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Waldothe3rd
Premium
join:2009-02-16
Sun N Sand

Heater / Central Air recommendations

My house has a ~50+ year old heater (no A/C) and I'm considering purchasing a new unit along with A/C. Just wondering what a "best deal for the $$" brand would be.
Opinions?

neonturbo

join:2009-02-27
Lansing, MI
Gas, propane, oil, electric, heat pump?????????

Next, is it steam, hot water, hot air, baseboard electric???????

Too many variables, no information.


pferrie3

join:2005-01-27
Boston, MA
said by neonturbo:

Gas, propane, oil, electric, heat pump?????????

Next, is it steam, hot water, hot air, baseboard electric???????

Too many variables, no information.

you forgot geothermal


jack b
Gone Fishing
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-08
Cape Cod
kudos:1
and wood.


UHF
All static, all day, Forever
Premium,MVM
join:2002-05-24
reply to Waldothe3rd
and the location. Climate is important.

Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
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reply to Waldothe3rd
and coal.

What kind of heating system do you have now? My folks had a oil fired steam heating system and in 1972 wanted to add central air. The home was about 65 Miles North of NYC which meant plenty of cold weather. It was impossible to install the duct work for a simple hot air system. The best solution was a split oil fired circulating hot water/hot air system with a central furnace with an air handler in the basement and attic with a water to air heat exchanger in each air handler. That design was vetoed because it was very expensive. They had an outlet installed in each room for a window air conditioner.

Here is information on how to compare the price of propane to electric for heating and cooking. The same technique can be used if you prefer oil heat.

#############################################################

What costs most, electricity or propane?

RV folks often wonder which source of energy is more costly to use. Keep in mind that in many RV parks the site includes electricity so those situations make it pretty clear since they don't include propane. But when you stay for longer periods, then most parks charge a monthly rate, plus electricity. Here are a few facts that with simple math should allow you to compare the two and get your answer.

Remember that the rate charged by RV parks for electric power varies widely. Escapee parks do not add any profit margin to the bill that they pay, but many parks do this. I have seen rates in the past year that ranged from a low of $0.09 to as much as $0.21 per kilowatt hour. Keep in mind that these numbers are for the portable electric heaters that we use in our RVs or for electric baseboard heat that some owners have added.

This is in no way applicable to a heat pump because that is not electric heat, but simply a device that collects heat energy from the outside are and sends it inside. It is impossible to give an efficiency for an RV heat pump because there are several manufacturers and they will vary. In addition, the efficency of a heat pump ranges very widely from warm temperatures where it can supply a great deal of heat with little power, while as the temperature falls below 35 degrees or so, the heat pump becomes very inefficient.

This information also would not apply to the heat strips found in some RV air conditioners, because the fan motor for it is outside of the RV and so heat lost from it is not supplied to the interior, and so that kind of electric heat is less than 100% efficient, probably more like 90% or a bit less, but I am only guessing on that one.

Some facts to compare propane and electricity:

One kW hour of electricity is 3,412 Btu's.

One gallon of propane is 91,502 Btu's.

One pound of propane is 21,548 Btu's.

Comparing cost of propane to cost of electricity:

Multiply the propane price per gallon by 0.037 to give the equivalent price per kilowatt hour of electricity, ignoring the efficiency factors.

Multiply the electricity price per kWh by 27.0 to give the equivalent price per gallon of propane ignoring efficiency.

For those who pay for propane by the pound/bottle:

The typical 20# tank holds 4.7 Gallons of propane.

A 30# holds 7 Gallons of propane.

Fuel efficiencies for each:

For heating applications we can consider electricity as 100% efficient. For each Kwh you get 3412 Btu's of energy exchanged to the surrounding medium:

The air in your RV if you use an electric heater, ceramic or other

The water in your hot water heater

The heat tube in your refrigerator

Propane fired appliances of the typical RV variety IMO have very low efficiency. The hot air furnace is the worst, with, in many cases perhaps as little as 50% efficiency. Never assume any more than 70%.

Modern water heaters are a bit higher, but I doubt if any will be better than 70% efficiency and would consider that to be generous.

The refrigerator is probably the highest, approaching 80-90% due to the enclosed space in the chimney.

