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  1. #1

    Convert oil to propane and update?

    I have a 23 YO two story home in SE PA, about 4000 sq ft. Currently serviced by two 3 Ton carrier heat pumps. I am new to the home (and the area), so I have no idea how it performed last winter.

    The upper unit (in the attic) uses strip heaters for second stage heat. The lower unit (in the basement) uses fuel oil for second stage heat. The lower unit works great (heat and cool). The upper unit, not so much, but I'll address that in a separate thread.

    The chimney sweep has indicated that my chimney (for the fuel oil) is not in good shape and needs to be lined, to the tune of about Removed. I've also discovered that fuel oil is about Removed, while propane (which I require for other appliances) is about Removed. I know propane has less energy than fuel oil, but that the furnaces may be more efficient, and require less maintenance.

    So I'm considering replacing the lower system from HP + fuel oil to HP + propane with direct vent. I figure this gives me a Removed "advance" on a new system, by NOT spending it to line the flue, which I won't need with a direct vent unit.

    The outside unit (a 697CN036) is about 12 years old. The inside unit appears to be original (though I did not check the coil). While it all works fine, it's not exactly new.


    The HVAC company I called gave me several options -

    #1 25HBC536A + CNPVP3621A + 58MVC080-14 + Infinity Stat
    #2 25HCB636A + CNPVP3621A + 58MVC080-14 + Infinity Stat
    #3 25HNB636A + CNPVP3621A + 58MVC080-14 + Infinity Stat

    He also mentioned combination #1 with a 58MCB080-12 or #1 with a 58MEC080-12 when I asked how often the propane would even be running with the HP.

    I don't want to drop to the 80% furnace, because I don't believe they are direct vent, and them I'm back to the same flue problem.

    I am NUTS for wanting to convert from fuel oil to propane?
    Do I need a variable speed fan?
    Do I need a 2-speed heat pump?
    Should I just fix the dang flue and live with it for now?
    Last edited by HeyBob; 10-10-2011 at 04:57 PM. Reason: Removed Pricing

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
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    25,659

  3. #3
    My apologies. I had removed the pricing for all of the HVAC options.

    For some reason, I am unable to edit my original post to remove the fuel pricing and flue lining pricing.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    25,659
    Doesn't look edited from here. If you can't get it figured out, a mod will be by to edit those prices out.

    Next thing you need to think about is your long range plans for the home.

    Are you planning on living here for years or for a short term, then moving?

    If you're planning on staying, then investing in the most efficient system you can is probably your best bet because you have the ability to recoup the investment in energy savings.

    Heat pumps are a good idea because it is more efficient to move heat than it is to create it.

    Hard to advise on fuel choice because changing prices are difficult to predict.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    25,659
    One of the biggest thing to remember is that INSTALLATION is more important than brand.

    Having a system sized properly for the home and a duct system sized to handle the correct amount of air for the system will save you money in operation costs and possibly repair costs over the life of the unit.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by jpsmith1cm View Post
    Doesn't look edited from here. If you can't get it figured out, a mod will be by to edit those prices out.

    Next thing you need to think about is your long range plans for the home.

    Are you planning on living here for years or for a short term, then moving?

    If you're planning on staying, then investing in the most efficient system you can is probably your best bet because you have the ability to recoup the investment in energy savings.

    Heat pumps are a good idea because it is more efficient to move heat than it is to create it.

    Hard to advise on fuel choice because changing prices are difficult to predict.
    It's not edited, because the board is not allowing me to edit my posts.

    I plan to be there for 10 years. I understand that the more efficient the system, and the longer I'm there, the more I can recover. And I get the benefits of heat pumps - not questioning that. The system is heat pump now, and I plan to keep it heat pump. The question is stage 2 heat being oil or propane, and comments on the proposed configurations for my use.

    Thanks

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,023
    Propane may be cheaper than oil, but it ain't cheap.
    I would get a heat pump system installed by some who knows how to minimize back-up heat usage if you don't have access to natural gas.
    "Hey Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort." And he says, "there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice. - Carl Spackler

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Rochester, MN
    Posts
    5,304
    Check with your electric company, They may give you a break doing duel fuel (LP back up w/ HP)


    Also, don't understand why LP/Oil price had been removed? I don't think that an issue, the install price, yes I understand.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by mayguy View Post
    Check with your electric company, They may give you a break doing duel fuel (LP back up w/ HP)


    Also, don't understand why LP/Oil price had been removed? I don't think that an issue, the install price, yes I understand.
    Yea, I didn't get that either. I knew there was no pricing per the forum rules, but assumed that was with respect to HVAC systems.

    I need to validate with the electric company - but I believe since this is an all electric house (other than downstairs second stage heat) that it qualified for special electric rates in the winter. They are offering rebates for heat pumps of a specific efficiency rating.


    2old2rock - yes I know propane isn't cheap either. Nothing is!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Rochester, MN
    Posts
    5,304
    My parents has a HP w/ LP back up, and the electric company put the HP on it's own meter and gave them half off on the electric rate on the HP itself.

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