Heat Pump in new house - are they worth it

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by perennial, Feb 23, 2005.

  1. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    I'm researching for us for when we either build modular or buy new. Came across Heat Pump underground as heating/cooling unit for houses. Does anyone have it and do you like it? What backup heat do you have. How much
    does it cost you approx. for heating with it?

    thanks, brural
     
  2. NWSneaky

    NWSneaky Well-Known Member

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    I installed one in a barn twenty-years ago. In cold weather it was woefully inadequate. Much depends on MANY feet of deeply buried pipe and a totally insulated building. HUGE gamble.
     

  3. mikell

    mikell Well-Known Member

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    As long as it's professionally engineered it can be wonderful. Your electric company may give low interest loans to install them. They say they can be 380% efficient.

    mikell


    http://www.tecmi.com/
     
  4. Chas in Me

    Chas in Me Well-Known Member

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    We are located in Northern Maine. We put a heat pump in a new modular four years ago.
    We average about $110 per month for electricity. That runs the heat pump, hot water heater, clothes dryer and stove. My wife has a sewing shop in the house and that is also included.
    No Chimney, No Oil Trucks, No Flames in the house.
    Wouldn't trade.
     
  5. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

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    When I visited So. VA, it was mighty rocky. Might be costly to install.
     
  6. Jenn

    Jenn Well-Known Member Supporter

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    A geothermal heatpump is what I plan to do when I have a say in the matter someday. My brother's house has it and he and his housemates recommend it highly. I know it was expensive at the start but I think they've recouped the expense or will soon. They have water piped through the basement floor as part of the home heating/cooling system. It did take up a big area of lawn etc and they have to keep track noone injures the piping system.
     
  7. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    I have had a ground source heatpump for 14 years. It is warm, comfortable and clean and most of all cheap to operate. I have a heat strip in the unit in event of failure as backup plus propane fire logs. Never had to use the heat strip. My winter power bill is about comparable to the neighbors but without the expense of the gas or oil that they additionally pay for. In the summer months the ground source heatpump is really cheap for the air conditioning due to its efficiency. As a total electric home I do get some discounts on off peak water heating and power shedding but I have never noticed any short comings of this either. The unit cost a little over $3000 to install in 1990. Never regrettted it.
     
  8. shepsrus

    shepsrus Member

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    We just (two months ago) installed a geothermal unit in our new build (5200 square feet including the basement and loft). We have 6 runs of 800 feet buried 10 feet deep--incoming water temperature is (was--haven't checked it in a while) 43 F, leaving temp is 28F. Two units were installed--a forced air (water to air heat transfer) as a back-up unit and AC, and a hydronic (water to water) unit to heat the water for the in-floor heat.

    Absolutely love it!

    Quoted more than $25000 for installation of geothermal only.
    Installed all of it ouselves for less than $10000. This also included two floors of in-floor heat--this was not included in the $25k quote.

    Total heating cost per month $250 (in WI). HOWEVER! We are not yet set up on off-peak electric--we have our hydronic unit for heating the water for the floor disconnected at the moment, and our ceiling is currently only R13 (don't ask)! With off-peak electric and fixing the ceiling insulation, our calculations show our heating costs to be around $100 per month. Several people we have talked to have similar heating bills.

    We did a lot of research on what brand to buy and the installation particulars--a definite learning experience, but would do it again in a heartbeat. I think the most important aspect of the project is customer service. When we have a question/problem, they have been great answering!

    Lesley (shepsrus)
     
  9. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    shepsrus, my highest utility bill ever was for a 34 day winter period and me working in my shop and it was $170. Many of the summer months the bill is less than $70 with whole house AC and it is a large house.
     
  10. Susan4

    Susan4 Member

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    We put in an electric heat pump last year in our new house and it works fine, our electric bills have been $100 or less with one month higher when we had to go on backup during a really cold spell. This is in a very well insulated new house which certainly helps as well. We have electric backup and a wood stove. We couldn't afford the ground source but so far are pleased regardless. I'm very happy not to have the propane bomb in the yard!

    Susan4
     
  11. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

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    As long as it is properly engineered. Make sure the people putting it in and designing it know exactly what they are doing. Get references. When they work they are extremely efficient and cheap to run. When they don't work they are an incredible headache and pain in the ass.

    I was going to put one in when I was building my house but I just couldn't swing the cost even with electric company incentives. I had to go with a conventional forced air furnace and A/C heating with propane. If I had the money I'd have put one in no question.
     
  12. perennial

    perennial Well-Known Member

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    The modular builder we are checking out has that included with price of home. I will ask who makes it and who installs it. Any other questions i should ask regarding it?

    Thanks for the input.
     
  13. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    Get the units efficiency rating and ask the additional price to upgrade to a high efficiency one if the rating in mediocre. Also opt for one that scavanges the heat for your domestic hot water. These heatpumps really should not cost more than a conventional heat pump other than the expense of the loop. These units are really simple and are more like a refrigerator as they are a sealed one piece unit. A heat exchanger with the Kanthal type tubing supposedly prevents any buildup on the exchanger tubes but with a good solution being circulated that should not be a problem regardless. Ask for the life expectancy of the ground loop tubing and insist on no splices if possible.
     
  14. shepsrus

    shepsrus Member

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    agmantoo--

    Nice to hear about the electric bills. Hope ours are that low! We are in West Central WI. I didn't add that I expected our heating bills to be $100/month--not during the summer!

    Yup! Add a "desuperheater" if possible--ours scavanges about 10% of the heat from the refrigerant and uses it to heat our water--bingo--free hot water (especially in the summer when the AC is on)!

    What do you use as fluid in your system? We used windshield washer fluid (versus RV-tyoe antifreeze).

    Lesley