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Moehouse 04-09-2009 02:05 PM

heat pump vs central AC unit
Living in west central Minnesota. I have a 35 year old HVAC system and need to unpgrade. I am planning on putting in a 95% propane furnace with an electric plenum heater to take advantage of off peak rates for my forced air system. The only question I have is whether an air source heat pump is worth the extra money or is the central air conditioner a better option. Three out of four contractors have suggested the heat pump, but the local guy I know personally doesn't think the heat pump is worth the extra cost. The local guy is old school, but is a good man. Are there any good thoughts out there worth considering?

CraigFL 04-10-2009 05:46 AM

I lived in Fairmont in the mid 80s and at the time it reduced my energy costs in an all electric home. With the new heatpumps being higher efficiency (C.O.P.), I would think they would still be a cost advantage considering the potentially rising price of energy. You need to do a comparison with today's energy costs as well as future ones. Some places just aren't familiar enough with heat pumps to realize they can still pull out heat effectivly when the air temp is below 20 degrees F.

glennjanie 04-10-2009 10:43 AM

Welcome MoeHouse:
You may want to consider a ground source (geothermal) heat pump. They are more expensive but mine paid for itself in 3-4 years (the difference between geo and gas/electric powered). My experience with Propane or LP gas is that they burn themselves out quicker; damaging their burners or heat exchangers.
York makes a gas engine powered heat pump that has (when using the rules applied to gas furnaces) an efficiency rating of 130%. It uses heat from the engine exhaust to boost the heat from the compressor. Change the motor oil, spark plug and plug wire once a year and its warranted for 10 year; the engine is muffeled to make no more noise than a standard compressor. Its worth checking into.

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