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  1. #1

    Heat Strips vs Propane

    My parents need to replace their oil furnace and are considering a heat pump.They live in a 2500 sq ft well insulated home and are on a low fixed income.They are considering a heat pump with heat strips vs propane back up--- in the mountains of NC with 4500 heating degree days,electric rate of 10 cents KWH and propane at $2.79 gallon (natural gas not an option)---any thoughts on the most economical choice for back up heat going forward would be much appreciated.

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
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    68,048
    Electric resistance heat is still cheaper then propane at those rates.

    So a heat pump with electric aux heat would make more sense.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Middle Tennessee
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    11,347

    *

    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    Electric resistance heat is still cheaper then propane at those rates.

    also they won't have the added expense of a dual fuel system!



    .

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    41
    Look into whether or not their local utility provider offers a discound for electric only heating. Here in philadelphia, for the 6 heating months, PECO offers approx 50% off of your electric rate after you pay full rate for the first 600 KW/H. Tope of the Elec bill shows residential electric type R.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Keokuk, IA
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    5,520
    Quote Originally Posted by Airmechanical View Post
    also they won't have the added expense of a dual fuel system!


    .
    I was under the impression that a 80% furance was about the same price as a air handler with heat strips... Setting aside the cost of typing into the homes gas lines, vs. the cost of an additonal electrical circuit and breaker.

    I know you can't really compare 2 quotes in 2 different homes, but I beleive hte installation requirements were similar and a co-worker got a quote form the same company, same size, same outdoor unit and it was actually slightly higher than my quote wit ha 80% furnace. I believe I have more ductwork modifications as well.

    In NC< I'm not sure you gain anything from a 95% furnace... unless the heat pump is 4 tons or more, you can then qualify for the tax credit with the furnace.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    The Twilight Zone
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    2,964
    Quote Originally Posted by weather777 View Post
    My parents need to replace their oil furnace and are considering a heat pump.They live in a 2500 sq ft well insulated home and are on a low fixed income.They are considering a heat pump with heat strips vs propane back up--- in the mountains of NC with 4500 heating degree days,electric rate of 10 cents KWH and propane at $2.79 gallon (natural gas not an option)---any thoughts on the most economical choice for back up heat going forward would be much appreciated.

    Thank you
    Compare the cost of 1 million btu's:

    Heat strips with electricity at 10 cents/kw-hr delivered price:
    1,000,000 btu / 3414 btu per kw-hr x $.10 per kw-hr
    = $29.29

    Propane at $2.79/gallon, 80% efficient furnace
    1,000,000 btu / 91,000 btu per gallon x $2.79 per gallon / .8
    = $38.32

    Propane with 95% efficient furnace:
    1,000,000 / 91,000 x 2.79 / .95
    = $32.27

    The heat strips cost 24% less to run than the 80% efficient propane furnace for the same 1 million btu's.

    With heat strips, the heat pump can run in conjunction with the strips. The heat pump cannot run when the propane furnace is running.

    Good luck.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Mount Holly, NC
    Posts
    3,185
    to add in to this discussion. I am pretty familiar with the heating area in NC, oil is the standard there. I have to agree, electric is far superior to propane. I HATE PROPANE!!!. when it's cold propane doesn't flow. NOBODY buries propane tanks anymore... be sure that whoever installs the system, puts adequate strip heat in, because, the heatpump will not have many hours of the day, that will put out much heat.
    also, be sure that the electrical service to the house can handle the load of the electric furnace you would be adding.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    95
    Quote Originally Posted by vstech View Post
    to add in to this discussion. I am pretty familiar with the heating area in NC, oil is the standard there. I have to agree, electric is far superior to propane. I HATE PROPANE!!!. when it's cold propane doesn't flow. NOBODY buries propane tanks anymore... be sure that whoever installs the system, puts adequate strip heat in, because, the heatpump will not have many hours of the day, that will put out much heat.
    also, be sure that the electrical service to the house can handle the load of the electric furnace you would be adding.
    I'm just a little north of you and my strip heaters have only ran when it was in defrost, except for a couple of times this winter when it was below 20 degs. My HP puts out a lot of heat almost all winter, not sure where you got the couple hours a day thing.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    The Twilight Zone
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    Quote Originally Posted by vstech View Post
    ... be sure that whoever installs the system, puts adequate strip heat in, because, the heatpump will not have many hours of the day, that will put out much heat.
    Confused with your comment.

    Here is temperature output data for my 3-ton, R22, 9 HSPF Goodman heat pump based on 70F return air temperature:

    Outdoor--------Temp after
    Temp-----------indoor coil

    55F--------------103.7F
    50F--------------101.5F
    45F--------------99.1F
    40F--------------97.1
    35F--------------95F
    30F--------------93.4F
    25F--------------91.6F
    20F--------------89.9F
    15F--------------88.1F
    10F--------------86.2F
    5F---------------84.4F
    0F---------------82.6F

    Take care.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Mount Holly, NC
    Posts
    3,185
    what I mean is, the homeowner is elderly, and used to OIL. in the mountains of NC, it's quite breezy, and gets quite cold. Oil vent temps are routinely 140+ agreed, I am making some assumptions here, but if it's an old house, with old wiring, an electric furnace puts demands on the house it may not be ready for electrically speaking.
    also, heat pumps are sized for the AIR CONDITIONING load, and it's quite cool in the summer in the mountains. just pointing out the difficulties of heating an older house that the occupants are used to oil heat. unless large electric strip heat is included, it's not going to match what the old oil furnace put out... comfort.

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