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  1. #1
    I too am trying to decide between a dual fuel system or heat pump only in the Shenandoah Valley of VA.

    I've read tons of posts here referencing this subject and still can't decide.

    Electric rates are low here in VA. Avg high temps in Dec, Jan, and Feb are around 40 degrees or so. Avg low around 20.

    This system is for a new home I have under construction. The home is 2700 feet on the ground floor with 1600 feet finished in the basement. This is a brick home and will be well insulated.

    Propane is the gas source available at the new home.

    Any help is appreciated. I'll be happy to supply additional info if needed and available?


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Rapid City, SD
    Since you're not really in a cold climate I'd go with just a heat pump. Maybe take the extra you'll save by not doing dual fuel and upgrading to a higher seer or variable speed air handler.

    With propane being your gas I would definately go with straight HP (with electric strips for back up heat). Propane is usually one of the most expensive gas's for heating a home.

    If you post some prices you pay for electricity and propane someone will surely run the numbers for you and give you a break down of costs.
    "If you call that hard work, a koala’s life would look heroic."

  3. #3


    Propane costs is about $2.40 per gallon.

    Here's all the info from my electric providers website.


    A. Distribution Charge
    1. Basic Consumer Charge: $ 13.76 per billing month PLUS
    2. Variable Distribution Charge:
    First 300 kWh @ 2.192 cents per kWh
    Excess over 300 kWh @ 2.076 cents per kWh
    B. Power Supply Charge PLUS
    1. All kWhs @ 4.377 cents per kWh

    For a grand total of about 6.5 cents

    Thanks again.

    BTW, is wyounger out their?

    [Edited by gooberjkf on 02-13-2006 at 02:24 PM]

  4. #4
    You was clearly directed to purchase a Heat Pump with electric back up here...

  5. #5
    Here is your post from this morning...

  6. #6
    Your post from this afternoon...

  7. #7
    I was hoping for more than one opinion, thank you.

  8. #8
    Originally posted by gooberjkf
    I was hoping for more than one opinion, thank you.
    If you'd be patient you will likely get some more feedback...

    Your first question was LAST NIGHT, your second post was THIS MORNING, and then you're all upset that you haven't had any more feedback yet this afternoon. So you make yet ANOTHER THREAD.

    Its MONDAY, a workday for most, if you'd be patient you will likely get more information tonight.

    I was planning on giving you some information myself, if you'd just sit tight!

    BTW, (no double posting, due to site rules

  9. #9
    Now, to your question.

    LP at $2.40 a gallon with a 90% furnace will cost $29.14 per MBtu.

    Electric strips at 6.5 cents/ KW will cost $19.03 per MBtu.

    HP with a COP of 3.7 will cost $5.14 per MBtu.
    HP with a COP of 2.8 will cost $6.80 per MBtu.

    As you can see, the HP will save you a great deal of money in operating cost. Even if you had to run straight electric strips, it'd be cheaper than burning $2.40/gallon LP.

    So, my opinion is to go HP with backup electric strips.

    Also, depending on several factors (weather, heat loss, insulation) you are probably not going to operate the strip heat very often in your area.

  10. #10
    My apologies. I didn't mean to imply that I was becoming impatient. I just didn't know what to expect in terms of reply posts. Further, I had noticed quite a few replies to other posts that followed mine, so I assumed that maybe I had done something incorrectly or perhaps this issue had already been beaten to death.

    Thanks for your help. It certainly looks as though straight heat pump is the way to go which is the way I was leaning already.

    Thanks again,

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    With those electric rates it would be a waste of money to get a duel fuel system.

    HP with electric back up.
    Contractor locator map


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

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    I live in VA and have a dual fuel system and love it. However, dont buy it becase you think its going to lower your operating costs. A straight heat pump will be your most energy efficient set up. The gas allows you to switch when gramma comes to visit.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Lebanon, TN

    Dual fuel

    Stritcly from an economic standpoint, a straight heat pump almost always wins. From a comfort standpoint, gas is usually the way to go. With dual fuel, though, you get both.

    I live in Lebanon, TN (suburb of Nashville). The climate here is similar to yours, maybe a tad warmer, but I have had a few nights in the single digits this winter. Low 20s have been typical. My temps are on average 12 degrees colder at night than inside of Nashville. My house was built in the mid-80's and is about 2300 sq. feet, 2 story, average insulation. I recently had a 4 ton Carrier "Infinity 13" 48XZ dual fuel package installed on my house (natural gas, 82 AFUE, 13 SEER, 8.0 HSPF). This thing is absolutely amazing. Flexibility is key to dual fuel. The thermostat that I used (Carrier Thermidistat) gives me control of temp and humidity (I also had a humidifier installed with the system), and it is fully programmable. An outdoor temperature sensor interfaces with the Thermidistat. I can program an outdoor temperature where I wish to disable gas heat, and another temperature at which to disable the heat pump. Currently, I use 10 and 25 degrees. The way this thing works is that above 25 it is strictly a heat pump (though gas heat during defrost cycles is also programmable if I wish). Below 25, it attempts to meet the demand with the heat pump first, then if the demand is not met in 15 minutes it switches to gas for the duration of the cycle. Below 10, it uses gas only.

    My point is that the system ends up using VERY little gas. Even at 20 degrees outside, the heat pump alone will maintain 72+ inside. The variable speed of the 48XZ really wrings the heat out of it. Usually, the only time that the gas fires up is if I increase the thermostat setting. Once the demand is met, it will then run heat pump only.

    This system has cut my energy usage literally in half versus the 17 year old clunker that was on my house when I bought it last year. My Jan. electric bill is under $130.00 (rates similar to yours, electric water, clothes dryer, water heater, etc), and used less than $20.00 worth of gas. I don't baby the thing, either. I usually set at 72-73 while I'm home so the wife doesn't complain about being cold. Compared to the old system $220 the previous month, while pinching pennies and freezing my butt off.

    Propane will cost you a little more, and the system will cost a boatload of money more, but the flexibility of dual fuel done right and the comfort that you'll get out of the system make it worth serious consideration. Being able to program exactly when you want the thing to use gas, you keep fuel costs to a minimum. Versus a straight electric system that cannot be told when exactly when to use aux. heat, I really doubt that the electric could save much money, if at all. The humidifier is a nice touch, too for the wintertime. In the summertime, the system's DE-humidification is programmable. Punch up the desired humidity on the panel, and it adjusts the house to it. Dehumidification can run independent of active cooling. Very slick.

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