Decisions? Decisions?

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Old 01-22-18, 04:21 PM
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Decisions? Decisions?

[QUOTE]Writing from Lake Simcoe in Central Ontario, Canada. BRRRRRRR!

Approx energy costs:
Electricity $0.22 kw/hr (although mine is approx $0..12/hr). 0.22 is what every contractor says Iím paying but my bills show Iím paying 0.12
Propane: $0.69/ litre or $2.69 gallon

Current set-up: Installed 2009
Heat Pump with electric back up (20,000 Watt)

Should I:
1. Wait until existing unit needs replacing? then decide.
2. Keep Heat pump and install propane furnace for backup? dual fuel
3. Convert heat pump to A/C alone and install new propane furnace for all heating needs

I've had 4 contractors come out:
1 voted for option 1
1 voted for option 2 (price from $8000-10,000)
2 voted for option 3 (price from $5500-$8,000) depending on furnace AFUE).

Since there was no real consensus from the contractors, I'm at a loss. Looking for the best long-term solution based and shortest pay-back period.

thanks
 
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Old 01-22-18, 04:24 PM
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Latest electricity bill was $600 for the month!
 
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Old 01-22-18, 04:29 PM
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You are going to need to do a cost analysis for all fuel types based on assumed usage.

That will then simply show you what is the cheapest to operate, what savings may be available and will provide a clear decision.

Without that we have no idea what option to recommend!
 
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Old 01-22-18, 04:50 PM
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Propane and electrical are my only options. Iíve tried some cost calculators online and with my prices of 0.12 kWh and $2.69 gallon for propane, they seem fairly equal. Yet everyone says electricity is way more.

One contractor said at 0.22 kWh, my existing setup would cost $4.40 an hour (an aux backup). And propane would only be $1.20 and hour.

Dont know what to believe.
 
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Old 01-22-18, 05:09 PM
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I don't understand how option 2 can cost more than option 3. A heat pump is an A/C that can be run in "reverse", warming the house rather than cooling it. If you want to change your heating, I would suggest keeping the heat pump, running it only in A/C mode, and install a propane furnace for heating (in re-reading your message, this may be what you meant by option 3).

As for the electric cost discrepancy, I think I may know what the issue is. If I look at my electric bill, the cost for the electricity only is ~$0.12/kwh. However, they also charge for the delivery separately. If I take the total bill (electricity plus delivery) and divide by the killowatts used, it's more like $0.22/kwh.
 
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Old 01-22-18, 05:18 PM
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Decisions

If you have natural gas that is always cheaper unless you live next to a hydroelectric dam, propane is very expensive compared to natural gas plus it is heavier than air and will not rise and dissipate as natural gas will ,rather it sits in a low spot waiting for a spark.
For a $600 heat bill I must assume you have electric heat, straight resistive type heaters are like giant toasters with rows of wires/elements like a toaster has and they glow red just like a space heater you plug in will do. Resistive heat is 100% efficient at converting 1 Watt of power into BTU's at 100% efficiency 1 Watt = 3.45 BTU's this sounds great 100% efficiency until you learn that a heat pump which is nothing but an AC unit that reverses the flow of the refrigerant via a valve inside of it.
Imagine you put a window AC unit in the window backwards so its rejecting heat indoors and air conditioning the outdoors, this is a heat pump in the heat mode, using the refrigeration cycles evaporation and condesnsing or the refrigerants gas it can provide heat at 300% efficiency when it is 40F or above outdoors, as the outdoor temperature closes in on temps outdoors below 40F a heat pumps ability to provide heat diminishes as does its efficiency, as the outdoor coil is air conditioning the outdoors to use outdoor heat even if its 40F outside by evaporating liquid refrigerant to a vapor, as the outdoor temps drop near 30F a heat pump can no longer remove any heat from outdoors as the outdoor coil is as cold as it is outdoors, if areas where nights are 40F and above they save a tremendous amount of money to provide the same heat of before with a $600 bill for power, theoretically a heat pump will cost only $200 a month to provide the same amount of het the resistive heater provided for $600 a month, after a year saving $4,800 it wont take long to recoup the expense of switching equipment out, you cannot afford to not get a heat pump unless you live in Montana etc.
If you have a large pond or a well you can use a heat pump with a water cooled condenser and obtain cheap heat regardless of outdoor temperatures dropping below 40F.
Go ahead and Google the heat pump you were quoted $5k or $10k for you will be shocked to see they cost much less than this far less and since you already have a system installed many things you can reuse making equipment charge out very easily done in one day, it is not very hard to find a installer who does side jobs and for $400 to $500 can get in installed with you are the contractor of the job, you will probably get the $5,000 equipment for 1/2 that or less. as for buying the ultimate efficiency unit and using your old ductwork I would rather spend money on R 30 ductwork rather than the R 6 most used. By replacing your old unit with a new efficient model will be shortchanging yourself using R 6 ducting, you would be ahead to upgrade ductwork and spending a little less for a lower rated heat pump, to install a heat pump is about 10 wires electrically the 220v outside , the 220 or 120 indoors and the 5 thermostat wires, you have them all ran already so its jsut a mater of connecting 120 wires, no flue is used and a sheet metal shop will come out for $150 to determine what transitions you need if any to make the job simple without you trying to relate off sets etc and having sheet metal transitions that wont fit.
 
