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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
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    Richmond VA
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    New Oil Furnace, or Replace with Heat Pump?

    My fairly ancient oil furnace broke this weekend and I am left wondering if I should replace the oil furnace with a new one, or just replace my heat with a heat pump system?

    I live in Richmond VA, so winters are cold but not extreme, but it does freeze. Our current setup is:

    - oil furnace (broken, and pretty ancient - think they said we burn at least a gallon an hour of run time)
    - baseboard radiators (water)
    - electric hot water heater (i think with furnace hot water backup as well?)
    - older air conditioner unit and blower
    - house does have ductwork throughout, except in the unfinished basement where the furnace currently is and some exposed pipe (not really insulated in there either)
    - no natural gas available to the house sadly
    - 3 story home (partial underground basement that is half finished and half unfinished), about 2400 sq ft

    We have been considering getting a heat pump one day as our oil costs have been really high each year, but are now forced into making a decision as the furnace has broken. I have some folks coming to assess my home and make some recommendations this week, but wanted to ask around as well.

    Basically wondering if it makes sense to just ditch the oil furnace and get a heat pump with electric coils (?) as an additional heat source for when its super cold, or replace the broken oil furnace with a more modern one?

    My thoughts are that our AC and blower are also pretty old so a heat pump make might sense since it would update our AC as well, thus possibly saving us money year round? Realistically, we cannot afford a new furnace and a heat pump system at the moment, and ideally I'd prefer to move away from oil eventually. Though, open to thoughts on that as well.

    Appreciate any insights into this, and please let me know if I missed any relevant info. Thank you!!

  2. #2
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    If you are heating with water and have radiators, you do not have a furnace, ( Implying that you heat air and that is blown through your house as scorched air) but what you imply is a boiler that heats water which then is pimped through your house and heats up the radiators that heat your home, what make and model is your heating unit???


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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    New England
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    Look into Hybrid Heat, in your case a warm air furnace ( oil ) and a Heat Pump. Below a certain OD temperature the system switches to oil, above the setting it switches back to Heat Pump.

    You mention you have ductwork and your A/C unit is old. Worst case you can install the cased coil on top of the oil furnace ( remove coil ) and run straight oil through the winter, then spring time you can purchase to OD section Heat Pump and have them hook it up, once coil is reinserted.

  4. #4
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    Oct 2019
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    Richmond VA
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    Thread Starter
    🤦*♂️ yes, correct. A boiler not a furnace. Sorry about that.

    It's a New Yorker FR-122-W.

    There's a longer story as to why/how it is dead. Basically, leaky water pump (years if not decades before we bought the house) has corroded the pipes coming from the boiler. Water pump is broken, but all who have seen it say near impossible to get the pump off without breaking all the corroded pipes. And if that happens probably not possible to fix, or potentially very costly. Waiting on a final quote as to if if it might be possible to fix, or even worth the cost if so..

    Thanks!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
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    Richmond VA
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by Bazooka Joey View Post
    Look into Hybrid Heat, in your case a warm air furnace ( oil ) and a Heat Pump. Below a certain OD temperature the system switches to oil, above the setting it switches back to Heat Pump.
    Yeah, I think that is our ideal scenario. But at this point that would involve replacing the boiler and adding a heat pump, which we can't afford at the moment..

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by cupps View Post
    Yeah, I think that is our ideal scenario. But at this point that would involve replacing the boiler and adding a heat pump, which we can't afford at the moment..
    You can add the Heat Pump section in the spring time, and run straight oil, as you have been doing already, the cased coil can be purchased and mounted the same time as the new oil furnace. You can even remove the coil, as they just slide in and out.

    Oil furnace are so simplification in design, they last a long time, you even said you have a ancient boiler. It will out live a complicated Heat Pump. The oil furnace sits in a dry warm location, whereas the HP sits outside in all weather conditions and extremes, a lot of parts are functioning while running, and also during defrost compared to a furnace. Chance of having future service calls $$ will be higher with the HP.

    Anyway that’s my worth. You can do whatever you want, as you did ask for options..

    I added more info in post 3 after you already responded.
    Last edited by Bazooka Joey; 10-20-2019 at 05:49 PM.

  7. #7
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    Oct 2019
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    Richmond VA
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    Thread Starter
    Thanks, appreciate it. This is exactly the kind of info and ideas I'm looking for as I don't know a lot about all the options.

    So, in one sense it sounds like replacing the oil boiler with a newer one will potentially be easier and cheaper to maintain, and potentially outlast a heat pump. This is all great info to know.

    We had always been thinking about possibly replacing the aging AC system with a heat pump when it needed an upgrade in the future, and keeping the oil as the backup heat. Granted, that was before the boiler it broke and we were not thinking about the cost of both systems. haha. But it sounds like a good long term plan might be to replace the oil boiler now, get us back the heat we are used to, and then one day add in a heat pump.

