit to a 5 figure check! But first, some background:
My home is a +/- 2800 sf colonial located about an hour N of NYC. It's got 9' ceilings downstairs and an open foyer. I use about 850 gals annually of oil inclusive of a Bock oil fired water heater. I "guesstimate" my HVAC electric usage at about $1400/year. Thus, with oil at $4.75/gal I spend about $5500/year for oil & elec to heat/cool my home.
Only one dealer, a Carrier one, would do a heat calc. so far. Nobody wants to do them it seems or prefers to guess. He estimates a max heating load of 69000 Btu and 56,000 for cooling. You can see why he feels the Williamson is way too big.
Williamson WHBO-12A oil burner- forced air. 140K BTU input using a 1 gal per hour nozzle. Per the Mfgr I cannot install a smaller nozzle even though a few contractors suggested such, as all feel the system is oversized. 9 years old
Lennox HP-29 5 ton heat pump set to "changeover" at 45 degrees. Lennox tells me it can go lower, to about 25 or so. Also 9 years old. 7.2 HSPF, 10.7 SEER with with high/low cops of about 2.9 and 2.18 respectively.
Carrier Infinity 25HNA960 A 30 5 ton, 2 stage heat pump. About 14-15 SEER for a 5 ton unit, 9 HSPF and high/low cops of 3.38 and 2.6.
Carrier 58VMR120-20 oil burning furnace rated at 83% AFUE
The Carrier dealer estimates I'd use a total of about 450 gals per year in total with this, as he feels my Williamson is very oversized. If he is right, I would use about 400 gals LESS, or 400 in total.
The same Carrier Infinity 25HNA960 A 30 5 ton, 2 stage heat pump. About 14-15 SEER for a 5 ton unit, 9 HSPF and high/low cops of 3.38 and 2.6.
Carrier 58MVC100-20 propane burning furnace. 95% AFUE
Total estimated propane use: 460 gals including hot water (280 without) even though I don't yet have a propane water heater & would need a propane tank.
Lennox XP14 single stage heat pump 15 SEER, 9 HSPF
Lennox 023V Oil furnace
I am not impressed with this quote as they say I "don't need a 2 stage HP since the air handler could meter the air. I told him this sounded like running your car flat out at all times & using your brakes alone to vary speed. Didn't seem like a good idea.... Also, this guy didn't think he needed a heat calc & wanted to go by square footage alone.
Do nothing except lower the changeover point on the old Lennox to, say, 25 from 45 and leave the Williamson oversized.
So, what does the collective wisdom here say or think? Sorry for the length, but for those that do slog through all this BS I am most appreciative. The Carrier guy seems straight, but like the others, light on work and looking for more. They are all hurting, it seems. I don't mind layout out the $$ if I'll see a real payback within, say 5 years or so.
Seems strange that you have a heating load of 69,000 BTUs, and a cooling load of 56,000 BTUs.
I didn't think you had such hot weather up that far. I would have thought your winter was more extreme then summer.
A. Look to see what improvements you can make to your house in the way of insulation, air tightness, maybe better windows.
B. Average house hold uses about 275 gallons of oil a year for hot water. So that means you currently use about 575 gallons for home heating with your current dual fuel system. A higher efficiency heat pump, might knock 100 gallions off of that. And maybe another 15% reduction on your electric bill.
C. Propane could cost more then oil. Find out all charges before switching. If you rent the tank, you pay rent per gallon you use.
D. Setting your current HP lock out temp lower, may save you almost as much as a new high efficiency heat pump on your heating bill.
E. Setting your HP lock out lower, will prevent some of your current furnaces short cycling that is costing you money with that high lock out temp.
On the hottest days, does your current HP cycle on and off, or run continuously and not maintain set temp?
