Heat pump question...

    I have a 5 year old Furnace/AC system (York). It was whatever the builder selected, meaning it is the cheapest thing they could get away with, and I didn't have any input in what they were going to use. The furnace is gas - 80% efficient. The AC compressor is 10 SEER. Nothing special at all. It is the cost of gas that has me thinking, plus concerns that a year from now gas prices will be even higher, but electricity is going up too...
    I guess what I am wondering is whether it would pay to replace the AC unit with a high-efficiency heat pump. Keep the gas furnace, but have it configured to only run as a backup. I guess the first question is whether I would be automatically required to replace the furnace at the same time, or whether it would be possible and sensible to substitute a new heat pump for an older AC system and keep the furnace the same.
    Part of me wants to say that getting rid of a 5 year old AC compressor is wasteful, but the thing is already wasteful as it is. Is there any sensible use for a 5-year old compressor other than as a boat anchor?
    Anyone else have any words of wisdom?
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IF you have a Diamond 80, and an Olympian unit, they are not bad, but the warrantys gone on the condensor. And you are right...most builders tell us to put in the cheapest stuff we have, unless its a high end home....thankfully, most are getting the picture now and installing 14SEER units or better. At least the ones we work with are.

Its a fact...that the new 13SEER ruling is about to screw up alot of hacks, and make homeowners miserable. IF the original installer used a factory York coil, the coil can be made to work with up to a 12 SEER only...and thats now obsolete..so..you are looking at a new coil. Most ANY brand, York included, requires different airflow than your current furnace can provide, so thats out too. You COULD get a 12 SEER unit, run a dual fuel control, and have the gas as your second stage heat...we do it all the time...

Depending on your part of the country that you live, you may NEVER recoup the difference in price savings by going to a higher SEER unit...and keep in mind, you are not shopping SEER with a heat pump..you are shopping for the highest HSPF number you can afford. You put say....the top of the line York Affinity 16.5+ SEER unit on that existing setup....and you still have about 10 SEER. Match it properly, with a VS air handler and the right strips, and you get the HSPF and SEER you paid for.
Now...as your logic goes, its a good idea to think higher performance and savings...and I can tell you that you can save alot, but depending on your area, use, and such, it might not pay off. Im a York dealer, I have a 3 year old Olympian 14SEER unit..its about to get changed out with a 14SEER Affinity..simply cause I can..LOL..but thats also because I love the looks, and teh fact that I can put different panels on it, and that includes ACC teams if I want..got to use it for advertising..but again....shop around and remember, the install, DOES matter.

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well stated
http://www.hvacopcost.com /
http://198.147.238.24/ac_calc/default.asp
A lot depends on what you spend for energy and how long you plan on staying in your home.
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CBHVAC wrote:

Probably only because they would now have trouble selling homes with the bare minimum systems. Builders aren't exactly known for their altruism.
Not sure of the model names of the current equipment. Furnace is P4HUB16N06401A, compressor is H1RA042S06D - from this and the manuals I have a rough idea of what I currently have.

    I could, but it would probably be a lot of money for a minimal increment. As you say though, it depends more on the HPSF for heating.

    Good points.

Heh - when you work in the field you have those kinds of options.
I guess what I really need to do is try and work out exactly how much I really could save by doing this.
Anyways, thanks for your most informative response.
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This is Turtle.
I think you have spending some money on something no matter what it is. It would be nice if you told what part of the country you lived in but if not i will tell it both ways.
You taking out a $3,000.00 to $5,000.00 system to replace it with another $5,000.00 to $8,000.00 system put you in the hole by $8,000.00 to $12,000.00 and your hoping to get this money back in Utility savings. How long would you need to wait till you could get this $8,000.00 to $12,000.00 back in a 20% saving in your utility bill as they are right now and figuring in your money your hoping to get back will double every 10 years. So in 10 years from now this $8K to $12K will be $16K to $24K . these figure maybe high or low but the thought is still there as to tring to get great sumes of money by way of utility savings.
OH Yea, 1 to 5 years from now they will still be selling everything they sell today and nothing changes as to can't get something by looking before leaping.
I'm not saying not to do it or to change it but the ideal is your changing a system out JUST for utility savings. That has never been a good ideal for that reason alone. If your having system trouble or it is old , Yes change it.
Also to get this money back you would have to cut your utility bill by $133.00 a month every month for the next 5 years to get your money back. Then your going to have to figure in Interest on your money too.
TURTLE
P.S. Really what is being said here think somemore before jumping.
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TURTLE wrote:

In the DC area, so both heat and AC are a requirement.

    Yeah, I know - it won't be cheap (even then, if you figure a 20 year lifespan for these things, the current one is 25% of the way through).
    For just a 20% savings, it probably doesn't make sense. I was hoping that I could do quite a bit better than that - right now I have natural gas at $1.37/therm, and electricity at $0.059/KWh, and there are indications that natural gas may go quite a bit higher, and right now I am tied to a single fuel - natural gas.

    The current system may have been low-end, but it still works.

    People still earn interest on their money :-)???
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