Recently bought a house in the Seattle area, built about 1980. At the time
the house was built, there was no gas in the area. The house has a heat
pump, which is nearing the end of its life. Natural gas is now available in
the area. I'm wondering if I should go with another heat pump, or natural
gas. Since about 80% of the electricity here is hydro, it's relatively
cheap, about $.08/KWH. I don't know what the price of the gas is per cu',
but I could find out. Is there a way I could get a rough estimate of how
much natural gas I would consume to heat the house, based on the electricity
used for this purpose? There are a lot of confounding factors, the relative
efficiency of the 2 units (old heat pump vs new nat'l gas furnace), the fact
that I also use electric to heat water, etc. (can probably find some rough
figure for factoring this out) the relative costs of each type of
replacement (I would add AC to the gas furnace, so I'm guessing the gas/AC
unit would cost more to buy initially than the heat pump, especially if I
have to shell out for the gas line to be run). Coming from the midwest,
electric heat was always seen as significatly more costly than natural gas,
but I don't know if this is still the case just in general, and particularly
if it would be true given this region's relatively low electric rates. Any
helpful comments appreciated.
Here. Lets confuse you just a bit more.
Whats wrong with a 95% gas furnace with a heat pump instead of the
usual straight cooling only?
Ive got it and love it. Gives you a bit more ability to play with the
fuel prices. Takes only a Honeywell Vision Pro stat (and outddor temp
sensor) to control it all.
Your electric is about half what I pay. You can plug in numbers here to get
a pretty good comparison based on using the same Btu for your house. You
need to know the cost of gas, of course.
Dan, I live in "The Energy City" where they have cheap hydro-power
and a nearby nuclear power plant. We can generate more electricity to
supply all of New York City in one of out buildings, yet heating the
house with natural gas is less expensive than electrically heated. I
have all gas appliances, except for A/C. You might get a better clue
by talking with your neighbors.
Agree. There is confusion of terms from the beginning of this
thread. The term "electric heat" is usually used to refer to systems
using resistance heating elements. Heat pump is a system that uses a
compressor powered by electricity. And another factor is heat pumps
can then use either air or geothermal to exchange the heat. Heat
pumps systems usually have a backup heat source, usually electric to
be used at lower temps. There is a world of difference in terms of
operating costs between resistance heat and a heat pump. Just about
everywhere, nat gas is going to be cheaper than electric resistance
heating to operate. But a heat pump system could be a good
alternative, depending on the climate and fuel costs.
I don't know what confusion you're referring to, when I started this thread
I clearly stated I now have & am considering a heat pump for replacement.
Like most heat pumps, my current system has resistive backup heat for when
it's really cold, but such low temps are pretty rare around here. I'm
aware of geothermal heat pumps, though I have not researched them in depth.
Our lot is a little over 1 acre, but about 80% of that is heavily forested
and on fairly rough terrain. Obviously, the installation costs of such a
system, whether the horizontal or vertical variety, would be significantly
higher than simply plopping another box on the ground. Either way, I may
not be living here more than about 5 years, so recouping higher installation
costs over time, even for just a top of the line "high efficiency" gas or
air-source heat pump, let alone a geo, is probably not going to happen.
Another factor is the potential price stability of the 2 energy sources. No
one has a crystal ball, but it seems logical to expect the price of
hydro-sourced electricity to be more stable over time than natural gas.
Thanks all for the replies.
The title of you post was "How to compare electric heat vs natural gas
heat". That's confusing, because what you're talking about is a heat
pump, not resistance electric heat. Phisherman responded with a
post saying where he lives, even with low electricity costs, electric
heat is more expensive. I think what he means is electric resistance
heat, not an electrically drive heap pump, is more expensive. But
there is no way of knowing when you misuse the commonly acceptedus
Nope! He aint kiddin. Trader4 is an EE. That classifies him as a grade
A #1 pencil pushing geek pain in the ass. Self proclaimed know-it-all
on everything. In reality, he's pretty clueless about most everything.
