Well, assuming one doesn't account for the energy inputs into producing
and transporting the gas which I'm quite sure aren't in the thought
Of course, thermal efficiency of central generation runs in the 30-40%
range whereas (modern) gas furnaces are 80% or higher so superficially
one knows where it's coming from.
But, of course, what's significant to the homeowner is what is the
cheaper alternative which can be the heat pump in many areas;
particularly if were geothermal instead of air-exchange.
But, as you say, only comparatively small amounts of the overall
electric grid are gas. I was looking at some data the other day and
iirc w/o looking it up again, it's about 9% nation-wide, about half of
nuclear. Much of that is peaking capacity although there are baseload
plants in areas that do have local large supplies or in some areas where
it was all that could be permitted when utilities had no choice but
needed more capacity.
It is, of course, a really silly way to use up natural gas supplies...
Of course it obviously isn't so, and it's not the energy to transport
it that's the big piece missing. A heat pump is not resistance
heat. For every KWH you put in, you get much more out than if it were
a resistor. 3X is typical. That's why the heat pump can be more
Also, most electricity is not generated from gas, but cheaper fuels
The point I was making is that a gas furnace isn't 80% (or whatever)
efficient, either, when one includes the energy required to produce and
distribute it, just as it doesn't make sense to talk about the
efficiency of the power plant for electric heat--
That would be true if you were talking about generating heat using
resistance heating. A heat pump is just that, a pump. It moves the
heat, as opposed to generating it. Which is why in most cases they
are cheaper to heat with than gas, down to a certain temp. In most
cases that temp is going to be at least in the 30s.
We had a heated discussion about this in another thread. If you run
the numbers, it's cheaper to use a heat pump here in NJ or probably
much of the northeast, down to about 32F. We have electricity costs
over 15 cents/KWH. If you live somewhere with cheap electricity or
expensive gas, the temp can be much lower. Bubba showed that with 8
cent electricity and an efficient pump, the heat pump is cheaper down
to even 10F.
How appropriate a heat pump is then depends on how much of the heating
season you would be below that economic transition point. Even if
you're below it some of the time, overall the heat pump could be more
cost effective to run. And a dual fuel, gas/heat pump would be even
I have had it checked by two different companies and both said it was
functioning just fine for whatever that is worth. Look at it this
way, how effective is an air conditioner going to be at keeping a 70
degree temperature when the outside air temp is over 120 degrees?
That is the same thing you are trying to do by keeping a house at 70
degrees when the outside temperature is 20 degrees. A heat pump works
on the difference in the temperatures and beyond a 30 degree
difference, it isn't efficient.
My heat pump is an air transfer type. It is a very efficient air
conditioner. It doesn't put out enough heat to keep the house warm in
the winter if the temps drop below 35. I have a pellet stove that I
use a lot in the winter but when I have trouble with it, the heat pump
just doesn't help much.
But I live in Michigan. I don't know how bas your winters are in
Dallas. If your area doesn't have freezing temps for weeks at a time,
you might be happy with an Air Transfer heat pump instead of the more
expensive (but better) Geothermal type.
I live in the Dallas area and unfortunately have an air transfer heat
(joke) pump. I can assure you that I am NOT happy with it and would
never recommend that anyone use one. They might be better that
resistance heating in the moderate temperature range but when the
temps drop below about 35 degrees they will eat your lunch on cost to
run. The colder it gets, the more they run and the less they heat.
When the temp drops below about 20-25 degrees, they are lucky to
maintain 65 degrees in the house. My thermostat was set at 67 degrees
and there were nights when the head pump ran the entire night and
couldn't hold the 67 degrees. Result was a $670 electric bill for the
month to heat a 2200 sq.ft. house.
It sounds like you have a heat pump that was either not sized properly
or the attached ductwork wasnt or both.
Granted, the temp coming from a heat pump registe is NOT the temp of
an oil or gas furnace but they do heat homes reasonably well.
