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  1. #1

    Furnace dead - Completely overwhelmed (Propane/heatpumps)

    So my old monster furnace is no longer safe to use. I'm in the process of getting quotes and as they start to come in the prices and options vary greatly. I have no idea if I'm getting fair offers or taken for a walk so I'm hoping for a bit of help.

    I have a 100+ year old home, about 4500 sq/ft total (3500 sq/ft conditioned space). My old system is oil, forced air through big leaky ducts in the basement.

    I want to move away from Oil, so I was thinking propane was the best feasible option available right now.

    Consensus seems to be that I need two units to handle my house, also that my duct work in the basement should be replaced.

    What kind of cost should I expect for this kind of job? Also, I was interested in a Heat Pump/Propane system for efficiency and air conditioning capability (which I don't have now). What should I expect for that?

    I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to this stuff and it's obvious to anyone coming to give me estimates that my current furnace is no longer workable so I'm really hoping for a bit of help from you kind folks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,127
    Propane most likely won't save over oil.
    Your location will be the big factor in deciding on a heat pump.
    2 systems are generally MUCH better in a big home.
    I would insulate/seal to the extreme.
    Have someone do a manual J.
    Tear out all the ducts and do 2 systems.
    Do not oversize the equipment.
    Find a GREAT contractor.
    "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

  3. #3
    Thanks for the response! Unfortunately, I have no heat so I need to move quickly. I'm located in the NY/NJ area.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    2,127
    The worst thing you can do is rush into this purchase.
    "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

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Northern VA 38 degrees N by 76 degrees W
    Posts
    5,062
    How is the air distribution in the house? You may be able to seal existing duct and go with heat pump with oil back up.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Suppy NC
    Posts
    4,517
    being from jersey a heat pump will serve you well since the average temp is 38* oil back up is a better option over propane IMO

    it is cold but try not to be pressured into something you may regret

    have found in a lot of cases that old duct work works great just needs to be sealed up at all the seams. those old guys in a lot of cases knew what they were doing when it came to ductwork

    if you realy want lp gas then go for it but check your prices and the cost of a tank large enough to handle the btu load

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    The South
    Posts
    2,240
    While not meaning to be argumentative, it is true propane normally tracks oil prices.

    However, oil comes from America's enemies while propane usually does not and most consumed here in the States is domestically produced.

    IMO

    Propane Production
    Most propane (also known as liquefied petroleum gas or LPG) consumed in the United States is domestically produced. It is a by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining, with approximately equal amounts of production derived from each of these sources.

    Source US Dept of Energy

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Suppy NC
    Posts
    4,517
    Quote Originally Posted by tigerdunes View Post
    While not meaning to be argumentative, it is true propane normally tracks oil prices.

    However, oil comes from America's enemies while propane usually does not and most consumed here in the States is domestically produced.

    IMO

    Propane Production
    Most propane (also known as liquefied petroleum gas or LPG) consumed in the United States is domestically produced. It is a by-product of natural gas processing and petroleum refining, with approximately equal amounts of production derived from each of these sources.

    Source US Dept of Energy
    propane 3 something a gallon oil 3 something a gallon so IMO the cost is about the same
    never been a fan of LP because of the pooling factor should a leak devolope but with daul fuel the operating cost will become much less for the most part even with the cold january weather

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    3,618
    In our area Propane is about 2 a gallon, while oil is over 3 and propane gives out about 2/3 of heat per gallon so actually about the same in price. Very hard however to find a 95% oil furnace and easy to get a good 95% propane furnace couple that with a dual fuel/hybrid heat pump system and you've got a pretty efficient system. IMO anyway. Get the right brand and you can also get lifetime unit replacement warranty (if compressor or heat exchanger ever fail) along with 10 yr. parts and 10 yr. labor warranties. If the sales folks "smell" that you are in a rush you may not get the best deal!! Our business will let you use a few temporary electric heaters until your unit is replaced. But that's just us. Who condemned the old unit? Are they the ones "bidding" on the new unit and has another firm confirmed their findings? Can't count the number of times we've found no problems with condemned units except unscrupulous service people (many times on a sales commission). Don't let yourself be rushed into anything!!! Get some temporary heaters (even if you have to buy them), and take the time to do this properly. Good Luck!!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    The South
    Posts
    2,240
    good advice by wahoo...

    BTW, what is your electric rate?

    TD

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Central Oregon
    Posts
    749
    Going with Wahoo on who condemned your furnace? I just went to put a bid in on a roof top unit change out. One company set the ball rolling on a replacement, another company looked at the unit and went with it. I was called to give a 3rd bid on replacement. I went up looked at the old unit got it up and running. It does need replacing but they now have some time to decide and get what they want.
    Get some temp heat, make an educated decission.
    I opt for heat pump with back up. I've seen good ol duct and bad ol duct. If its insulated check for asbestos.
    If you think our goverment is screwed up. You haven't lived in another country.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,841
    Attached are documents to take the puzzle out of who's telling the truth. Shop wisely and deliberately and you'll enjoy many years of comfort and efficiency. Make a snap decision under the pressure of no heat in your home and you're very apt to make a huge mistake. Rent a hotel room for a couple of days if necessary but take the emergency out of the equation. Make a good decision and you'll not regret it, ever.
    Attached Images Attached Images

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    greenville , sc
    Posts
    718
    Quote Originally Posted by Undeader View Post
    Thanks for the response! Unfortunately, I have no heat so I need to move quickly. I'm located in the NY/NJ area.
    you should check out the service provider map here on this site!

    wish you luck and happy hunting.
    catch a man a fish , feed him for a day.
    teach a man to fish , ruin a good business opportunity.

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