Just let him live in his "own little world", ignore him and everything
will be all right. :-)
No, I'm not kidding you, only trying to point out that the answers
you're getting may in some cases be wrong because people may have been
mislead by the title of your post. If you want to get responses
that are answering a question that was different than what you
intended, that's up to you. For example, are you sure Phisherman
understood you meant a heat pump when you titled your post "How to
compare electric heat vs nautral gas heat?" I'd put odds on that he
was thinking electric resistance heating because that's what the term
"electric heat" usually means and I think that's what his answer was
based on. Pete C picked up on that too, when he questioned whether
Phisherman really meant electric resistance heat or a heat pump
system. I was only trying to point out that the thread may have
gone a bit astray because of confusion and that maybe his response was
not what he really meant.
Here for reference is the definition of an electric heater:
An electric heater is an electrical appliance that converts electrical
energy into heat. The heating element inside every electric heater is
simply an electrical resistor, and works on the principle of Joule
heating: an electric current flowing through a resistor converts
electrical energy into heat energy.
Sorry that my attempt to straighten out some possible confusion, which
is pretty much what Pete C did too, got you so bothered that you've
followed Bubba, the village idiot, and turned it into a personal
That I was referring to an existing and possible replacement HEAT PUMP was
made abundantly clear in the beginning of the post. I'm afraid your
exacting editorial standards exceed the rigors of the medium. It's a
newsgroup, not a journal article.
Lighten up, you'll live longer.
In any case, I'm not going to go back and forth about this all weekend, so
go ahead and have the last word.
It's not a case of exacting editorial standards. You apparently
think everyone replying to some part of this thread, must have entered
the thread at the very beginning and read your entire post. It's
very possible they saw the title "How to compare electric vs natural
gas heating costs and only read some of the later posts from people
trying to reply with advice, where I think it became unclear if the
discussion was now about heat pumps, as you intended, or if some
replies were about electric resistance heating. Again, I refer you
back to the point where there was a response that looked like they may
have been talking about resistance heating, not heat pumps. Pete C
pointed this response out too. All I did is point out how people
might have gone astray because of the wording of the title.
But apparently you're so sensitive you'd rather have incorrect answers
from a thread going astray rather than have someone point out the
possible reason for the confusion and get the thread back on track so
you can get valid answers.
If you want more answers regarding heat pumps vs natural gas, try
googling for it in this newsgroup. There have been many discussion
threads which you will find.
On Sun, 9 Dec 2007 05:09:57 -0800 (PST), email@example.com wrote:
I told you Dan, the guy (trader4.....) is a freaking idiot. Make sure
you dot your I's and puncuate correctly. Otherwise he will find
something else to nitpick. An EE with an adgenda. What a miserable
life he must lead.
I noticed you yourself still feel compelled to have the last word
though. And that's after saying you were done with this a couple
As for arguing vs discussing, again, all I did was point out that some
of the responses may be from folks who were confused by your choice of
terminology in the post title. It seems Pete C also thought Phisherman
may have been talking about resistance electric heat when he gave his
reply Hmmm, could it be because he came in on the middle of the
thread, saw your post titled "How to compare electric vs natural gas
heating cost" read some replies and perhaps never read the body of
your post? I was polite and only tried to maybe get the track back
on thread. You, in turn attacked me, personally.
So, here's a thought. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure
out the advantages of a heat pump vs natural gas. You could just
search this group. It's been asked, discussed and answered dozens of
time. A simple google search will also uncover plenty of websites
where it's discussed. And while you're there, sensitive genius that
you are, maybe you'll learn that people don't refer to heat pumps as
On Sun, 9 Dec 2007 15:46:18 -0800 (PST), firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
But you trader4 will NEVER figure out that no one really gives a rats
ass what you say. I will admit though, you can be quite annoying and
quite a boring little drip. Kind of like a pimple on my ass. "Pop".
Oh, there you go. All gone.
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