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Old 01-22-18, 05:36 PM
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Use this calculator to assess fuel costs. Warmair.com - Fuel Cost Comparisons

At 12 cents per kilowatt-hour of electricity and $2.69 per US gallon of propane the cost advantage is to the electricity. If the cost of the electricity was 22 cents per kWh the propane would be the less expensive fuel.
 
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Old 01-22-18, 05:43 PM
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Imagine you have ten 100 watt incandescent light bulbs.
ten 100 Watt lights operating for 1 hour will use 1 KWH.
a kWH is 1000 Watts running for 1 hour.
Say I pay .15 cents per KWH at the utilities tier 1 price rating.
That means each 100 Watt light is costing me 1.5 cents per hour.
Its the same thing if you run a 100 watt light 10 hours
or 10 100 watt lights for 1 hours

If you know the equipments amp draws when operating and you know the voltage supplied to them you can figure out the KW of power used by taking Amps x Volts = Watts
Example, 10 Amps x 100 Volts - 1,000 Watts,
1,000 watts - 1 kilowatt
1,000 watts running for 1 hour = 1 KWH

So if someone says you will uses 4,400 Wtts and you know your power supply is 220 volts you can detrmine the equipment is using 20 amps cause 220 volts x 20 amps - 4400 watts per 1 hour

example 10 100 watt light bulbs powered by 100 volts =1000 watts
running them for 1 hour duration gives you the KWH or Kilowatt Hours
A Kilowatt = 1000 Watts
1000 watts for 1 hour = 1 KWH
 
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Old 01-23-18, 06:25 AM
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Thanks. We already have a HP. Just considering changing the aux backup to propane from resistant electric.

I still cant seem to understand why all my neighbours say electric is WAY MORE expensive than propane. The calculator provided by the other poster shows they are relatively similar at 0.12 and $2.69
 
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Old 01-23-18, 06:28 AM
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Las month my total bill was $530. I used 4715 kWh. Equals $0.12 kWh right? I guess weíre really good at monitoring our time of use.
 
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Old 01-23-18, 08:17 AM
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Sounds like a bargain to me ; I'd go with option 1 unless you are actually unhappy with the heating performance...
 
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Old 01-23-18, 04:13 PM
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Iíve never seen wrapped heat ducts here in Canada.....only on kitchen and restroom exhaust fans that travel through the attic.
 
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Old 01-23-18, 07:20 PM
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If the ducts are inside the conditioned space then there is no loss to outside and no need to insulate.
 
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Old 02-06-18, 01:23 PM
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Still deciding

Still feeling uneasy about my existing setup. I have a heat pump with electric aux backup.

Give the cold temps, it seems my aux backup is the main source of heat.

Will the shoulder months of oct, nov, March and April offer me the savings (as I assume the HP will be providing the heat at that pointJ to offset the crazy costs Iím facing in Jan and feb (approx $600 a month to heat?!?!??)

Still wondering if I ditch the aux ELECTRIC and go with aux PROPANE? But keep the HP in either case.

How can propane be just as expensive as electricity here in Ontario?
 
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Old 02-06-18, 03:16 PM
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Over Christmas we rented a nice 4 bedroom cabin in a State Park near here. It was a cold weekend, with lows in the -10s F. The cabin had a heat pump. We nearly froze to death.

Fortunately we kept a fire going in the fireplace most of the time, which helped a lot... because that damn heat pump was just blowing cold air.

And in our area, electric rates are rising fast. I don't know that I would ever want a heat pump if it was going to act like that!
 
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Old 03-17-18, 05:48 PM
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Got my latest bill. Still paying about $0.12 kWh for my heat pump with electric resistance backup. Why are the new homes in my neighbourhood putting in propane? No need to refill. And I assume my setup has less maintenance than a propane furnace? What am I missing? Propane is about $2.70 a gallon ($0.70 cents/litre.)
 
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