Yes, if the ductwork is inadequite it will cost you not only in operational
cost, but will effect the longevity of the equipment.
(and remember, HP's require larger ducting then standard heating & cooling
I don't feel there is enough difference to warrant a price difference.
The answer on maintenance is no, the cost for maintenance of AC and HP
units is not as high as maintaining a gas furnace in the Pacific
Northwest. Lots of HVAC people recommend lots of maintenance on AC
and HP units but there is little that goes wrong. Keep the outside
units clean, keep the inside heat exchanger clean and that's pretty
much it until something happens. Our AC received light duty for years
and didn't receive any maintenance (except cleaning) for nearly 20
years and only oiling and adding 1/2 pound of freon in the last year.
Gas furnaces have complicated controls and and open flame and
definitely need periodic maintenace (just not as often as some dealers
would like you to sign up for). Our gas furnace has remained very
clean burnng for 3 years, but in that time required replacement of
parts twice (covered by the warranty) that would have been very
expensive. And neither replacements had anything to do with normal
maintenance, otherwise they would not have been paid as we do not have
a maintenance contract.
125 a year might be a little high for a gas furnace but would be very
high for maintenance of a HP or AC.
First, lets get this out of the way......
As you are not in the field, don't go giving advice on something you know
Just tell me exactly what should be checked every year to insure that a unit
is operating properly.
While you're at it, can you also tell us what needs to be inspected on a
'gas fired' furnace?
All depends.....'lots of maintenance' no, just annual service.
(there is a difference)
I'd rather fix something simple on a routine service than to have a major
repair do to poor maintenance.
Remember, things are not made like they once used to be.
Again, don't be giving advice on some trade that you don't fully understand.
Routine maintenance schedules vary for different equipment, installed in
(i.e. some furnaces need annual inspections, some don't....it all depends)
For safety they should all be checked annually.
Checking how the burners burn, is not the only thing that should be checked!
And now you all of a sudden know what it cost/takes to do our job eh?
Why the difference in cost, isn't an hour an hour?
Same service call for both, they both take a tech with tools.
I guess we should charge $30/hr so we can make minimum wage like you to eh?
Area's vary in price range, with out being in the business, and knowing the
prices in an area, you just can't say a price.
Not really that many anymore, I would have to say........when electric power
was real cheap a few decades ago many people used electric baseboard, floor
or ceiling resistance heating........
But if by "furnace" you mean air handlers having electric heat strips
installed, yes these are now quite common in this area, chiefly being used
for backup heating in heat pump installations--likely more common than
gas......this probly due to the fact that gas may not always be readily
available at every given location.
I believe it would be a very good area for a heat pump, unless you are
north east (in the mountains). However I would pay attention to what the
local HVAC professionals say. Be sure to have all the correct calculations
done before you decide.
In the past you have been blessed with very low electric rates, but that
is coming to an end. That would tend to push the choice to heat pumps.
Heat pumps start loosing effectiveness at about 40 F. Stick with gas heat
and a straight cool unit.
Ceiling fans cool people not spaces. When your in the room they work when
you leave turn them off.
play what if on this page http://184.108.40.206/ac_calc/default.asp
Heat pump sucks the heat out of the atmosphere, then spits it back out
inside. As the outdoor temperature drops, it gets harder to suck the
heat and since the outside coil will be operating below air temperature
in sub-freezing environment, it will accumulate ice. The system needs
to run a defrost mode by running in air conditioner mode ocasionally.
The combination of temperature difference it must create and defrost
cycle makes a heat pump relatively inefficient in extreme cold.
In the Pacific NW, gas should be cheaper. I'd say go with a 90%+
condensing furnace. State of Washington might have a tax credit program
for energy efficient furnace like Oregon.
Worth checking into.
This has been a tremendous help. A special Thanks to KJPRO, the info you
sent is superb and will let me make a much better decision than I would
have. I don't feel at the mercy of sales folks anymore, in this area at
I am going to sit down with a couple of HVAC folks in the area, including
the one who is working for the builder, and run the following scenarios by
1. HP for main heat and cooling without gas furnace backup
2. HP for main heat and cooling with gas furnace backup
3. Gas furnace, as is, with ducting and coil to enable addition of HP or AC
at a later date
4. Gas furnace with AC
5. Gas furnace with ceiling fans
I think that covers them all, it will be interesting to see what response I
get to cost/benefit and ROI trade-offs.
in a cold climate i would not get the heat pump.. go for the natural gas
if it is available in your area....the heat pump takes heat from the
outside and brings it inside.....in a sub degree outside you dont have
much heat to get??? so try heating up the inside with natural gas.....
in south louisiana where i am the temp might get to 40 or so and
sometimes it might get to 20-30 but that is rare.. so a heat pump here
is perfect if you want it.. i got natural gas and it works fine, natural
gas here is cheap so that might be something to look at when installing
hope this helped....
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