Heat pump - all electric, no gas backup. OK for Delaware?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Hockessin,DE
    Posts
    88
    considering the rising gas prices...
    one of the contractors suggested going
    with a Heat pump - all electric, and air handler unit with a mini electric/backup burner - no gas backup.

    I'm also considering the same option - coupled instead with my current really old gas furnace as backup instead of a new one.
    any thoughts?

    would a completely electric system be warm enough for Delaware - which is moderately cold?
    are people going with this setup in the area?

    Total cost wise, a fully electric setup may be a really good option...
    If so what are the brands to consider?
    and any resale issues to worry about?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Derby City
    Posts
    3,958
    Why would you consider keeping the old furnace when you know about the anticipated increases in gas costs. I would definitely consider a dual fuel system but you certainly won't achieve the full benefit if you don't update the furnace. In your climate, I am assuming you have extended periods of heating when the temperature is going to be calling for the second stage, i.e. gas heat. You want to maximize the efficiency available. I also never heard of an 'electric...burner." The term burner somewhat insinuates combustion of some type. Total electric would not utilize a 'burner' per se.

    consider that if you go total electric, you're going to wind up replacing the indoor unit anyway. I would strongly urge you to consider the dual fuel approach. If you have the option of gas, I would be doing you a great disservice if I recommended straight electric, i.e. heat pump.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Hockessin,DE
    Posts
    88

    ok... now that I think about it

    keeping the old furnace as backup is going to be a bad idea.

    the "burner" i referred to was something of "toaster" type backup - according to the contractor...
    and it will be part of the indoor unit.

    in DE it does get cold in the winter - temp of 10 - 25F are common during Jan/Feb with wind chills of around 0-5F.

    So a pure heat-pump solution is off the table?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    7,680
    straight hp's are fine in DE. You may see occasional 15-20 but the lions share of time its higher.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    7,680
    You know, while this topic is up, maybe someone can pull a bill. I cant right now.

    A gas bill is made up from several charges, only part of the bill is for actual gas usage, there are other fees like transmission and I dont know, taxes. If the cost of gas goes up say 25%, it really should only affect the gas part of the bill. So if my hypothetical math is correct....

    Lets say the actual gas part is 60% of a 100.00 bill. or 60 dollars. (40 for the other stuff). add a 25% increase to the 60 and you get 75. 75+40=115. So really even though gas goes up by 25%, it may only mean a 15% increase.

    Correct me if Im wrong, I dont have a gas bill to look at.


  6. #6
    Don't forget to add the extra cost from taxes.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,042
    A heat pump with electric backup will do fine in Delaware. Average lows in January in Dover are in the 20s. We'd better know more about the electric rates there before recommending an all-electric system, though!

    Wind chill is not relevant to a heat pump. It only cares about the temperature.

    Doc, your hypothesis works, but it's not necessarily such a linear relationship. In Georgia, it's about $20 a month to have gas service- covering the cost of the meter, reading the meter, printing the bill, etc. Some of distribution is in the flat rate, and some is in the per-therm rate. If you get a $50 bill, it's about 60% gas and taxes and such. If you get a $200 gas bill, though, it's more like 90% gas and taxes.

    The increase won't matter much in mild months, but for the folks I know- who have typical 15-30 year old houses in the Atlanta suburbs with 80% gas furnaces- it's going to hurt. I know lots of people who were paying $200-300 a month to heat 1700 square foot houses last winter, and we're looking at rate increases more like 30-80%, depending on how you gambled our crazy gas market.

    The story with gas is certainly going to vary from state to state because of how the utilities regulators in each state seem to have their own way of doing things.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Hockessin,DE
    Posts
    88

    Utility rates in DE

    Utility rates in DE
    Electric
    Distribution : $0.029040 per kWh
    Supply: $0.055870 per kWh
    Transmission: $0.007884

    Gas:
    Distribution: $0.358170 per ccf
    Supply: $0.859170
    Env. Surcharge: $0.000830


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