Heat Pump
#11
  
I'm in CO at about 6500 feet.  It's dry here, and cooler than town, but we still have a couple of window units for the hot days.  As our kids get older, they'll probably want window units in the summer.  Our heat is baseboard electric and a wood stove in the basement.

A friend of my wife's husband has an HVAC company.  They thought it would be pretty easy to install a small A/C system in the attic with the condenser unit outside.  It would just be for the main floor with vents (I'm thinking the insulated flexible kind) going through the attic.  I don't need to air condition the basement, it stays cool already.  I probably have around 1600 sqft on the main level.

While I was thinking about it, I wonder if it makes sense to get a heat pump instead of just an A/C unit.  I read that the air to air units can produce about 3x the amount of heat with the same electricity compared to electric baseboard.  If true, that would save me a decent chunk of change in the winter.  Running the wood stove helps, but it doesn't completely heat the upstairs.  It certainly heats the basement nicely, and that air does rise upstairs.

I know that heat pumps can't work all the way down to our winter temperatures, but there aren't as many bitterly cold times as there are in the midwest.  I would keep the baseboard units in place for when they're needed.

One thing I really do like about the baseboard units are the individual room thermostats.  We like the master bedroom cool, so we keep it off and the guest bedroom in the basement is only heated when used.

I've also been working on a campaign to better insulate the house.  I replaced several windows this year.  One of the reasons I want to figure this out is our larger window unit goes in the front window of the living room (yet to be replaced).  If I didn't have a need for that window unit, I could replace the window with a bay window, which would be a nice view.  With any direction (including not either system), I know sealing and insulation is the best ROI.

I haven't had them out to do an official quote for anything yet, I'm just wondering what other people thought of the idea.
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#12
  Re: Heat Pump by lincmercguy (I'm in CO at about 6...)
Had a Trane heat pump installed last year, the system kicks over to a gas heater when the temp goes below 40.  When my previous heat pump ran when the outside temp was in the lower 30s or below it cost some coin to run.  

The new one is saving me over $1k/yr compared to the previous unit (heating & cooling).  Hard to say exactly how much because pg&e has once again screwed up my true-up bill.

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. - Philip K. Dick

Mark

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#13
  Re: Heat Pump by lincmercguy (I'm in CO at about 6...)
Do you have an idea what the average winter temperatures are and for how long?  Heat pump is definitely a consideration if your winters aren't too bad.  Another option is what Mark has in his home...a duel fuel system.  If natural gas isn't available maybe consider a propane heater rather than natural gas.

I run a duel fuel system using a heat pump and a natural gas heater.  Mine switches over to natural gas at 35 degrees outside air temperature.  I operate the switch over using an outdoor air sensor tied into my Honeywell Pro 8000 digital thermostat.  I ran 18/2 wire to the outdoor air sensor mounted under the eve on the north side of my home.  Even at 35 degree outdoor air temperature my 14seer Trane unit puts out 105+ degree air.
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#14
  Re: Heat Pump by lincmercguy (I'm in CO at about 6...)
My experience with air to air units goes back about 30 years. We had one with a gas (LP) furnace, and it did save money. Seems like it cut over to gas at about 32˚. The new models are much better and more efficient. When we had ours installed (again, this was in 1988) I had always heard that the house seemed cooler with the HP running even though the temps were the as set. I found that to be true, but I'm told that's no longer the case. Regardless, it will be a substantial savings versus resistance heat.
I started with absolutely nothing. Now, thanks to years of hard work, careful planning, and perseverance, I find I still have most of it left.
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#15
  Re: Heat Pump by lincmercguy (I'm in CO at about 6...)
If you are just wanting cooling go with just an AC unit. If all you have for heating now is baseboard heat and a wood stove then I would go for a heat pump. Like already said it is more efficient than your baseboard heat until it gets cold outside. But never rely on a heat pump for your only heating you have to have an emergency heat coil in it or another form of heat.

       Heatpumps are becoming more common here but they made a big push in the 80s and 90s and then they were pure garbage. It really hasn't been until the last 5 or so years that I would consider them feasible. I don't like compressors running in the winter here they run nearly non stop for 9 months of the year cooling the house. Give the thing a break and extend it's life a little... 

       My parents have a heat pump that is almost 10 years old so it's close to replacement time (10 years is expected life here for AC because it's so stinking hot). They quit using the heatpump part several years ago. It just ran and ran and ran and the system checked out fine. I put in a bigger emergency heat and they use that for heating and their electricity usage went down when they stopped using the heat pump. This is a common complaint with older heatpumps here.

