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Old 04-25-2007, 01:47 AM
 
3,155 posts, read 9,578,322 times
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Hubby and I have always had homes w/ gas furnances. These send out hot heat right away. We are instant gratification folks when it comes to the basics. I've noticed some of the homes were looking at online list the heat source as "heat pumps". I heard they are more efficient and that they don't put out "hot heat". For those of you w/ heat pumps do you feel they are good for NC for a 2 story home? (Not sure if the number of stories matter.) Also, I've heard that a heat pump can be both heat and the AC. Any issues w/ the AC part that I should be concerned about as well.

BTW, we are looking at resale houses, not new construction.

And anyone out there who went to the trouble of taking out a heat pump and putting in a gas furnance (gas line etc)? Was it worth all the expense?
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Old 04-25-2007, 03:48 AM
 
Location: Cary, NC
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If you acknowledge that you want instant gratification for heat, you will likely not be happy with a standard heat pump.
The warm air is cooler than warm air from a gas furnace, until auxiliary or emergency heat kicks in. Then you are getting your heat from electric resistance strips. $$$$$$.
The heat pump is very efficient down to about 40-45 degrees. At 50-55 degrees you are heating for very little money.

For AC, the heat pump is more efficient. This makes a heat pump worth consideration.

A few years ago, we replaced our gas pack with a dual-fuel packaged unit. This is a heat pump with a gas furnace back-up in one package. Best of both worlds. The heat pump makes the heat in the temperatures where it is most efficient, and the gas furnace kicks in at lower temperatures, so we are not paying for electric strips to make heat.

And we have heat pump efficiency for AC.

It was a little more costly, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.
When we replace our attic furnace, I will probably put in a high efficiency heat pump. With the convection currents from an open two story family room, the attic unit will handle most of the AC, and the dual fuel unit will do most of the heating.

Forgot to mention:
Main reason many folks have heat pumps is that natural gas was not available, or offered, in the neighborhood. If there is no gas, your options are limited.

Last edited by MikeJaquish; 04-25-2007 at 04:47 AM..
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Old 04-25-2007, 05:56 AM
 
Location: Oxxford Hunt, Cary NC
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I had a heat pump in the last place I lived in Virginia. The newer technology puts out a little warmer air, but it's still not *warm.* Very economical when it came to the electric bill though. My current house has gas heat and honestly it will be very, very hard for me to go back to a heat pump. I'd have to *really* like the house, the location, everything. I just really like the warm air coming from the vents. I will say it is definitely more expensive than the heat pump, especially when it comes to the summer A/C. The dual fuel units seem like the best of both worlds, though.

edit: Oh, and I agree - if a house has a heat pump, I really doubt there is natural gas available in that neighborhood. I know some people have propane, but honestly I don't know how that works and I'm not convinced I'd like a big gas tank outside my house.

Last edited by adlnc07; 04-25-2007 at 05:58 AM.. Reason: add'l comment
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Old 04-25-2007, 10:14 AM
 
3,155 posts, read 9,578,322 times
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Great information from both of you! Thanks! I take for granted that all neighborhoods in the city have gas. So thank you to both of you for pointing out that I need to check on this. And like the last poster I'm not real keen on a propane tank sitting in my backyard. Now I have more info to ask educated questions. THANKS!

Now I just have to look up temps for the winter months.

Anyone with other comments or stories would be great!
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Old 04-25-2007, 10:42 AM
 
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We have natural gas, and we have a central heat and air heat pump. Love it!!! Bills are cheaper, and sometimes we actually turn down the temp to keep the aux. heat (natural gas) from coming on because it is so hot. A relative in CA thought it was unnecessary to get the dual fuel heat pump. Then, when gas prices started soaring, he wished he had one -- and so did our neighbors who has significantly higher bills.

No matter what you decide, make sure the home's unit is large enough for the home. A unit that has to work to heat or cool a home that is too large for it will raise utilites and wear out faster. My recommendation is that you also check out the unit's brand. Compare types of fuel and even see if any utility companies are giving price incentives for any particular types of units. If the home doesn't have a digital thermostat, put one in for added control and savings. Have the unit checked regularly, and make sure filters are changed regularly.
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