Heat pump economics

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Old 09-15-17, 10:37 AM
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Heat pump economics

Living in Southern California it seem that heat pumps are ideal for heating and cooling from what I've read. However acouple of HVAC technicians I've discussed this with prefer gas heat saying gas heat is a better way to go. We rarely get near 40 degrees, it's not like it's brutal here.
It seems that it depends where you live on what system to use, regional energy prices are quite reasonable outside of CA so the simpler installation of a heat pump and low operating cost for that region might be the reason why some states use that system widely and others don't.
i feel that the local HVAC techs are accustomed to gas heat and all that goes with it including ventilation requirements, combust air etc. and they are sort of just used to doing that way. I'd like to know if it makes sense in high energy cost states, if heat pumps makes sense for heating or are they a very efficient consumer of money.
 
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Old 09-15-17, 11:36 AM
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There are too many variables to give a cut and dry answer.

There are several things to consider. Heat pumps work really well when only a minimum of heating is required. They are widely used where there is no fossil fuel available and the price of propane is unreasonable.

You're in California. I believe you have some of the highest electric rates in the country. If you have natural gas then it may may pay to have a gas furnace with a standard split air system.

A gas furnace with a split A/C system will cost more upfront than a heat pump system. How fast the payback is the tough part to figure.
 
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Old 09-15-17, 01:47 PM
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With our TVA electricity a heat pump is the most economical heat/cool system but many prefer gas heat because it's warmer when it comes out of the vent. Try and talk to some of your neighbors/co workers and see what they have along with their viewpoint.
 
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Old 09-16-17, 05:15 PM
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Do you use heating much?

The same series outdoor unit can be less efficient in cool mode with the heat pump model.

Like 19 SEER instead of 21 SEER.
 
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Old 09-16-17, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by marksr View Post
With our TVA electricity a heat pump is the most economical heat/cool system but many prefer gas heat because it's warmer when it comes out of the vent. Try and talk to some of your neighbors/co workers and see what they have along with their viewpoint.
I'm in Franklin visiting family and it's seems mixed here, my son in law has gas heat at his place. They run the furnace quite a bit when it gets cold in Tennesee and as you know the AC is non stop in the warmer months. I am asking questions basically to get an overall picture of the pros and cons. Thanks for the input.
 
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Old 09-16-17, 08:32 PM
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No maybe run the heat 3 to 6 weeks a year if that, I've been thinking of replacing a split unit next to the house and drop a package unit on the roof. I realize it's not that simple however I'm prepared for all the requirements provided it not way to expensive for electric heat.
 
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Old 09-16-17, 08:56 PM
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A few things that you might consider...

A rooftop unit usually will be louder.
I have had customers complain that the compressor bothers them with rooftop units.

You might also have a greater chance of water issues if the drain backs up. A secondary pan is usually not an option. Roof penetrations are a possibly entry point for rain in the future.

Rooftops are usually hotter than a back yard. You can burn your hand when you touch some rooftop units. My wrench has hit 140 degrees when I set it on a rooftop unit in the past.
A unit trying to cool your house on a hot roof can loose efficiency and capacity.
 
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Old 09-17-17, 12:40 PM
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Having worked in commercial construction part of my requirements were to attend meetings with owners representatives that listed many of the concerns you've mentioned. So I sort of learned the maintenance and operating issues owners want to avoid. If I had to run the central air more often noise and heat concerns would have a higher consideration.

Roof penetrations are a bigger concern of mine despite the reality of a continuing drought in our state however I do have a flat roof that was recently replaced. Any penetrations would be on an 8" curb using teqniques used by commercial roofers and duct would at least 16 gauge with weather resistant insulation, flashed and counter flashed.

This would require a substantial effort to beef up the roof joist's to handle the added weight so I'm not real excited about working in a confined attic space for a seldom used luxury. Unfortunately the condenssor is nearing the end of its service life as is the furnace and rather that replace everything in its current configuration I'm exploring ways to free up space the condensor takes up in the yard for a future expansion and reclaim part of space the furnace takes up. Thank you for the input.
 
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Old 09-19-17, 04:22 AM
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3 to 6 weeks of heat id just go with a heat pump. 410A is probably close to 15 degrees warmer than 22 so it really isn't a comfort thing.
 
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