Electric heat... add a heat pump?

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Old 12-03-13, 04:26 PM
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Electric heat... add a heat pump?

I have a zoned house with two outdoor AC units and two electric furnaces. Even down here in the south, that electric heat is EXPENSIVE. I'm wondering if I can add a heat pump to my current configuration for the downstairs (or replace my downstairs outdoor AC unit with a heat pump). I find that most info on the web is specific to new installs or compares heat pump to gas, so I'm having a hard time learning how it may help me or not.
Another option could be to switch out the furnace to gas, but that sounds more expensive on the install with little to no cost benefit over a heat pump.
Not a DIY project per se, but the research part is.
Any feedback would be appreciated.
 
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Old 12-03-13, 05:38 PM
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A heat pump is a great idea but you will probably need to replace the indoor unit and thermostat when you replace the outdoor unit with a heat pump.

The control wire to the outdoor unit and thermostat will also require more conductors with a heat pump.
 
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Old 12-04-13, 08:35 AM
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indoor unit?

I had read somewhere that if you already have an electrical furnace indoors, that all you need is the outside unit. Is that not the case? Are there compatibility factors? And could the electrical furnace run on its own as back up heat if ever needed?
 
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Old 12-04-13, 12:20 PM
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Electric Heat and adding Heat Pump.

I have a related buy slightly different problem. I just bought a house in the mountains of NE Georgia. The house has an old Westinghouse air handler and the ducts are OK, but it only has 20 kw of heat strips, no AC. Can I add a heat pump to this existing system. By that I mean, is it feasible? Then I have to find an AC contractor willing to do it. The one quote I have is to replace the air handler and add a 1 1/2 ton heat pump for $4000. Any ideas? [email protected]
 
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Old 12-04-13, 05:47 PM
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The indoor coils serves as the condenser coil in heat mode with heat pumps.
It is important to have a matched system to avoid high head pressure conditions in heat mode.

If the indoor unit is new it is possible that it will work with a matching heat pump.
I wouldn't try it with an older air handler. Heat pumps are not cheap. Damaging the new compressor to save the initial expense of an air handler is a bad gamble and would most likely void the warranty.
 
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