    If they tell me boiler burns about 1 gallon an hour of run time, can I expect a new boiler would be a significant improvement over that? Our biggest issue with oil right now is our run cost, last year we spent $3k on oil! That just seems insane to us long term...

  8. #8
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    Aug 2002
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    Southold, NY
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    Look for Thermo Pride for the furnace!

  9. #9
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    Jan 2014
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    New England
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    Quote Originally Posted by cupps View Post
    Thanks, appreciate it. This is exactly the kind of info and ideas I'm looking for as I don't know a lot about all the options.

    So, in one sense it sounds like replacing the oil boiler with a newer one will potentially be easier and cheaper to maintain, and potentially outlast a heat pump. This is all great info to know.

    We had always been thinking about possibly replacing the aging AC system with a heat pump when it needed an upgrade in the future, and keeping the oil as the backup heat. Granted, that was before the boiler it broke and we were not thinking about the cost of both systems. haha. But it sounds like a good long term plan might be to replace the oil boiler now, get us back the heat we are used to, and then one day add in a heat pump.



    If they tell me boiler burns about 1 gallon an hour of run time, can I expect a new boiler would be a significant improvement over that? Our biggest issue with oil right now is our run cost, last year we spent $3k on oil! That just seems insane to us long term...
    http://www.thermopride.com/products/oil-products/

    Maybe your boiler is a lower efficiency than the newer units.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    SW FL
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    Quote Originally Posted by cupps View Post
    Thanks, appreciate it. This is exactly the kind of info and ideas I'm looking for as I don't know a lot about all the options.

    So, in one sense it sounds like replacing the oil boiler with a newer one will potentially be easier and cheaper to maintain, and potentially outlast a heat pump.
    This is all great info to know.

    We had always been thinking about possibly replacing the aging AC system with a heat pump when it needed an upgrade in the future,
    and keeping the oil as the backup heat. Granted, that was before the boiler it broke and we were not thinking about the cost of both systems. haha.

    But it sounds like a good long term plan might be to replace the oil boiler now,
    get us back the heat we are used to, and then one day add in a heat pump.

    If they tell me boiler burns about 1 gallon an hour of run time, can I expect a new boiler would be a significant improvement over that?

    Our biggest issue with oil right now is our run cost, last year we spent $3k on oil!
    That just seems insane to us long term...
    Oil Use is Just INSANE Short Term.!..!! & Long Term.!..!!...!!!
    given YOUR Heating Oil cost & Richmond climate IMO.

    Your wish to pay MORE THAN 3 X for Oil versus a Heat Pump needs to be reviewed and verified.
    _______________ R.O.I. = 3 to 4 years

    3,960 Heating Degree Days in Richmond __ ASHRAE DATA.

    The Time-Weighted Average C.O.P. for a 2-stage Heat Pump needs to be calculated
    based on Richmond VA area TEMPERATURE BIN DATA and the selected Heat Pump.

    HSPF = 3.412 * Time-Weighted Average C.O.P.

    ACTUALLY, YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO
    NOT PURSUE A NEW HEAT PUMP.

    My gmail address: racingdan11

    35,600 BTU/HR @ 22'F Design Temperature needs to affirmed as applicable to Your House.

    Oil Pricing:
    Reference -
    ________ https://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/Le...RS_SVA_DPG&f=W
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Designer Dan
    It's Not Rocket Science, But It is SCIENCE with "Some Art". ___ ___ K EEP I T S IMPLE & S INCERE

    Define the Building Envelope and Perform a Detailed Load Calc: It's ALL About Windows and Make-up Air Requirements. Know Your Equipment Capabilities

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    SW FL
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    Is your electric rate actually < $0.12 / kw-hr ?

    https://www.electricitylocal.com/sta...inia/richmond/
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Designer Dan
    It's Not Rocket Science, But It is SCIENCE with "Some Art". ___ ___ K EEP I T S IMPLE & S INCERE

    Define the Building Envelope and Perform a Detailed Load Calc: It's ALL About Windows and Make-up Air Requirements. Know Your Equipment Capabilities

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    SW FL
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    Are you paying close to 4 X the anticipated operaintg cost of a new Heat Pump?

    $0.111 / KW-HR

    __ Oil ____ Heat Pump
    $3,036 versus $ 758
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Designer Dan
    It's Not Rocket Science, But It is SCIENCE with "Some Art". ___ ___ K EEP I T S IMPLE & S INCERE

    Define the Building Envelope and Perform a Detailed Load Calc: It's ALL About Windows and Make-up Air Requirements. Know Your Equipment Capabilities

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
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    Do they make a boiler? That is what he needs.

    Quote Originally Posted by pecmsg View Post
    Look for Thermo Pride for the furnace!
    PHM
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