Heating, Air Conditioning, Fridge, HVAC/Heat pump and electric furnace
Hi, I am in southwest Pennsylvania and have a 2-story 2000 sq foot (plus 1000 sq foot unfinished basement/garage) home with forced-air oil furnace and 10 SEER central A/C (both 15 seasons old). Due to the SIGNIFICANTLY high cost of oil (paying $3000+ to heat our home each winter), I am looking at replacing A/C with a heat pump (13 or 14 SEER, or higher). Also considering replacing the furnace with an electric furnace, which is the decision that is holding me from moving ahead. I had been told over the years to avoid electric, but since oil has increased 6-fold! I believe electric is now in play. I guess I need to somehow calculate the cost for 1. heat pump/less oil/somewhat higher electric bills vs 2. heat pump/electric furnace/no oil/much higher electric bills vs 3. current oil furnace. Gas is not a choice since no gas lines are nearby, otherwise I would have a gas furnace and not be asking these questions. I currently pay 4.99cents/Kwh thru Sep 2014, though that will likely go up in the future. Should I or should I not be concerned with big spikes in my electric bill, and also about whether the 2nd floor will be as warm in the winter with an electric furnace and as cool in the summer with a heat pump. Advice and/or recommendations, please. Thanks! John.
I live in New England and understand your situation. I have baseboard hot water oil heat boiler and I use my Heat Pump on warmer days. If your duct work is set up to be zoned ,I would consider zoning each floor and install a oil fired furnace with a heat pump split system like you currently have. ( yours being A/C only ) have an outdoor sensor/thermostat with an adjustable controller ( which is located indoors ) set it for say... around 40 degree. anytime your outdoor temperature is above 40 the HP runs only, below 40 degree the oil comes on and HP shuts off, all the while your indoor blower motor stays running ( as long as your calling for heat ) I would get a furnace with a Energy Efficient blower motor non variable speed but get a multi speed blower. Saves a couple bucks over a standard motor. Heat Pumps do not put out real warm air temperature even in the best of conditions. Something to consider if going with a Hybrid or electric furnace HP combo. If going with electric furnace, on bitter cold days you'll be running on 2nd stage electric a lot along with the first stage HP. .Things to consider ,if you go with a electric furnace, you will need to increase greatly the wire size feeding your furnace and increase the breaker size(s). Depending on what size heating element your residence would need. Example a 20 KW heater at 240 volts draws approx.80 amps. A 10 KW draws 40 amps. One standard refrigerator runs at approx. 5 amps.. Me personally I would stay away from electric. The system I'm referring to is called a hybrid system or dual fuel, which have been around for decades. Pretty much all manufacture have them. In the old days they were called fossil fuel kits. Sounds more greener calling them hybrids now.
In closing I would zone your house ( if ductwork allows ) probably would need to install a bypass duct if zoning two or three zones. A oil furnace with a EEM ( Energy Efficient Motor ) if price is right compared to standard blower motor. And a 13-15 SEER Heat Pump ( rebates may apply if over 14.5 SEER ) check with your state and federal rebate. An outdoor temperature sensor kit to switch from HP to oil or vise versa.
At one time “Fossil Fuel” (a.k.a. Dual Fuel) kits were the only choice for dual-fuel operation. These kits were a bit bulky, inflexible and not installer-friendly. But new thermostat and equipment technology have evolved to make dual-fuel set-up easier to install and manage. The contractor simply installs a compatible, programmable thermostat featuring dual fuel mode and an outdoor temperature sensor on the heat pump. The installer or homeowner can enter the “set-point” in the thermostat, which becomes the trigger temperature to change from electric to gas heat. The dealer should be able to provide the most efficient “set-point” based on the system’s capacity, efficiency and regional climate requirements. During heating season, when the outdoor temperature falls below the set temperature for the heat pump, the system will switch over to gas furnace heating. The above is from a Nordyne website. works on oil system also. Sorry I made a mistake on the Amp. draw a 5 KW draws 20 amp. a 10 KW draws 40 amp. A 15 KW draws 60 amp. A20 KW draws 80 Amps. A lot of $$$$$$