Heating, Air Conditioning, Fridge, HVAC/Gas furnace

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Question
I am replacing a 30 year old heat pump system with a gas furnace/ac system. I live in zone 4 (southern VA). The most difficult thing for me to decide after getting educated on the many options is whether to go back with dual-fuel gas furnace / heat pump or just gas furnace / ac. The opinions are split down the middle from my contractors and I would just like to get some feedback from someone who isn't trying to sell me something. It's obviously a huge investment and we want to make sure we make the most economical choice. I know gas is cheaper than electric right now but there is of course the initial expense and other equipment issues to consider. (We are already using gas for a water heater so it's an easy install for that part of it.) We know we want to use 95+ AFUE and 15+ SEER on the equipment so if you could shed any light on single-stage burner vs 2-stage and single-speed motors vs. variable/multi-speed we would be most appreciative. The recommendations are all over the place. Hard to sort through the hype. We don't mind spending the extra money on options if they are really helpful with efficiency. Priced Trane, Lennox, Carrier, & Rheem. Thanks in advance!

Answer
Hi Greg, Good question! Are you using natural gas or propane? Have any of the contractors mentioned a Manual J (heat load calculation)? All the units you mentioned are good units, so I would go with the contractor you feel most comfortable with. The contractor is the most important part of your decision.

If it was my house, I would stick with the heat pump. Heat pumps are well suited for zone 4. I would use gas as the backup heat. Most of my customer's have heat pump's so I might be a little bias. In my house I have a heat pump with electric backup. I don't like to use electric for backup, but my only option is propane. With the price of propane now I am sticking with electric.

I would go with the 2 stage gas valve and variable speed fan. The comfort level in your house will be much improved. Make sure they install a 2 stage thermostat.

Heating, Air Conditioning, Fridge, HVAC

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Jim S.

Expertise

I can answer questions on gas or electric furnaces, ac units and heat pumps. I don't work on boilers,chillers,or home appliances.

Experience

I have been in the HVAC trade for over 35 years. For the past 15 years I have owned my own business. I am semi-retired so I can answer questions in a timely manner.

Education/Credentials
I attended trade school for 5 years on weekends and evenings. This was very hard to do, but well worth it!

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