HVAC - Oil or electric backup for new heat pump? Or oil heat only?

Hi, We live in southeast PA, near Philadelphia. We have a heat pump for heat and central air, with an oil furnace backup. We need to replace the heat pump because it has a Freon leak. It's 25 years old, so it's probably time.
We've had three sales people out, and they each recommend different options. Should we:
1. Replace the heat pump and add electric backup, eliminating the oil furnace? Electricity here is about 14.5 cents/kwh, though supposedly there's a discount for all-electric houses.
2. Replace the heat pump and keep the oil backup? The furnace is also about 25 years old, but it hasn't run that much because it's backup only. It tested at 82% efficiency last fall. One rep told me new ones were about 86-90% efficiency. But another rep told us the old furnace fan can't be used with a new heat pump.
3. Make the oil furnace our primary heat and just replace the central air? I do like the feel of hot air coming out of the vents when it's cold.
Thanks for any insights or suggestions!
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This is the option I would choose. It eliminates the oil tank, and the chances of a spill.

Depends on how many gallons of oil you use each year, and other associated costs. If you are using enough oil to make the cost of a new more efficient furnace worthwhile, you need to consider a more efficient heat pump.

As the price of heating oil goes up you will enjoy the heat the you get from your wallet. This will turn out to be an expensive choice.
--
George Eberhardt
(732)224-8988
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"This is the option I would choose. It eliminates the oil tank, and the chances of a spill. "
Even given the fact that he lives near Philadelphia? I'm in at the central NJ shore and I don't know anyone here that uses a heat pump. This area has to be borderline for cost effectiveness.
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Me too.

There is... Can you qualify if you keep the old furnace?

Sounds pretty good.

Maybe. With a large lean-to sunspace or "solar siding" over the south wall of the house, the backup fuel bill may become unimportant.

A sunspace can do that too :-)
Nick
Tired of Iraq? Do something about it. Learn to halve your energy use while having fun with math and science.
Join PE Drew Gillett and PhD Rich Komp and me for a workshop on Solar House Heating and Natural Cooling Strategies at the first Pennsylvania Renewable Energy Festival on Saturday September 24, 2005 near Allentown. See
http://www.paenergyfest.com/workshop-info.shtml
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