Heat Pumps in Central PA?

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Old 09-16-08, 07:31 PM
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Heat Pumps in Central PA?

I'm looking for opinions on using heat pumps in central Pennsylvania. Are HPs a viable option in this winter climate? I've never had a heat pump, and always thought that they were best for milder climates.

I'm looking at replacing electric baseboard in a house with separate ducting sytems on the first and second floor (built for AC only). Only downside is that the 2nd floor vents are in the ceilings.

I am considering separate HPs, 2 ton on 1st floor and 1.5 or 2.0 ton on second (load calc is in the middle). I'm considering either Trane 14 Seer or Trane 15 SEER variable speed units.

Gas furnaces are an option, but I'd have to pay the utility to run the line from the road to my house.

Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated.
 
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Old 09-16-08, 07:35 PM
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H P will be fine for PA. Id go with a 15 seer
 
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Old 09-17-08, 05:27 PM
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cdetar

considering tour area/climate, you will be happier and probably more comfortable with dual fuel-high eff HP with backup var speed nat gas furnace.

IMO
 
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Old 09-17-08, 07:32 PM
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Follow up...

I'd appreciate some more insight into both opinions. Can 2 heat pumps really work here? What is the downside regarding comfort?

All of the operating cost estimates I've received indicate that heat pumps would be substantially less expensive to run. My problem is that it will cost $3k to run a gas line. Would gas really be that much more comfortable? And if so, what does that mean? Will a heat pump keep my house at 70 degrees? If so, what is the difference?

Currently I'm on all electric baseboard, so would either gas or HP be an improvement?

Thanks
 
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Old 09-18-08, 04:55 AM
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cdetar

what is electric rate? does your electric utility offer any special rate structure/incentive for HP heating?

how would you describe your home's envelope and insulation qualities?

have you considered geothermal?

even with conventional HPs, you should see a large improvement with both comfort and operating savings.

I would not pay $3K for nat gas hookup. still dual fuel would be preferred.

Since you have electric baseboard heat, I will assume that your home's electric service is large enough to handle heat strip backup.

IMO
 
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Old 09-18-08, 08:03 PM
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Thanks for the input. In response to your questions...

Electric rate is about 1.05 but expected to increase 30-40% over the next 3 years (deregulation in PA). No special rate structures, but will have off-peak billing starting in 2010. Gas is 1.75, also to rise this fall.

Home is very well insulated/ Electric Service is brand new, 200 amp service.

2 Bids for geothermal were from $22 & 27 k, dependent on drilling costs. Heat pumps range around $12k (remember I need 2 systems)

I agree dual fuel would be best, but economics aren't there having to pay for the line. Primary concern is that heat pumps will be comfortable and relatively economical.

Thanks
 
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Old 09-18-08, 08:17 PM
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Heat pump is economical and would be comfortable. Add a humidifier for the winter.

12K for two Geo units? Sounds like 2 or 3 times too much. Google IGSHPA and GeoExchange, find contractors for Geo.

Geo has a high install $ due to drilling but the units are pretty much plug & play.

More shopping needed on your part.
 
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Old 09-18-08, 08:32 PM
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$12k was ballpark for 2 Trane conventional Heat Pumps with air handlers, etc., installed, with thermostats and some minor duct modification. Got similar quotes for XR14 (11.5k) and XLi15 (12.3k) from different contractors.

Quotes for 2 geothermal were for carrier units. Systems installed were actually closer to $15k, with the remaining amount for drilling. I'll check the sites you mentioned. Thanks.
 
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Old 09-19-08, 09:40 PM
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I am running a 13 SEER HP in southern NH (with propane backup). The HP is 60% more efficient than propane ($3.00/gal propane, vs .147 per KWH electric) and it saves me hundreds of dollars a year.

In PA I'd forget about the gas. Use your baseboard as your backup heat. Have an electrician install some contactors in front of your basboard heat curcuit breakers (maybe $500). When its cold out and the HP can't keep up the tstat can close the contactors and your electric heat will come on.
 
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Old 09-22-08, 06:46 PM
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R U using PECO for power??? They have a special program that will cut the electric rates for customers with HP's whose total household use is more than 900 KW hours per month. Call ur electric company for rebates and special rate programs
 
 

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