Rethinking Heat Pump
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Bucks County, PA
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    86

    Rethinking Heat Pump

    I recently had a new Carrier Infinity 2 stage Heatpump installed which works great in both summer and winter. Variable speed air handler is quiet and comfort mode works great tempering the air temperature in winter.

    My problem is the letter I recently recieved from PECO stating that my reduced rate for electric heating will be disappearing over the next couple of years.
    I have gas available at the street now and was wondering if there is a gas fired boiler that is direct vented with PVC that I could use to heat hot water and also feed a coil that could be installed on top of air handler. Air handler is located in closet and I currently have a electric hot water heater in area under stairs behind wall where air handler.

    Would a boiler with coil be an efficient dual fuel setup and does anyone make a boiler that could be direct vented out side of house?

    Thanks

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
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    What's your electricity rate?

    If it's above 6-8 cents per kwh, a gas boiler will save you a lot on supplemental heat and water heating.

    Whether it's cost effective is another question.

    With a hydronic coil downstream of the evap coil, you'll still be able to utilize the heatpump.
    General public's attitude towards our energy predicament: "I reject the reality of finite resource depletion and substitute it with my own; energy is infinite, we just need an alternative storage medium to run the cars on. The economy can grow indefinitely - we just need to "green" everything! Technology is energy! Peak what?"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,829
    Yes, there are many, many boilers from many different manufacturers that are direct vent Category IV units, vented with PVC pipe.

    I'm not entirely clear on why you would go from a heat pump to a boiler however. Have you considered replacing the indoor unit with a multi-stage gas furnace and coil? It's an option you might like to include in your list.

    The issue of a boiler is that operationally you'll lose some comfort. In order for the hyronic coil to produce sufficient heat, it will be generally hotter and the heating cycles shorter than with a multi-staged furnace properly sized. Our company does both types of dual-fuel/Hybrid Heat systems and we generally will recommend the multi-stage furnace over hydro-air every time. I do realize that you're trying to preserve use of the indoor unit for which you paid good money but personally, I believe it to be a better move to go to the multi-staged furnace. It will integrate directly with your heat pump and provide the same or better comfort as you've achieved with the heat pump alone.

    For boilers, you've got the choice of many but among the larger manufacturers are Lochinvar, Triangle Tube, Viessmann, Buderus, Weil McLain, Burnham, Dunkirk, LAARS, as well as many others. If you do decide to go with a boiler, please be certain the installing company does a full load analysis on your home and is very familiar with the boiler they're proposing. Different boilers have their strong points in different areas and one boiler is not necessarily the right one just because a company has installed many of them. Each job is unique and should be treated as such.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
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    If the air handler is replaced with a furnace, the heatpump won't be useful below the balance point.
    General public's attitude towards our energy predicament: "I reject the reality of finite resource depletion and substitute it with my own; energy is infinite, we just need an alternative storage medium to run the cars on. The economy can grow indefinitely - we just need to "green" everything! Technology is energy! Peak what?"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,588
    Post your electric and your gas rate.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Bucks County, PA
    Posts
    86
    Beenthere - Currently my electric rate is about 10 cents. It is about half of that in heating season but that is going to disappear over the next 2 years. Not sure what the gas rate is hear. Going to call PGW on Monday to find out cost of getting gas from street and current supply rate.

    Skippedover - My thought was that I could put a small boiler as a single addition to both replace domestic electric hot water heater and provide a hot water coil for supplemental heat. My Carrier Infinity Heat pump is only a few years old and I do not believe I would have the room to run venting for both a tankless hot water heater and a furnace.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
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    How much of the heating season is spent below the balance point?

    The savings may not justify the expense of getting a boiler.

    Might want to consider just switching the water heater to gas.
    General public's attitude towards our energy predicament: "I reject the reality of finite resource depletion and substitute it with my own; energy is infinite, we just need an alternative storage medium to run the cars on. The economy can grow indefinitely - we just need to "green" everything! Technology is energy! Peak what?"

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