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Time for a new heat pump?

Posted: June 29, 2007 in House & Garden

After moving in, and having a preview of how much power this place uses, we've decided to see what could be done to limit our power consumption. One of the areas that obviously needed attention was the continuously running hot tub. After a visit to a spa dealer, and speaking to an expert (who really was an expert), we discovered that our hot tub was most likely equipped with a timer. Once I got home, I did a little digging, found the access panel, and sure enough, there was not one but two timers, and both were set to "continuous operation". I switched the filter pump over to timer, and had it run twice a day. Much more efficient than running it 24/7. I left the temp timer off, and allowed it to run via the thermostat setting, which we keep on the lowest setting unless we're going to be using the tub.

Anyway, on to the heat pump.

One of the areas of the house that I immediately focused on was the fact that the house has a straight electric furnace. This is basically like a huge hair dryer, and it's definitely NOT cheap to operate. I called a well respected local HVAC shop and had a tech come out to check things out. After a thorough walk-through, he gave us several options. Basically, we would be pulling the 30+ year old furnace, and the builders-grade central AC unit and installing a top-end, high-efficiency heat pump that has a variable-speed fan, central humidity control, and a completely new main duct trunk.

The new unit would be about 60% more efficient on the AC side than our current AC unit, and three times more efficient on the heating side than our old furnace. This, coupled with other changes in the house, would seriously cut back on our power consumption (and resulting bill). Plus, if we decided to install solar panels (which we're also seriously looking into) the reduction in power consumption of the new system would give us a much better chance of the solar panels being able to cover 100% of our usage.

We have until the end of July to decide, and to explore other options (like wood pellet stoves, etc) before the $1000 mfgr's rebate expires.

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