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Old 11-07-2009, 08:29 PM
 
1 posts, read 4,541 times
Reputation: 10

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My emergency heat kicks on when the temperature is less than 50 or so degrees outside. My electric bills during the winter months are 500+ dollars. I have had the service company come out to my house for the past four years and they say nothing is wrong with my outside unit! I don't know what to do. My electric co-op says my thermostat may be malfunctioning and to replace it. Is that the best option? My house is less than 5 years old and I should not be paying so much for heat!!

Read more: [URL]//www.city-data.com/forum/hampton-roads-area/498262-hows-your-heat-working.html#ixzz0WEdC3AQ5[/URL]
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Old 11-08-2009, 06:54 AM
 
Location: Arlington, VA
147 posts, read 384,109 times
Reputation: 102
Your problem is you have a heat pump in a climate that requires a separate furnace and a/c unit. Whoever built your house put in the cheapest system instead of the correct system. Heat pumps aren't meant for places that actually get cold.
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Old 11-08-2009, 07:19 AM
 
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
741 posts, read 3,699,836 times
Reputation: 223
While the emergency heat will usually run if it goes below freezing outside... for it to come on at around 50 is bad. Try replacing the thermostat like they suggested... if that IS the problem, then the money you'll save will very quickly pay back the investment.

Since you're buying a new one anyways, try upgrading to a Programmable Thermostat. In this case, even if the thermostat ISN'T the problem, you'll still save money on your electric bill.
Programmable Thermostats : ENERGY STAR
Quote:
The average household spends more than $2,200 a year on energy bills — nearly half of which goes to heating and cooling. Homeowners can save about $180 a year by properly setting their programmable thermostats and maintaining those settings.
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Old 11-08-2009, 09:39 AM
 
132 posts, read 303,325 times
Reputation: 88
Heat pump actually is efficient in heating unless the temperature gets really cold, then the heat pump functions just like a electric heater.

You definitely have a problem that the emergency heat kicks in at 50 degree outside, which means you are not using heat pump. I would think the optimal setting should be 30 or less.
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Old 11-09-2009, 05:57 AM
 
Location: No Mask For Me
5,354 posts, read 4,541,052 times
Reputation: 5633
I had a similar problem awhile back. The backup heaters kept kicking on and I knew something was "wrong". I called the heating company and they assured me everything was fine. In spring, the system wouldn't cool and they came back. I mentioned the outside unit wasn't running. It turned out the coil had rusted through (six months out of warranty) and there was no refrigerant in the system. I had heated the house using only the backup heaters all winter. Make sure whoever looks at the system examines everything - inside and out - and checks the refrigerant levels.

Rather than pay $2500 for a repair, I replaced the builder-installed system with a new, higher-efficiency unit.
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Old 11-22-2009, 10:36 AM
 
389 posts, read 1,153,259 times
Reputation: 150
while i hate the heat pump, i do find it to be adequate and energy efficient. our highest bill last winter was 220.00. we have 2600 sq not including an unfinished basement. we are stingy with the thermostat.
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Old 11-23-2009, 04:26 AM
 
318 posts, read 405,726 times
Reputation: 808
But is the heat pump as warm as the gas heat? I have been told that no matter how great the heat pump it is not as inexpensive or warm as gas.

True? False?
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Old 11-23-2009, 05:49 AM
 
509 posts, read 903,903 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbogyrl View Post
But is the heat pump as warm as the gas heat? I have been told that no matter how great the heat pump it is not as inexpensive or warm as gas.

True? False?
I had a heat pump for many years in my old house. It is fine for when the temperature is above freezing, and in that case the heat coming out should be as warm as gas heat. Below freezing the auxiliary heat will kick in which is expensive to run, and until it decides to kick in the air coming out of the heat register will not feel that warm.

As to cost, I don't think it costs any more to run than gas when it is set up properly.

However, gas heat probably feels warmer on average than the heat pump will on really cold days.

Now that I have gas in the new house I prefer it, however a good energy efficient heat pump isn't really a bad solution for this area, in my opinion.

As others have noted, the auxiliary heat shouldn't really have to kick in when the temperature is above freezing.
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Old 11-23-2009, 07:17 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC
605 posts, read 2,047,983 times
Reputation: 386
The emergency heat should not be kicking in at all with the temperatures we've had recently.

I agree with others that a heat pump just doesn't feel as warm as gas heat. My unit blows semi-warm air, which can feel cool to the skin when blowing down from our ceiling registers.

If your home is plumbed for gas, consider switching your HVAC system. With the cost of a new thermostat, repair to the unit if the thermostat doesn't fix the problem, and high heating costs thus far, the replacement costs may be worthwhile.
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Old 11-23-2009, 08:33 AM
 
389 posts, read 1,153,259 times
Reputation: 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Turbogyrl View Post
But is the heat pump as warm as the gas heat? I have been told that no matter how great the heat pump it is not as inexpensive or warm as gas.

True? False?
I honestly think it is depends on how addicted to the thermostat you are. My friend has gas (heat, fireplace, and stove). She has the same size house as I do except her basement is finished (main level and top floor = 2600sq ft). She says her gas bill is $150 every month, because they ration their billing over the entire year. This is on top of her energy bill. I don't do rationed billing, but I did average it out. I pay $125 per month for all of my energy. We keep our A/C on 80 in the summer and have bills under $100. Last winter we kept our Heat on 62 and wore sweaters around the house. On super cold nights we turned it off altogether and had a family slumber party in our master bedroom with the space heater. I'll never buy a 2 story house again. I find it so inefficient to heat and cool.

My husband has been sealing the windows this year and that has made a big difference, too.
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