dual fuel

In my other post, I ranted and wailed about the propane industry. Since my home is ten years old, I probably have another 3-6 years on the Goodman propane furnace before it craps out. I want to replace it with a dual fuel system, i.e., a heat pump for the good days with ambient above 40 or so and kick in the propane when the HP would call for auxillary heat.
Who's got dual fuel, are you pleased with it, does this have any drawbacks I have not yet discovered, and did you do a cost/economy analysis before and since the install.
Of course, the region is of great importance, as is the relative cost of electricity and propane. Here, central North Carolina, propane can be had for ~$1.70 gallon and the sparks run $0.083/kwh.
Yes, I understand the impact of increased efficiency on a new unit (HP as well as new propane burner), just wondering if you have determined WHEN the increased initial cost has been offset and you start saving.
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There are too many variables for anyone to give you an answer that you can relate to your situation. I've replaced several heat pump systems with combination propane / heat pump. This entails new 15 amp electric, gas line, vent for the furnace, etc. Most people seem to think it takes about 2 to 4 years for that payback, but I seriously doubt if they ever did the math. In your case, it's a relatively simple change out. The hardest part might be pulling new low voltage wires to the thermostat and outside unit. You'll have to do a heat loss calculation on the home to figure the 'economic balance point'. You also must realize that typical heat pump supply duct temperatures are lower than your body temperature. If you change to a 'comfort balance point', all the math you did is irrelevant. This Penn State web site may help. http://energy.cas.psu.edu/energyselector /

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Don't hold your breath.....
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He might be able to hold his breath, because with a Goodman, it could crap out any minute.
(add rr between nc and com)> wrote

Goodman
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On Sun, 22 Jan 2006 12:46:03 GMT, Jim Murphy wrote:

I have used dual fuel since Jan 98 in NW GA and I like it a lot. I did not do a cost analysis before the install. I had planned on installing a gas furnace for heat and all other appliances total electric when I built my house, but the local EMC persuaded me to go dual fuel with the following incentives for new constructions.
A Free Underground Power Drop (over 300 ft and a transformer on the ground) A $1000 Rebate A Free 60 Gallon Marathon Electric Water Heater
The cost of the underground drop alone was about $4000 due to the distance and the requirement of having a transformer on the ground instead of on the pole. An underground drop of less than 300 ft with a transformer on the pole was free at that time with a new construction.
I only found out about those incentives when I was informed how much the drop was going to cost and asked if there was any way I could offset some of that cost. I was told that I could go total electric and receive the above incentives - I countered with dual fuel and they told me dual fuel also counted as total electric as far as the incentives were concerned. The extra cost for the heating system was about $400-600 IIRC, so I figure I came out ahead.
I should let you know that I didn't want to go total electric (no gas furnace), because I know too many people who complain about their heat pump when the weather gets cold. The gas also gives me a backup heat source if the power is out - I can run the gas furnace with my generator (runs on gasoline or propane - purchased so I can have water and to keep the fridge and freezer cold during long outages) if it I run out of wood or some other emergency forces me to.
I would suggest that if you do decide to change to dual fuel, you check with your local power company to see if they offer any incentives for changing - our local EMC does, but I think the incentives are offered periodically, not all the time. Incentives could very well change the cost recovery quite a bit.
Later, Mike (substitute strickland in the obvious location to reply directly) ----------------------------------- snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net
Please send all email as text - HTML is too hard to decipher as text.
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