When confronted with high fossil fuel cost they are a really good
alternative. Thats why the dual-fuel/hybrid systems are gaining such
popularity. It helps control your utility bill. In my particular area,
gas is high, electricity is low so heat pumps are typical.
You should have someone competent look your system over including
doing a heat loss/heat gain on your home and checking your duct system
for proper sizing (manual D). Armed with that, you will then have a
better understanding of what you have and what you need. By the way,
that service doesnt come free.
Then, with that ironed out and a properly set balance point (which as
trader said could be in the 30's or down into the single digits) you
will have an efficient comfortable system in your home.
It actually is a larger system than what should be needed for a house
They might work great in areas where the temperature never gets below
40 degrees but below that they lose efficiency so fast that they
become almost worthless. Below 20 degrees they can no longer extract
enough heat from the outside are to hold an interior temperature.
Most electricty plants use some form of fossil fuel and the conversion
to electricty followed by conversion to heat is very inefficient.
Direct conversion is always preferrable and less costly.
I have had this done, thank you and it was far from free. The system
is only 5 years old and has been maintained twice annually. The fact
is that it just sucks when the temperature drops.
Damn don't I wish. Better yet, I wish this damn neighborhood had
available gas service so I could get a good system.
Exactly as I seem to have stated. Why would you make it too big or too
small. A proper load calculation would tell you EXACTLY what size you
Nevermind. No response is needed. I see the start of a long thread.
Im glad to see you have been following along so well for the last
month. I guess we all have our own opinions of what a heat pump is
capable of. :-)
?? Direct conversion?? But most of us stopped burning coal for heat
maybe 50 yrs ago.
Nevermind. That one also needs no response.
I didnt say it was free but it doesnt appear that you had a CORRECT
load calculation done. If you had, you wouldnt have installed a larger
unit. Too bad.
but if you spend $600 or more to heat with a heat pump, what do you
think your gas bill would be? Im not sure but I dont think natural gas
is cheap in too many places.
I'd be curious to here all the facts from BobR's case in Dallas. We
only have one small part of the picture here, What we don't know:
Backup heat source? gas? electric resistance?
Cost of electriciy
Cost of gas?
What size house is running that $700 bill, which I assume is for the
If it's that inefficient, have you replaced it with something else and
what are the bills then?
On Feb 20, 8:51 am, email@example.com wrote:
The backup is electric resistance and doesn't seem to be able to
overcome the cold when it goes below about 35 degrees. Cost of
electricty is 14.5 kwh if I recall correctly. Since I don't have gas
available now, don't know the cost but do know that the electric rates
are based on gas cost. The house is about 2300 sq ft and the $700 was
for December-January (10-10th). The cost was similar last year for
most of winter.
Bought this house three years ago. Prior house had 3500 sq.ft. with
gas heat and the highest electric bill ever was about $270 (Summer of
97) with highest gas bill of $95. Normal electric bill for winter
months was $120 with gas running $80. Summer saw the gas drop to $25
with electric around $225.
Continue to pay through their ass just like I am until they can afford
to replace the entire piece of crap. In the mean time, I will
continue to let them know that heat pumps are NOT all that some people
try to make them seem. I have several neighbors who would concur with
that as well.
You need to understand. If you have a heat pump with electric heat
back up, your heat pump will continue to produce more heat for the
dollar than straight electric heat. You will find the exact point by
looking at a performance chart of your unit. Yes, as it gets colder
out, it will seem like the damn thing runs forever and the air coming
out is cold but if properly installed it WILL provide heat cheaper
than your resistance electric heat until the COP's get to a 1:1 ratio.
Now if your heat pump is teamed up with natural gas, propane or oil,
then you will have to use one of the calculators to get an idea at
what point you want to shut the heat pump off using the economic
balance point and thermal balance point calculations.
If you had been following along these past weeks you would have caught
on to a little bit of this over the rhetoric being exchanged.
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