I have only been in this house since July 2004. I had duel fuel at my last place also so I was familiar with it.
Both of these systems had "issues".
They could have qualified for the wall of shame. The previous owner/builder of the house had spent a lot of money on what was 2 top of the line systems at the time which was HP's and condensing furnace's for aux heat.
They were never installed right and had never worked right since new. Of course the home owner had no idea they were getting almost no benefit from the extra money they spent. The home stayed warm, thats all they knew.
Thats how my quest began and I decided to replace rather than invest any more in the old ones.
I had the old systems last winter and even though I did rig the controls to use the HP's as much as possible I used way too much propane.
I spent many hrs researching and ended up with the Carrier Infinity systems and elec aux heat.
I am very hard to please but I am very pleased with these systems.
Well, looks like you've reconfirmed what I had decided earlier. That is, to stay with the HP and electric as opposed to propane. I'll still need propane for unvented gas logs and the generator, but it sounds like electric for the heat pump is the way to go.
I'm fairly confident that this setup will be the most economical, my only concern was the air temp coming out of the supplies. Most contractors around here really preach that as the main reason to go with propane as the secondary.
How many people sit on the registers? Or for that matter can even feel the air moving? I know I have to get my hand very close to the register to even tell if there is any air moving at all let alone the temp.
I have had contractors and even the owners of fairly large dealers tell me that HP's need shut off any time it is below 40 deg and all kinds of other myths. You can ask 10 dealers the same question and get 10 different answers. This is why I did my own research. In the end the facts will only support one conclusion.
Yea, there seems to be a lot of confusion and differing opinions on the issue.
It's interesting, the other day, when my hvac estimator visited the jobsite with the installation supervisor, one preferred electric the other propane. Again, the one that preferred propane talked about the warm air issue. I asked why that matters since most people don't stand over registers, then he described air movement from register to return and how the air will feel cold and make the house feel drafty. Again, his opinion.
At this point, I'm comfortable with the electic backup. It helps to see that you've had first hand experience with the system that I'm going with and similar climate.
Perfect example, 2 guys, same company, completely different opinions. And they are only an opinion. They would really hate to let the facts cloud the issue.
Don't get me wrong I do understand the "comfort" issue but I get comfort from knowing I am being as efficient as possible.
I also understand the concept of humidity and its effect on comfort which I think is a much bigger issue than the supply air temp of a HP.
I choose to use a stand alone humidifier instead one mounted to the HVAC system. I also use a water softner which really improves the life of a humidifier. I have never seen a humidifier on the HVAC system that was more than a couple yrs old that was not a mess with calcium etc.
Then let the 2 sp cond unit and VS air handler do the dehumidifing.
The air movement of 100 cfm supply ,creates 10 to 20 times that amount of movemnet in the space,at much lower velocity of course.
This can give the "cold blow" effect when the electric heater it cycled off,and the pump is still on.An Infinity system will bring on "less" auxillary heat and keep it on much longer,negating the up and down of the supply air dischare temperature found in many other set ups.
Yes I agree that the way the Infinity/Evolution controllers work when using the KFCEH heater elements is top notch. Comfortable!
I see no way that anyone who has ever had a properly sized, matched, installed HP system that is functioning as per design could complain about the "cold air".
I think the home owners that say "I would never have a HP again" never had a properly functioning one to start with.
And I think that is true in about any climate in the US.
If done right you will like it.
The one thing I'm not concerned about is my HVAC contractor. He has an impeccable reputation for doing things correctly and is very meticulous. One of my best friends is a superintendent for a large residential builder and he uses the same hvac contractor for all of their work. He speaks very highly of this contractor as well.
The house will have a 2.5-5 ton unit installed with 3 zones on the main level and 1 zone in the basement area. I feel very confident that the system will be installed correctly.
Thanks again guys,
I really appreciate all the help.