In my mixed usage, I would allow an overall efficiency a 70%, no more. This means, that a gallon of propane instead of 91,502 Btu's only delivers a usable 64,051 Btu's due to the losses in the appliances.

In other terms, the 20# bottle you just had filled only gives you 14# of usable Btu's or the motorhome bottle that took 15 gallons will actually supply 10.5 gallons of usable energy. A better way to look at this when comparing the cost of each is to consider each at it's usable energy level.

Effective energy comparisons:

One kW hour of electricity is 3,412 Btu's.

One gallon of propane is 91,502 X 70% efficiency equals 64,051 Btu's.

One pound of propane is 21,548 X 70% efficiency equals 15,083 Btu's.

Volume comparisons allowing for efficiency:

One gallon of propane is equal in useful energy to 18.8 KWh of electricity.

One pound of propane is equal in useful energy to 4.4 KWh of electricity.

Multiply the propane price per gallon by 0.0533 to give the equivalent price per kilowatt hour of electricity, considering the efficiency factors.

Multiply the electricity price per kWh by 18.8 to give the equivalent price per gallon of propane, considering efficiency.

Multiply propane cost per pound by .226 to determine equivalent price per kilowatt hour.

Multiply the cost per kilowatt hour by 4.4 to determine equivalent price per pound of propane.

############################################################


cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
reply to Waldothe3rd
Since you're installing A/C then it boils down to the cost of the existing heat source and the cost of electricity.
If you have gas then a heat pump may or may not be worth it depending on prices. If you have electric heat, propane or oil then a heat pump will generally be much cheaper to operate.
The difference between a simple A/C and heat pump is about $500.
Geothermal is *EXPENSIVE*. Depending on what needs to be done you're looking at $30-80k before tax incentives.
So what do you currently have for heating? Baseboards? Forced air?


cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
reply to Mr Matt
said by Mr Matt:

Effective energy comparisons:

One kW hour of electricity is 3,412 Btu's.

One gallon of propane is 91,502 X 70% efficiency equals 64,051 Btu's.

That is for resistive heating. Heat pumps have an apparent 260%+ efficiency at freezing temperatures, even higher at higher temperatures.
[Apparent efficiency] = [Amount of heat energy brought in]/[Amount of electric energy used]


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to Waldothe3rd
Too many variables

1 - What is available through concractors around you (No manufacturer will honor the warranty if it wasn't installed by a licensed contractor).

2 - What contractors who offer X product will charge for labor

3 - If you'll go gas/electricity/oil/propane for heating. If you go electricity, you'll need to be upgraded to 200A which can add 1000$-2000$ to the furnace installation

It's very regional and case by case.
Your best bet is to call multiple contractors to get quotes and recommendations, then come back here with what they told you.

iknow
Premium
join:2012-03-25
reply to Waldothe3rd
it depends where you live, where is "Sun N Sand" i've never heard of that state, is it in the U.S.?? it makes a BIG difference!. prices vary wildly depending on where you live.


hortnut
Huh?

join:2005-09-25
PNW
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to Waldothe3rd
Here is a cost of heating worksheet. Just enter the costs for your area for the different fuel sources, climate, square footage and a few other factors to determine some of the costs of operation. It does not cover the cost of installing new machinery.

»www.travisindustries.com/CostOfH···kSht.asp


cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
said by hortnut:

Here is a cost of heating worksheet. Just enter the costs for your area for the different fuel sources, climate, square footage and a few other factors to determine some of the costs of operation. It does not cover the cost of installing new machinery.

»www.travisindustries.com/CostOfH···kSht.asp

That does not include heat pumps.
For a typical heat pump the cost would be somewhere around 38% to 30% of electric heating.


Waldothe3rd
Premium
join:2009-02-16
Sun N Sand
reply to Waldothe3rd
Thanks all,
First, please forgive the lapse in answering as I suffered a network outage here.
The heater is a natural gas, forced air unit with duct-work in the attic. The heater will definitely need replacing as it is a 50+ y.o. unit and can not accommodate A/C.

I live in So Calif where "we only need A/C a week or two during August / Sept", but lately the heat-days have been on the increase.
I know there are many variables like the possibility of asbestos around the duct-work, the necessity of additional insulation, etc. I'm just looking for opinions on which manufacturer would be the best buy for the money based on reliability, cost of operation, etc.

