Is electric Heat Pump a good bet?


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Old 09-04-02, 06:05 AM
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Is electric Heat Pump a good bet?

This makes my head hurt. Maybe someone who is better at math than I am, and more familiar with the numbers can interpret this for me. I realize that there are many factors that would affect exactly how much I would be paying (insulation, venting, air loss, etc.,) but I would just like to know at these prices which would be cheaper to heat with (gas or electric back-up) or if it's 6 of one and half a dozen of the other.

Here's the stats I've come up with.

1800 sf home located in Central Alabama which is listed as having 1800 annual degree cooling days based on 65 F.

3000 Annual degree heating days based on 65 F.

Electric rates:
Summer June-Sep -- up to 1000 Kwh 5.2923 per Kwh
1000+ Kwh -- 5.5452 Kwh

Winter Oct - May up to 750 Kwh 5.2923 per Kwh
750+ Kwh -- 4.0923 Kwh

Natural Gas rates:
1st 50 cubic ft. --- .9493 per CF
next 150 CF --- .8036 per CF
200+ --- .7728 per CF

I'm looking at having a York Stellar put in with an electric heat strip. A friend's husband who does commercial HVAC and "side jobs" for himself is giving us a very good price that will meet our budget --- just.

Opinions on this? My preference is for electric, I just like it better, and I am *not* fond of our local gas company --- at all! But if the numbers were *way* out of whack, I'd suck it up.
 
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Old 09-04-02, 09:34 AM
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First I'd like to commend you on your research. The pricing on electric and gas are considered variables, which means they will vary from year to year. Furthermore, using pricing in this manner is not only confusing, it is also not very useful to you because you do not have any billing history to compare it with.

But the information you provided is very useful, especially the cooling and heating degree days. In your area the heating degree days are 3,000 and in my area almost 7,000, which is more than double. What that tells me is your winters are considerable milder than my winters. I live in the northeast. The average mean temperature for my area is 34 degrees F. and your area is about 40. The heat pump are ideal in areas where the average mean temperature is 40. The reason for this is the heat pump out performs gas heat in mild weather and gas out performs heat pumps in very cold weather areas. This is because as the temperature drops outside during the winter, especially below 30 degrees, there is not enough available heat in the air outside to provide heat for the house. So a supplemental electric heat strip is used to meet the demand in the home. The more this strip has to come on, the more it cost the homeowner to heat the home. In my area, it would probably come on more than twice as much as your area.

In my opinion, the heat pump is very cost effective in your area. As far as determining how much each system would cost to operate a year, you will require to get more information. You can ask your utilities to give you the expected kilowatt usage for a heat pump for a house your size and ask the gas utility for the expected therm usage for a house your size. Both utilities get a default equation from your state Dept. of Energy, which is used in determining gas or electric purchases.
 
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Old 09-06-02, 04:19 AM
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Thank you, Resercon, for your reply --- and the compliment! Actually our electric rates have been very stable for years (not to say that they couldn't go up at any time, or course), it's the gas that *really* seems to follow the market.
 
 

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