Convert from Natural Gas to Heat Pump ?

With all the hubbub about gas prices going way up, is it a good idea to convert to all-electric ? Where I am in the midwest, electricity is mostly from coal. Currently have a 80% gas furnace and an unknown SEER A/C unit, probably not real efficient, the system is about 7 years old.
What's a new all-electric system run for a 2000 sq ft house ? Is nyone else with a natural fas furnace starting to wonder about this winter ?
Thanks !
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

About 9 years ago, I installed a heat pump with NG back-up heat. I have it set so that the heat pump runs until it gets below 36 and then it switches to NG. I may change it so that the heat pump runs until it gets to 32 before it switches.
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Jim Rusling
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I nominate this for funniest post of the year.
Unless you live in some parts of Canada or TVA, it is never cheaper to heat with electric. Those prices will rise also.
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Edwin, It depends on climate and utility rates. Here in Myrtle Beach, SC; a heat pump is cheaper to heat with than a gas furnace above about 40 degrees outdoor temperature. Our electric rates are very low and our gas rates are not as cheap. However the pay back to replace a working system would be quite long. In most parts of the midwest it probably gets cold enough often enough that there would not be much benefit.
Stretch
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Whatever. Here's two links:
http://www.ipalco.com/YOURHOME/Heat_Pumps/Cost_Comparison.html http://www.clevelandutilities.com/cons_info.htm (bottom of page)
Those don't even take into account two huge price changes that favor electric - first, the local gas utility is in the process of raising its "delivery" charges 35%. Second, the price of natural gas may be 30-50% higher here than it was last winter, which had already seen a big bump from the year before.
I hate heat pumps because they blast slightly-warmed air but the gas prices are gonna be a b*tch this winter. And again, we make electricity with coal in these parts (sorry, New England !) so the
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http://www.progress-energy.com/aboutenergy/rates/sctariffs.asp http://www.scana.com/SCEG/At+Home/Customer+Service/Rates/Residential+Electric+Rates.htm Carolina Power is 8.632 per kWh for the first 800 kWh
7.632 per kWh for the additional kWh
Gas rates are about 1.08 a therm with over 25 at 1.19 in SC.
http://www.hearth.com/fuelcalc/findoil.html
Shows huge savings for gas over electric. Calculating 1 million Btu of heat, gas saves $1,000
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Edwin,
Yes, but the best efficiency for gas furnaces is about 95%. The best efficiency for a HEAT PUMP is about 400% at 47 degrees outside and about 275% at 17 degrees outside. A gas furnace compared to an electric furnace, I would agree to you, but not against a heat pump. Also our electric rate is 6 cents per kilowatt hour from Santee Cooper. CP&L is not in my service area. A heat pump in my area does not even need backup strip heat until it gets below 35 degrees outside. Savings is even bigger for water source units, but installation cost is bigger too. To start from scratch, I would almost always install a heat pump around here.
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strongly a function of your outdoor temps
how cold does it get there?
I don't use the heat pump much below about 45 deg F and much above that we don't need the heat at all.
Mark
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As you are on coal, the electic bill might stay stable.
I'd suggest that others who consider this check with your power co, and see where the electric comes from. If your local power plant is natural gas fired, the electric bill will go up at least as much.
OTOH, if you're on wind or hydro or nuclear, your electric bill may stay stable.
Did you call your power co, and see if they are expecting any rate hikes?
In NYS, the prices will have to shift a LOT to make electric heat a good alternative. I doubt you would have enough saving to make it worth replacing a 7 year old system.
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Christopher A. Young
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If the OP.s system is 7 y/o as he states, it would be a minimum of 10 SEER, and 80%AFUE. Not the highest efficiency to be sure, but not that bad either, Here (San Antonio) that is what most new houses are still coming with. To the OP, if your system is in good shape, keep it til it dies, then replace it. A lot of people who are used to gas heat and switch to heat pumps complain about the air coming out lukewarm compared to the gas, however, after you get used to it, you may find that it actuallly keeps the temperature more evenly with long run times, rather than kicking on, blowing a blast of hot air, then cycling off , and letting the house get cool, and thn repeating the cycle. Larry
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Found an article finally - hopefully this 60 % thing is not going to happen ->
"Prices for the fuel had been expected to jump about 20 percent because of higher wholesale prices and other factors. But Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on the refinery and distribution systems of natural gas from the Gulf Coast, and the federal Energy Information Administration now predicts price increases of 60 percent or more this winter in the region that includes Indiana.
"I think it spells a real crisis," said Dave Menzer, campaign organizer for the consumer utility watchdog group Citizens Action Coalition. "If people have bills go up 60 percent or higher in the winter when prices have more than doubled over the past five years, we are looking at costs of heating homes exceeding rents or mortgages in some cases."
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In our area all the high end houses are HUGE with lots of oversized windows and skylights. Fuel economy to heat and cool those houses is kind of like living in a Hummer. High efficiency furnaces and heat pumps will be an easier sale if fuel prices continue to rise. Our power company uses mostly coal and hydro. They just use gas and oil for their peaking plants. It will be interesting to see what electric rates do here in the next few years.
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