Whats your electric rate. Including all transmition charges, and taxes.
what to do
First thing i'd like to say is williamson telling you, you cannot lower the sizing of your oil nozzel in that furnace is BS. with a little adjusting to the size of your blower drive pulley and over the fire draft, you can do almost anything. Another thing I wanna tell ya, is about propane. Propane is absolutely devestating to the burners in any gas furnace. It causes the burners to rust and flake apart about 3-4 times faster than natural gas. When these burners rust and flake apart, there burn pattern is no longer efficient and also causes premature failures to high efficiency secondary heat exchangers. So in other words, I wouldnt recommend the propane. Not seeing the job with my own 2 eye balls, I can't tell you exactly what I think would be best for you, but I will tell you what I recommend as far as equipment thats gonna give you the most money savings along with the most comfort. With a large home in up state new york I can only imagine how brutal the winters must be. Up to this point you have been spoiled from the nice warmth only an oil fired piece of equipment will provide. I recommend a Thermal Pride oil furnace because of its great reliability and performance. Matched with that system, I recommend a 14 SEER Carrier R410-A Puron heat pump. This unit will not require variable speed and you be able to set change over temp for heat pump lower, down to about 35 degrees and get pertinant heat from it unlike r-22 that realistically can't heat your home lower than 40 degrees ambient. I'm only recommending this from my experience due to the fact that, one, I believe the propane will not deliver the comfort your looking for in the winter, and whats the point of higher effeciency equipment if you keep turning it up because your still cold and it runs constantly. Plus this set up is much cheaper than what your looking to spend. KEEP THE OIL, JUST GET NEW PROPERLY SIZED.
OPTION Five would be to spend your money on insulating your home first ! Do everything to bring your heating & cooling load down ( You didnt say how old your home is ) Than think about going all ecectric / heat pump ! A well insulated house will save you money and give you more comfort than just doin a heat load and sizing your equipment to a loose house . Bob h
My avatar is a picture of a Goodman Silencer .....These were commonly used in Goodman country ....Photos by hvac tech ( PaysonHVAC )
Originally Posted by hvacguru69
An R22 HP with an output of 36,000BTUs at 35° will heat the same as an R410A HP with a output of 36,000 BTUs at 35°.
I'm with been & Bob
I was suspicious of the "guessed" calcs. For a northern climate, if the loss is only 69K, I'd be very surprised if you need 5 tons of cooling. We probably are in a similar climate, though probably a bit warmer in the summer and milder in the winter. The average 2800 sq ft house that can heat on 69K probably needs no more than 3 ton cooling. So before going on with your plans, somebody needs to accurately calculate these things!!! For $50 you can do it too, click HVAC-Calc on the menu bar at the top.
I would think the new oil furnace would be similar in efficiency to the WHBO. So buying a new furnace may not gain you in oil savings much. Sure being closer in size would do a little but not that much. An variable speed blower would help on the juice bill and boost the SEER and HSPF by a bit.
Bob has the best idea. Keep the heat in the house in the winter and the heat out in the summer. If 2800 sq ft in a mild climate really does need 5 ton, you got way too much heat coming in.
What. When I said it, it wasn't a good idea.
Thanks for responding and thanks for taking all the time for getting through this. Extremely appreciated. I figure these same issues are affecting many others as well. Allow me to "fill in the blanks":
Originally Posted by beenthere
Thanks and oops- Should have added the home info: It's 9 years old (m)
Originally Posted by bob hubbard
The house is 9 years old, w R19 walls, R30 attic (I'll likely add another layer this fall when cooler) and with Anderson low E double paned windows. Can't really add more insulation except to the attic, although we could look harder for leaks, etc. This was the first thing I looked into, but forgot to mention it.
Too true, BaldLonie. Only one guy would do an actual heat calc. Frustrating.
Thanks for the input. You can see why I am so confused! I'll fill in a few blanks:
Originally Posted by BaldLoonie
At your oil and electric rate.
Your current heat pump, at its low COP.
1,000,000 BTUs oil $41.40
1,000,000 BTUs HP $20.20
Definitely set the lock out lower if you keep your current system.
Like others said, you may be oversized for cooling. A properly sized (or slightly undersized) unit will do a better job at removing humidity. I'd recheck the cooling load calculations.
Originally Posted by jws3
I will ask him to do just this, but must add such is why he suggested a 2 stage unit.
What you says makes sense, which is in part why the gentleman suggested a 2 stage unit, which would go into high gear, so to speak, only when needed. Trying to force a 5 ton load into only have the house via one of two zones seems inefficient. I liked this man's suggestion of a 2 stage unit since the lower stage would act as a smaller unit which more suitably fits the most common situation of only 1 zone calling at a time.
Originally Posted by aadam21