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    03Darin's Avatar
    03Darin Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Jan 22, 2008, 11:50 AM
    What heat pump system is best for my situation?
    I'm in the process of making a decision on what heating system to use for better efficiency in my home. My current setup is approximately 8 years old and consists of the following:
    -oil boiler
    -american standard 4 ton single speed air handler
    -american standard 4 ton a/c unit

    My home was built in 1999. Located in Harrisburg Pa. is approximately 3,200 square feet, has a 3 zone system, one floor with 8' ceilings, one floor with 9' ceilings, one floor with catheidral (sp?) celiings and an open foyer that is 3 stories high. The house has a lot of big windows and doors that are all anderson and don't seem to leak any air.

    The reason I am looking to change my system is that with the current price of oil my heating bill is getting out of hand even though I keep the house rather cool. My temp settings are:
    -58 for the lower floor all winter
    -65 for the middle foor (with 2 bedroom completely shut off)
    -61 for the upper floor, turned up to 68 from 11pm to 7am

    With these temp settings my oil bill runs about $400 for a cold month plus my $90 electric bill. With the research I have done it appears a good heat pump and variable speed air handler should put my electric bills around $200 even with the house temperatures set around 69 for the entire house.

    My plan is to keep the oil for my back up heat and replace the a/c unit with a heat pump and change out the single speed air handler for the more efficient variable speed.

    I have spoke to 3 contractors and the two that have gotten back to me already both have different suggestion.

    Contractor one says that a Trane XL19I with supporting air handler and programmable t-stats would be the most cost effective and efficient for the price. His logic is with the dual compressors I will only run the smaller compressor most of the time which will be more efficient.

    Contractor two says after research that the XL16I with supporting air handler is my better choice since the peak SEER is 17 vs the XL19I peek SEER of 17.9 and the peek heat rating of the XL16I is a 9.2 vs the XL19I with only an 8.9

    Contractor 3 hasn't got back to me with the quote yet but he wants to put Goodman products in and has suggested their model? 16? (sorry I don't have the exact model number with me).

    Keeping in mind my location (Harrisburg Pa), house size and reason for replacing the system (more energy efficient, no problems with current system). What kind of advice can you give me on:
    -Most efficient system for my needs
    -Best product for the money
    -Should I consider any other brand and why
    -ANYTHING else you feel I should need to know that would help me in making the right choices.

    Sorry for the long post but I have bee trying to do as much research as possible to help me make the right choice. I have even looked at an in line pellet boiler but don't want to deal with the 7 tons of pellets per heating season they say I will use. Since I don't know that I will live in this house the rest of my life I can't really justify the investment of geo thermal. So it looks to me that a high efficiency heat pump with oil as back up is my best bet. Feel free to comment if you feel otherwise.

    I look forward to hearing any and all comments regarding my thoughts. Thanks in advance for taking your time to try and help me make the best choice possible.
    hvac1000's Avatar
    hvac1000 Posts: 14,540, Reputation: 435
    Heating & Air Conditioning Expert

    Jan 22, 2008, 02:40 PM
    Heat pumps are very cold heat especially after having a boiler.
    Do a cost analysis on replacing your old boiler with one of the new 90% + oil boiler units.

    Before you can estimate costs of operation you need to do a manual J on the entire home.

    No variable speed blower units (replacement motor and electronics after warranty cost more than the entire unit). LOL

    This is a long DL but well worth it. Gain maximum efficiency out of the oil you burn. If necessary they can be teamed together which makes a great stand by emergency source built in. German design and manufacturer

    I will not sacrifice my comfort to cold indoor temperatures but I will use equipment that lets me have those more comfortable temps with a much lower energy bill.

    PS your estimates for electric usage in your area for 3000+ SQ FT is to low for the mean temps listed.

    I will not engineer the job for you. That is not the reason I am here. But I will send you in the correct direction.

    Here is a complete owners manual for the tech savy person.
    03Darin's Avatar
    03Darin Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Jan 22, 2008, 03:11 PM
    hvac1000, thanks for the response.

    I never considered looking at a new more efficient oil boiler. I was just afraid with the cost of oil skyrocketing the way it has been that I wouldn't gain much cost savings by staying with oil heat as my primary source.

    I'll do some research on how to do a "manual J". I have asked all 3 contractors that I have spoken to what kind of electric and oil consumption I should expect and none of them would directly answer the question. They all responded with examples of other customers bills. I was guesstimating my costs based on their info pluss the info I got from inquiring from others. That one of the main reasons I'm here. Looking for someone with knowledge in the field to point me in the right direction. I would hate to spend the money for a new system for the sole purpose of better efficiency and not end up getting it.
    NorthernHeat's Avatar
    NorthernHeat Posts: 1,455, Reputation: 132
    Ultra Member

    Jan 22, 2008, 03:34 PM
    Water furnace...
    About 400% efficient
    hvac1000's Avatar
    hvac1000 Posts: 14,540, Reputation: 435
    Heating & Air Conditioning Expert

    Jan 22, 2008, 03:46 PM
    Remember your electric bill will also go up. Soon energy will be sold by the therm and it will not make a difference what you use.
    03Darin's Avatar
    03Darin Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Jan 22, 2008, 04:38 PM
    Should I then re-consider the in line pellet stove boiler or the big expense of geo thermal? I know electric will be going up within a year and it could potentially run the costs of heating my house up as high as oil.
    hvac1000's Avatar
    hvac1000 Posts: 14,540, Reputation: 435
    Heating & Air Conditioning Expert

    Jan 22, 2008, 04:41 PM
    Pellets will also be expensive. As far as the geo thermal let your wallet be your guide.

    We are all going to be in the same situation and I cannot see a clear winner as far as price is concerned. You can spend big bucks and save a bit each year on utilities or you can just get the job done and invest the rest.
    03Darin's Avatar
    03Darin Posts: 4, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Jan 22, 2008, 05:22 PM
    The main reason I really haven't considered geo thermal is because I don't know how long I plan on being in this house. I don't see myself moving in anything less than 5 years but who ever knows. I realize geo thermal would help with re-sale but I still don't think it would out weigh the up front costs. I also think that a wood pellet boiler wouldn't really help much with resale. That was another reason I thought maybe a heat pump was the way to go.

    hvac1000 back to your more efficient oil furnace suggestion. I'm not exactly sure what the efficiency of my current weil-mclain unit is but I think from some quick research it may be rated around 85%. According to on line data based on my current heating costs if I increase my furnace efficiency to 95% it will only save me about $250 per winter. Does that sound correct based on using $2500 oil costs for the heating season? I will pull the model number tomorrow to confirm my 85% # though
    hvac1000's Avatar
    hvac1000 Posts: 14,540, Reputation: 435
    Heating & Air Conditioning Expert

    Jan 22, 2008, 09:42 PM
    Pull the model number first then post back.

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