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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2008

    Help on HVAC System in Central PA

    I am looking for insight into a new system for a 2550 sf house in central PA. The houes is 2 stories, with separate duct systems on each floor. First floor has low supplies and high returns in each room. Second floor has ceiling supplies and a central return also in the ceiling. Heat is currently electric baseboard, with 2 AC units installed in 1990.

    I'm wondering weather installing 2 heat pumps would be the best way to go, as having a gas line installed would be 2-3k additional, and all other appliances are new, and electric.

    I am considering Trane XR1r of XLi14 units, probably 2 ton on 1st floor, either 2 ton or 1.5 on 2nd (waiting for loand calc).

    My questions are:

    1. Do heat pumps provide sufficient comfort in this climate (lows often into the teens in January and February, even lower on rare occasions)?

    2. Would heat pumps be an economical choice?

    3. Are there better options than the Trane units I mention, given that heating is the primary concern here.

    4. Would a 1st floor gas furace and 2nd floor heat pump be a better option, even after factoring in the cost of the gas line?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Lancaster Pennsylvania
    You could always do both. Do a heatpump with a fossil fuel back-up. You will spend a bit more up front but that will be the most efficient and comfortable thing you can do. We have a lot of customers choosing that route right now. With the uncertainty of what gas and electric might do. Just make sure if you go that route that the contractor uses the Honeywell IAQ stat, it will give you the best control of the fossil fuel kit.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    You could always do both. Do a heatpump with a fossil fuel back-up.

    That was my initial plan, but adding an additional $3k to the cost of 2 separate systems (I need a separate system for each floor.) puts me significantly above what I'd like to spend - add the cost of dual-fuel on one or both units, and I'm not far from geothermal prices, which I would do if i could afford it.

    Thus, if heat pumps are be a good alternative, both with respect to comfort and economic efficiency, it would be hard to justify the extra $$ for gas.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    San Clemente, CA
    Dual Fuel sounds good. Keep in mind the outdoor unit (HP) will operate on heating demand and this could be at 4AM. Also heat pumps take a while to deliver heat when they first start up where as a gas furnace delays the fan so that the air is warm when the blower starts. I personally like gas heat but the Dual Fuel sounds good because you have to be able to afford to operate it.

    Use a Variable blower inside you will like it.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    DC Metro Area (MD)
    Usually heat pumps can provide comfort and be economical sources of heating. Key is having a good installation, sealing ductwork, etc. I'd certainly see them as an improvement over baseboard. I agree that adding around $5k for gas lines is hard to justify in the long run for adding (most likely) 80% AFUE gas furnaces. With all other appliances electric, it may not be the best for your return on investment, with rising fossil fuel prices in many areas.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    A heat pump with electric aux heat will work fine.
    With a VS blower, the slow ramp up will minimize the cool air that old ones had in teh beginning of the cycle.

    If you use gas as the aux heat. It could take 20 years to recover the cost of having the gas line ran. Since the heat pump has to shut down for the gas furnace to provide heat.
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