I thank you in advance, -W

Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
Reviews:
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You might get better results if you also consider adding insulation to the house. In the 1960's the cost of fuel so low most builders did not spend much on insulation. By adding insulation you might also be able to install a smaller HVAC System which will have a lower initial and operating cost.

Check with your local power company to see if they offer free home energy audits. If they do, they can provide you with a comprehensive list of changes you can make to lower energy cost. You might also check with the auditor about tax incentives and rebates from the power company and or the state. Also find out if the local POCO offers incentives to install a radiant barrier.
Expand your moderator at work


BillRoland
Premium
join:2001-01-21
Ocala, FL
kudos:3
reply to Waldothe3rd

Re: Heater / Central Air recommendations

I've been very happy with my Trane XL16i heatpump.

boombie

join:2000-12-01
Milwaukee, WI
reply to Waldothe3rd
Pictures of what you have would be nice


cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7
reply to Waldothe3rd
said by Waldothe3rd:

I'm just looking for opinions on which manufacturer would be the best buy for the money based on reliability, cost of operation, etc.

For comparing products of the same type, look for the SEER, AFUE, COP, EER, and/or HSPF. These are all measures of actual or relative efficiency of the unit. The higher the number, the more efficient they are but the equipment costs will generally be higher as well.

Every major brand will have comparable main line of equipment with almost identical features as most if not all other brands. There may be a few niche features that are proprietary to a brand but they aren't usually "essential" features. Warranties and reliability are also likely to be similar across the board. You will find people that have their [insert brand] unit run flawlessly for 25 years and you'll find others that say their [same brand] unit failed as soon as the installer left.

Just a few major companies sell many of the units that you'd recognize the brand names of. Carrier/Bryant, Trane/American-Standard, Goodman/Amana. The list goes on. In some cases identical units are sold with just a different sticker slapped on the front. Some manufacturers may also make other manufacturers components, and some of internal components may only come from just a couple major suppliers (e.g. heat pump and AC compressors).
Here are some of the relationships over the years.

What matters just as much if not more then the brand of a unit is the installer who installs it and backs it. A hack that installs a top of the line unit improperly or sized wrong is far worse then a great dealer that sells just a middle of the road unit that's sized right. Call around to several different reputable contractors in your area and get separate detailed quotes. Don't just get a rough estimate over the phone. The contractors that want your business will likely be about the same price range as the others for the same grade of equipment and warranty. Seriously scrutinize any offers that seem significantly lower, and the ones that high ball you either don't want your business, screwing you in some manner, or just don't want to be competitive.


cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7
reply to cowboyro
said by cowboyro:

Depending on what needs to be done you're looking at $30-80k before tax incentives.

If you are paying $80k for geothermal, you're either dumb, nuts, or have an ungodly huge house.


pende_tim
Premium
join:2004-01-04
Andover, NJ
kudos:1
reply to cowboyro
Also missing is fossil fueled furnace efficiency.


tstolze
Premium
join:2003-08-08
O Fallon, MO
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Charter
reply to cowboyro
said by cowboyro:

Geothermal is *EXPENSIVE*. Depending on what needs to be done you're looking at $30-80k before tax incentives.

Pricing varies, but $30,000 is starting way to high, I had my 2 ton Geo done for just over $14,000. A general rule in my area is around $5000/ton of heating/cooling with 3+ ton units.
--
Ofallon, Mo Weather
St. Peters, Mo Weather

Automate

join:2001-06-26
Atlanta, GA
said by tstolze:

I had my 2 ton Geo done for just over $14,000.

Most of the cost of Geo is in the ground heat exchanger. What kind do you have vertical/horizontal/well/pond?


tstolze
Premium
join:2003-08-08
O Fallon, MO
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Charter
said by Automate:

said by tstolze:

I had my 2 ton Geo done for just over $14,000.

Most of the cost of Geo is in the ground heat exchanger. What kind do you have vertical/horizontal/well/pond?

Vertical closed loop...and this price was before the federal tax credit.
--
Ofallon, Mo Weather
St. Peters, Mo Weather