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Shexter
Prairieville
Member since Feb 2014
6466 posts

OT A/C Experts - Heat Pump vs. Conventional
What are the advantages/disadvantages of each?


bayoubrucebruce
LSU Fan
Member since Jun 2008
146 posts

re: OT A/C Experts - Heat Pump vs. Conventional
If by conventional, do you mean electric heat?
If so a heat pump will cost a little more in equipment prices, it is more efficient to heat your house. It should use the same amount of electricity to heat you house as to cool your house or about the same.
Just straight cool with electric heat will be cheaper for equipment, but will be more expensive to heat your house due to using strictly heating elements to heat instead of your condensing unit. Hope this helps.


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Spankum
LSU Fan
Miss-sippi
Member since Jan 2007
47702 posts

re: OT A/C Experts - Heat Pump vs. Conventional
agree with what bayou said...basically, a heat pump just reverses the operation of your air conditioner to heat your house during the winter, so it saves some in utility bills over straight electric heat....costs more for the equipment up front, though...another negative (to some folks) is that the air blowing out of the ductwork is not quite as hot as what people are used to feeling out of a heater and this bothers some folks...

an alternative to both would be a unit with a gas furnace, which is cheaper than electric heat and blows a lot hotter air than a heat pump...


bayoubrucebruce
LSU Fan
Member since Jun 2008
146 posts

re: OT A/C Experts - Heat Pump vs. Conventional
I left out a gas furnace, if you have gas I would not switch to heat pump or electric heat. Too many people switch and are unhappy with heat if they had gas heat before. Gas heat is a dry heat and heats up fast and is very efficient. Electric heat is not as hot as gas but is warm immediately. Heat pumps take a while to warm up and when system goes into defrost you are actually running in cool mode with heating elements to supplement the defrost cycle.
Or if they put enough kw worth of heating element in a heat pump air handler you can run just electric heat also. Keep in mind that in below freezing Temps, not that much in Louisiana, heat pumps have a harder time heating and go into defrost a good bit.


Shexter
Prairieville
Member since Feb 2014
6466 posts

re: OT A/C Experts - Heat Pump vs. Conventional
No gas at the house, so I'll probably stay with electric heat.
Thanks for the info.


ShermanTxTiger
LSU Fan
Wylie Tx
Member since Oct 2007
8491 posts

re: OT A/C Experts - Heat Pump vs. Conventional
Not an option here in Central Il. In Texas we considered one but decided it was not a good choice. When it gets really cold it is not very effective. My parents have one in Laffy and have space heaters all over the house when it gets in the 40's or 30's. My dad is always amazed when he visits us in the Winter about our furnace (gas). It runs about 5 minutes a stretch and shuts off even in single digit temps.

Heat pump may be ok for southern La but don't get one North of Alec IMO


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Nawlens Gator
Florida Fan
louisiana
Member since Sep 2005
3793 posts

re: OT A/C Experts - Heat Pump vs. Conventional
Costs more to heat my house with electric elements in the air handler in winter than to cool the house with A/C in summer. The higher electric bills are only for 2 months though. I like electric heat.

Heat pumps don't do the job if outside air temps drop to freezing. You still need electric elements. One of the neighbors uses well water with a heat pump instead of air. It does the job but cleaning the outside heat exchanger is a bitch.



This post was edited on 5/29 at 11:41 pm


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10
AndyCBR
LSU Fan
Baton Rouge, LA
Member since Nov 2012
1927 posts

re: OT A/C Experts - Heat Pump vs. Conventional
Air Source Heat pumps in our climate are not worth it to me. The few months you are heating won't garner you enough savings versus gas or even electric heat to balance the upfront cost quickly.

Now, if you opt for a ground source heat pump the payoff can be significant. I know a house that was 5000 SF climate controlled and averaged $220 electric bills year round with a ground source heat pump. You also preheat your hot water with this system when set up properly. I would guess the ground source heat pump option adds 40% to the upfront cost mostly due to the underground wells.

Unless you can afford to go the ground source heat pump route for a long term house I would just get an efficient conventional unit with a gas furnace.





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10
Chili Dawg
Georgia Fan
HGMF
Member since Sep 2012
608 posts

re: OT A/C Experts - Heat Pump vs. Conventional
quote:

No gas at the house, so I'll probably stay with electric heat.


It depends on how long you're gonna live there. Heat pumps have two stages of heat. The first stage is much more effecient than electric heat(which will be the second stage in your case). You will save the difference it costs to upgrade to the heat pump in two winters. The main complaint I hear about heat pumps is the first stage of heat doesn't feel as warm to the skin as gas or electric heat. It is only designed to raise the temperature of the return air 20 degrees as opposed to gas and electric which raise it about 65 degrees. Whenever the outside air drops below the "balance point" (40 degrees in Atlanta) the second stage will come on and you will still have your electric heat.

