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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    4

    Default heat pump or gas in the south?

    I bought a 1700 sq. ft 60's rancher and am replacing the whole hvac system. The system in place now is from the 80's. I am closing the ridge vent and installing a power vent. I am spray foaming the attic roof and blowing in cellulose on the roof deck. gas makes me a little nervous because of lighting pilots and carbon monoxide. The price to switch from gas to a heat pump with installation of the electrical wire is about $1400. I am told my bills will be less with gas although the heat pump is more energy efficient. Should I stick with the gas and save $1400 upfront or change to heat pump. Both systems I am looking at are the 2 speed and compressor Trane 20xi. any thoughts?
    Last edited by bigbirdneworleans; 05-28-2013 at 08:42 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
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    1,731

    Default Re: heat pump or gas in the south?

    "blowing in cellulose on the roof deck" What does that mean? Do you have a flat roof and you are blowing cellulose all over the top of it, that will surely be a mess when it rains or the wind blows.

    If you mean attic floor, you either insulate the attic floor and vent the attic or you insulate the rafter bays and do NOT vent the attic. You do NOT insulate the attic floor, the rafter bays and vent the attic.

    Also you can have a heat pump with a gas furnace. It give the best of all worlds. Above 45F, the heat pump is cheaper to operate, below 45F, the gas furnace takes over. You may be able to save your current gas furnace if it is in good working order and just replace the AC with a heat pump. A gas furnace form the 80's should have a pilotless ignition so no pilot light to worry about and you should get a carbon monoxide detector for the house, especially if you have gas hot water or a gas stove.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    4

    Default Re: heat pump or gas in the south?

    Sorry attic floor, one of the installers called it the roof deck inside the attic. They want to open-cell spray foam rafters and put blown in cellulose on the floor. I was told that I do need to put in an attic fan because they are not sealing the attic. We dont have too many cold days here, so I dont think I want to spend the extra $$ for them to run an electrical wire in the attic for a heat pump and have a gas furnace. It will be one or the other I think for cost. We dont have too many cold days here. The furnace is a discontinued model from a company that went out of business and it was recommended it be turned off and replaced.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,731

    Default Re: heat pump or gas in the south?

    You need to find another installer. There is no benefit to insulating the rafters if you are not sealing the attic. The money would be better spent elsewhere. In fact there are a lot of red flags here that indicate that you are dealing with a scam artist. Did these people come to you or did you go to them? Check with your local BBB before you do anything more with these people.

    As long as the current furnace is working, you should continue to use it. You will not recover the cost of a new furnace through any increase in energy efficiency. It is best to replace the HVAC when it is needed. Let the money earn interest in the bank in the meantime.

    If you have an R-19 in your attic right now, you will not get any return on investment with added insulation. You just bought the house. Live in it for awhile and get to know it before you start making a lot of changes. Then start with a good paint job to prevent any deterioration.
    Last edited by keith3267; 05-29-2013 at 09:29 PM. Reason: add bold

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Posts
    137

    Default Re: heat pump or gas in the south?

    I live in Central Florida.

    Do yourself a big favor and contact your local power company to see if they do "energy audits" - most of them do. They will come to your home and survey your attic, windows, etc and recommend any improvements FOR FREE. They typically will give you a coupon to offset the cost of any blown-in insulation.

    You may not even have to deal with a whole attic fan. Having foam sprayed onto the rafters does NOTHING, having it sprayed on the underside of the roof in combo with a good layer of blown-in insulation is OVERKILL and a waste of money.

    American Standard (same as Trane) makes a hybrid heat pump a/c and gas heater, but it's costly. Stay with a heat pump as you'll be using a/c most of the year. By going with AS, you'll have the same equipment and warranty as Trane but at a lower cost. Your a/c installer will run the appropriate electrical system.

    Now, if you have access to gas you will save some money with gas hot water heater and stove.
    Last edited by daspyda; 05-30-2013 at 11:16 AM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: heat pump or gas in the south?

    Thanks, Ive been wracking my brain with this whole issue. I found this guy through a recommendation. He says the foam acts like a radiant barrier does, an umbrella for the attic. The reason i want to take care of the attic now before I move in is because the insulation is detoriated after 60 years and needs some. Id rather make the mess now while the hvac is being done and get it over with. I have had so many opinions on what to do including closed cell spray foam which many people say is crazy in the south because it doesn't allow the moisture to circulate. My energy company currently doesn't have any programs available for an energy audit. They cost about $300 and I have already spoken to 2 auditors whom have already suggested closed cell spray foam and 1 who recommended open cell to completely seal attic. My ac guy isnt a fan of sealing the attic and thinks that fresh air need to circulate.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    1,731

    Default Re: heat pump or gas in the south?

    Umbrella my ***. I've heard that theory too, not buying it. Just add insulation to the ceiling joists and leave teh attic ventilated.

    I would also recommend that you go to your local library and see if they have a copy of the book "From the Walls In" by Charles Wing. Unfortunately this book is out of print, but it is an excellent book on the subject. You can do your own energy audit with the information in this book.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: heat pump or gas in the south?

    Thanks for the advice.

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