electric or gas back up?

Problems related to residential installations.

electric or gas back up?

Postby zekeharley » Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:12 pm

I am looking to replace my hvac system with a heat pump and a backup furnace. One installer recommended an electric backup and the other a propane backup. I currently have a 20 yr old 80% propane furnace. But I am concerned that an all electric system would be very expensive when its too cold for the heat pump to do its job. I live in Indianapolis IN, so we do get some cold days in the winter. Right now I spend about $1500 / year on propane , so getting rid of the propane all together would be a savings. Does anyone recommend one system vs the other?
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- electric or gas back *

Postby Freon » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:18 pm

You will need to do some research and calculate the costs per net BTU(BTU in the house). Find the BTU per gal of propane and adjust it for 80% into the house. You want a $ per net BTU. Do the same for electricity using your local rates. Consider 100% efficiency for the electric heat strips. Check if higher electricity use drops your kilowatt rates.

Most new installs want to use an air handler that matches the new heat pump condenser. Those air handlers usually have electric backup and that's why the installer is recommending to electric. However if you have a furnace in good condition you can simply add a evaporator coil before the exit plenum and save some money. But you should have your furnace inspected closely, especially the heat exchanger.

Get another estimate.
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