      When we replaced the unit in our house I went back with a 94% gas furnace and regular AC. At the time we were planning to be out of TX and somewhere cooler by 2019 and that is looking much bleaker as the better 3/4 has gone from wanting to move to not wanting to and I can't state how much I hate living in this unbearably hot barren wasteland. Anyway I would have gone dual stage dual fuel if we were staying just in case nat gas went stupid in price.
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#16
  Re: Heat Pump by lincmercguy (I'm in CO at about 6...)
(08-06-2019, 08:42 AM)Robert Adams Wrote: that is looking much bleaker as the better 3/4 has gone from wanting to move to not wanting to and I can't state how much I hate living in this unbearably hot barren wasteland.

I was wondering about your move.....sounds like it's really sidetracked (I know the feeling, BTW)
I started with absolutely nothing. Now, thanks to years of hard work, careful planning, and perseverance, I find I still have most of it left.
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#17
  Re: RE: Heat Pump by fredhargis (My experience with a...)
(08-06-2019, 06:33 AM)fredhargis Wrote: I had always heard that the house seemed cooler with the HP running even though the temps were the as set. I found that to be true, but I'm told that's no longer the case. 

what I notice is when its heating with gas the air coming out of the vents gets hotter faster than when heating with the HP.  The HP seems to need a little bit of time to get up to max heat.

Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. - Philip K. Dick

Mark

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#18
  Re: RE: Heat Pump by fredhargis ([quote='Robert Adams...)
(08-06-2019, 10:04 AM)fredhargis Wrote: I was wondering about your move.....sounds like it's really sidetracked (I know the feeling, BTW)

      Yeah we had found several house and property possibilities from Gaffney up to NW of Charlotte in the foot hills. Found one we really liked with about 50 acres and a a nice stream etc and very affordable. Made several trips to check them out as well. But Daughter can't seem to stay moved out for more than a year. Hops from apartment to apartment depending on the drama crisis at that time and now wants to buy a house and is saving less and working less now that she moved back in...

      I'm at the point that every time I am outside I am muttering 4 letter words etc cause I hate the heat. I want to live somewhere I can have a lawn that is green I can be outside and do stuff outside and within less than 3 days drive of places to go for the weekend. No reason to own a camper here. I am an outdoor person and the climate here doesn't allow for it. If you are a hermit it's great.
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#19
  Re: RE: Heat Pump by Robert Adams ([quote='fredhargis' ...)
(08-06-2019, 05:10 PM)Robert Adams Wrote:       Yeah we had found several house and property possibilities from Gaffney up to NW of Charlotte in the foot hills. Found one we really liked with about 50 acres and a a nice stream etc and very affordable. Made several trips to check them out as well. But Daughter can't seem to stay moved out for more than a year. Hops from apartment to apartment depending on the drama crisis at that time and now wants to buy a house and is saving less and working less now that she moved back in...

      I'm at the point that every time I am outside I am muttering 4 letter words etc cause I hate the heat. I want to live somewhere I can have a lawn that is green I can be outside and do stuff outside and within less than 3 days drive of places to go for the weekend. No reason to own a camper here. I am an outdoor person and the climate here doesn't allow for it. If you are a hermit it's great.

 It's as if I posted that.
 I'm so fed up with this heat, every year I scream cool place to live and I can't see any difference between being cabin bound because it's just too hot , or being snowed in. I'd rather be retired and snowed in- at least I could work in the shop and actually enjoy hot coffee.  I'm semi-retired and just work as I can, but this heat is killing this man.  I get home from work and stay inside- driving the wife nuts.
  My daughter has 6 years of college, divorced a money spending person she married, now almost broke and getting back on her feet, lives in our little house next door. She does work hard, but they just don't pay as well here.
 Trapped for now.

 On the subject;
 I'd do the heat pump with backup electric heat (Outdoor thermostat controls for switching)- now you have two sources of heat for backup in case the baseboards quit on you.
"There are no strangers- only friends I haven't met.
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#20
  Re: Heat Pump by lincmercguy (I'm in CO at about 6...)
I've been in Maryland a little over 30 years. 15 of the last 18 was in an area where the low winter temps are below 20, down to zero on occasion. High winter temps in the 30's and 40's. Summer temps in the 90's with high humidity. We had a heat-pump and a wood stove. When the outside temps neared 20, I'd load the wood-stove to help the heat-pump keep up. Not much below 20, the supplemental electric would kick on. Heating the house by the supplemental electric coil gets pricey. Wood is a lot cheaper. Above 20, the heat pump was fine.

BTW: It's pretty common to install AC/Heat Pumps in attics here in multi level homes. Generally there is a return in the hallway and ceiling registers in the bedrooms and insulated flex duct in the attic. The filter is in the return register in the hallway. Running the refrigerant lines and condensate drain can be a little tricky but it's common. Just make sure the unit is in a pan with a secondary condensate drain. It's a good idea to have an alarm installed in the pan to warn you of a clogged drain.

Be nice to your A/C tech, have it serviced in the spring or fall. Even the winter. You can't really dress for 130 degrees in the attic.
 
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