Gas furnace vs. Electric Heat Pump?
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  1. #1
    Registered User blitzen's Avatar
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    Default Gas furnace vs. Electric Heat Pump?

    We currently have a 50+ year old oil furnace. We have decided it's time to replace it and are trying to decide on whether to replace with gas or go with a heat pump.

    Price-wise, they come out to about the same, since we don't have a gas line to the house we will have to pay for that on top of the cost of the furnace installation. Either way, we are looking at between $5-6000. Ouch!

    I've used gas heat before, but have no experience with a heat pump so I don't know how to compare them and figure out what would work better for us. Any insight? If you have a heat pump, what do you like/dislike about it? If oil wasn't so expensive, I'd just replace it with an oil furnace, but I am afraid of what the price per gallon is going to be this winter. Plus, if we convert to a high efficiency gas furnace or an electric heat pump we won't have to use our chimney to vent (which happens to run up through our kitchen) which means we can take out the chimney and gain some valuable space in our kitchen (which is really small!)

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    Registered User escapethevillage's Avatar
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    I have no idea. We only use our heater for an hour in the mornings for a month or so.

    We have natural gas, and the monthly bills in the winter are about $55. But, we get slammed in the summer on electricity.

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    Go with gas. I have a heat pump and it is terrible. Plus when it is very cold (by California standards) the efficiency of the heat pump goes way down - obviously the worst possible time for that to happen. IMHO The only advantage of a heat pump is that AC and heat can be in the same unit.

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    My parents live in Southern Indiana and have a SEER 12 heat pump. it is great and affordable. The electric heater (emergency heat) rarely comes on and it keeps their house very cool very cheap all summer. If you have a fireplace use it on cold days and you won't even need the emergency heat.

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    Registered User annymoll's Avatar
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    We converted from gas to electric and the cost is similar. I cannot stand the smell of the chemicals they put in the natural gas and propane- gas stinks.I use the fireplaces also and keep my chair closest to them because I get cold easily.I seldom use the air but when we do it is nice and even. I think electric is the way to go.

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    Registered User TheRootedNomad's Avatar
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    Hubby works in heating and air. He said if you plan on staying put for awhile you probably want to go dualfuel. This is actually both. He said it is generally a little more to put in but pays off in cost efficiency in the long run. He said if you choose one or the other you need to go with the gas. A heat pump is going to run you both arms and legs in the winter and you WILL still be could once the temp drops below 35. He said some other things I didn't quite get either so if you need more info pm me and I'll just make him type a response.

    Hope that helps.

    Oh mark ups on equipment in the field are incredibly high at the very least play price wars with the companies. Better yet if you know someone in the field see if they can get someone to do it as a side job.

    Do not let anyone put in janitrol eguipment all the guys here call it JUNkatrol. Aarco air is good eguipment. (I think it's by the same company that makes Trane. Hubbys had some problems with one of the new trane models recently though)
    GG


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    Registered User blitzen's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input! The choices are staggering, and the prices even more so! We had another company come over and give us a quote. Yikes!

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    Registered User itlw8's Avatar
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    we have both the heat pump is also the central air... so it warms us in the winter and cools us in the summer but in the winter when the temp drops below a certain degree the gas furnace cuts on instead of the heat pump..


    We are very happy except it is 10 yrs old so I am sure they make more efficient ones now.
    Meg

    debt free YEAH on to saving

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    It depends on a few things particular to your house or area and lifestyle. Have you compared the price of NG and electricity in your area? What % of the cost is running the gas line? Do you have A/C now? Does the cost of the gas furnace include A/C?Can you predict which will cost more in the future-NG or electricity? Your Contractor/estimator should be able to tell you the annual cost to run.

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    I would prefer heat pump over gas furnace. Heat pump does not use any kind of gas for combustion, thus do not produce carbon monoxide that can enter the residence and cause carbon monoxide poisoning. If not major carbon monoxide poisoning, then minor carbon monoxide poisoning that does not set off the carbon monoxide alarm but still cause health problems. And I think health is more important than the couple of dollar you save between gas & heat pump.

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    Registered User frugalfranny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blitzen View Post

    I've used gas heat before, but have no experience with a heat pump so I don't know how to compare theml!)
    No experience with heat pump but I was just reading an article about them today that said they 'generally' only had a life span of 10 years.......not sure how 'in the know' the article was but something to check out and/or keep in mind. My gas furnaces have all lasted longer........much longer. Course NOTHING is made to last any more........so maybe that is becoming "average"..........

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    Registered User ilovechocolate's Avatar
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    Gas is great. The heat from a heat pump never seemed warm enough to be comfortable, even when I turned it waaaaay up.

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    Registered User CookieLee's Avatar
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    When we moved into our previous house it had an electric forced air furnace. We immediately took it out and put in a natural gas furnace. The electricity bill dropped by several hundred dollars, even considering the cost of the gas.

    The gas company installed the line all the way from the street to the furnace for free, including the meter. They were happy to add us as customers and wanted to make sure it was done right. If we had switched our water heater to gas or added a gas stove/cook-range, our price per unit of gas would have gone down even more.

    Keep in mind, with a gas forced air furnace you get no benefit during the summer months when you're running the A/C. That is still all electric. A heat pump will reverse in the summer and draw colder air from the ground to give you cooling - for additional cost savings. We had a heat pump in an older house in California. The only part I disliked about it was that the heat was piped into water-filled tubes in the floor. We had more trouble with the tubes than the heat pump. That old heat pump was a champ. I loved that it was so small and virtually maintenance-free. However, I agree that there should be a back-up heat and cooling source, though. Your back-up could be as easy as plugging in a space heater.

    A high-efficiency gas furnace needs vents. As a matter of fact, it needs more vents than you can imagine. Not only do you need a fresh-air return inside the house, you need a fresh air draw pipe from outside the house (typically through the roof), a gas vent and a moisture vent. It was these vents that gave us the most trouble since they were uninsulated in the attic space the moisture in the attic would condense on the outside of the pipe and drip down onto the ceiling. Obviously we went up there and insulated the pipes - something the installer should have done.

    In our previous house we had three different forms of heat available and I loved having the options. We had the NG forced air furnace, electric baseboard heaters (for regional heating like the baby's room or the basement) and wood stoves (in case the electricity was off). Where we live now, the house is all electric and I hate it. I feel so unprepared! We're planning on adding a wood stove soon and will add propane, too. I agree with going multi-fuel whenever you have the option.

    Our previous forced air furnace had an electrostatic air filter on it which was wonderful. We lived in a rural area and it really helped reduce the amount of dust in the house. I look forward to installing one of those again.

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    Registered User Spirit Deer's Avatar
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    I must be really bored to respond to a five year old thread.

    We have a dual fuel heat pump and we love it. Note our location. Our electric company gives us off-peak rates which are very low. In exchange, we give them the option to cycle our heat pump off and on during high usage times, such as hot weather. We've never noticed any difference, so it's all a huge win for us.

    The heat pump stops heating at around 25 degrees and the furnace automatically switches over to burning propane, which is good down to -45 degrees.

    We've saved thousands in the five years or so we've had the heat pump. Even if its life span is only ten years, we'd replace it because it would still be far cheaper than burning propane during our long heating season.

    That's been our experience, but it depends on what the rates are for heating fuel and/or power where you live whether or not it would be a good deal.
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