You would be wise to go with the heat pump. Look at your power company's web site for cash incentives. Georgia Power always has them for installing heat pumps. I'm pretty sure yours will too.


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BigEdLSU
Southern Fan
All around the South
Member since Sep 2010
17719 posts

re: OT A/C Experts - Heat Pump vs. Conventional
Heat pumps typically have electric elements in the air handler anyway, to give you extra heat if the condenser isn't producing enough. If you're going to be in the house 5+ years, it's worth the extra upfront cost.


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WPBTiger
USA Fan
Parts Unknown
Member since Nov 2011
14688 posts
 Online 

re: OT A/C Experts - Heat Pump vs. Conventional
quote:

an alternative to both would be a unit with a gas furnace, which is cheaper than electric heat and blows a lot hotter air than a heat pump...
quote:

if you have gas I would not switch to heat pump or electric heat


tiger91
LSU Fan
South of Lafayette
Member since Nov 2005
18821 posts

re: OT A/C Experts - Heat Pump vs. Conventional
Bought a house with a heat pump ... Idk how they work but it seems that it runs all the time in the summer. Moved last summer and it's hard to gauge efficiency as this house is bigger than our last house.

Regarding heat, we were fine last winter ... Didn't run much at all but we kept it set a little low and maybe it just wasn't as cold as previous years. Seemingly well insulated home also.


daviddsims
LA-Monroe Fan
West Monroe
Member since Dec 2008
578 posts

re: OT A/C Experts - Heat Pump vs. Conventional
If your unit runs all the time during the summer then it is probably sized correctly. Most people think the unit should come on when it is 95 degrees outside and run for 15 minutes. That couldn't be further from the truth.


Capital Cajun
LA-Monroe Fan
Over Yonder
Member since Aug 2007
4281 posts

re: OT A/C Experts - Heat Pump vs. Conventional
Heat pump is more efficient but will have noticeably loud outside unit. They are also not good for extreme cold.


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tiger91
LSU Fan
South of Lafayette
Member since Nov 2005
18821 posts

re: OT A/C Experts - Heat Pump vs. Conventional
quote:

If your unit runs all the time during the summer then it is probably sized correctly


Really? Awesome. I know nada about these things.


BigEdLSU
Southern Fan
All around the South
Member since Sep 2010
17719 posts

re: OT A/C Experts - Heat Pump vs. Conventional
High efficiency newer units are designed to run constantly at lower speeds. Old units that run 24/7 = $600 electric bills


Nawlens Gator
Florida Fan
louisiana
Member since Sep 2005
3793 posts

re: OT A/C Experts - Heat Pump vs. Conventional

quote:

If your unit runs all the time during the summer then it is probably sized correctly. Most people think the unit should come on when it is 95 degrees outside and run for 15 minutes. That couldn't be further from the truth.


^ This. Upgraded mine over 10 yrs ago to a unit with 2 compressors. Both compressors come on initially but the smaller one keeps running long after the larger shuts off. Makes for a big reduction in humidity. Makes a difference you can really feel.





Chitter Chatter
LSU Fan
In and Out of Consciousness
Member since Sep 2009
3970 posts

re: OT A/C Experts - Heat Pump vs. Conventional
This guy says 'heat pump schmeat pump. Gas is where it's at Vern.'
Image: http://i.ytimg.com/vi/b7BAnEaEkFg/hqdefault.jpg


Rev1897
LSU Fan
NOLA
Member since Dec 2008
765 posts

re: OT A/C Experts - Heat Pump vs. Conventional
Bumping this topic. Got a question on my new construction. We're in New Orleans.

Struggling with Electric Heat vs. Heat Pump vs. Gas.

It's a $1,000 upgrade from Electric to Heat Pump and a $4,000 upgrade to gas. 16 SEER Carrier system for the A/C. I'm considering splitting the baby and doing Heat Pump and upgrading the 16 SEER to variable speed...

Thoughts?


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notsince98
Missouri Fan
KC, MO
Member since Oct 2012
8809 posts

re: OT A/C Experts - Heat Pump vs. Conventional
You probably need to do your own calcs but the general difference between a heat pump and elec strip heating is about 300% (ranges from 250% to 350% depending on outside temps). The heat pump is so much more efficient because it is pumping heat from the air outside to the inside instead of converting electricity into heat. Pushing the heat around takes less energy.

If you can estimate how much electricity you use in the winter for heating, the calculation is easy.


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