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heat pumps

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Sep 11, 2013, 10:29 PM
heat pumps
any reliable sites to get a better understanding of how heat pumps work and the pros and cons of having one we are building a house in eastern tn,, and i sort of feel the heat pump will not be warm enough for us in the winter months( we like warm in our house) any ideas would be helpful THANKS
Sep 11, 2013, 11:15 PM
Lots of folks in Arizona have them. They work great until it gets cold. There are complaints starting at about 35 degrees (OK our blood is thin here!). They don't seem to work well at all at low temps. We had five nights last year that dropped in the 20's and the outcry was loud.
But I was very happy in my gas heated home. No issues.
Sep 12, 2013, 07:55 AM
A simple way to picture how a heat pump works just picture how a window A/C works.
Cold goes in, heat goes out. Now add a reversing valve in the Freon line. Then the heat goes in, cold goes out.
Since your building a new home you have the options of building it above minimum code as far as insulation and sealing goes so it would take less energy to heat and cool.
In your area I think I would choose the gas back up packaged unit instead of what's called a split unit.
The difference is gas heat would kick in instead of electric powered heat strips if the unit can not keep up when it gets to cold.
What's other people using in the area where your building this home? Why not ask them how what there using is working out?
All my homes in VA (3) have heat pumps and all have worked out fine.
One thing we have done is installed a back up source of heat in all of them. More for use as an emergency heat source of heat in case of loss of power then to supplement the lack of heating.
Adding a propane or natural gas fire place in your home design can look nice and give you that extra boost of heat if it's ever needed.

Sep 12, 2013, 02:32 PM
down here in the part of the country that God blessed
the South....heat pumps are not used...because our climate does not warrant them. my opinion would be biased...i dont like em!!! Big Grin

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Frodo,
Sep 12, 2013, 03:28 PM
Heat pumps are widely used in my part of the south but only if your neighborhood doesn't have gas available. If you have gas, I'd use natural gas over any other form of heat.

I had a heat pump in my first house in Pennsylvania. It was a 1800 square foot townhouse and when I built I had a chimney put in so I could put a wood stove in the basement. During the cold of winter I used wood. The heat pump was an upgrade that gave me AC, the other units had baseboard electric and no AC. Except in the mountains of PA AC is about mandatory in the summer. My neighbors that didn't pay the extra $2500 for the heat pump (1984) really regretted it in July and August.

Heat pumps as mosternaz points out work fine until the temperatures drop below about 35F then the "emergency" heat kicks in which is usually electric resistance heat. The air coming out of heat pump ducts tends to be cool to the touch, where gas fired furnaces put out air that feels warm to the touch. In the case of heat pump the air might be 75 degrees, cooler than your skin temperature so it feels cool. Whereas a gas furnace will put out air that is warmer than your skin temperature so it feels warmer.

If you don't have gas available I might consider a heat pump with a propane back-up. If you have gas, I'd go with a gas furnace and an AC unit. Gas packs are pretty common here in homes with with low crawlspaces but they are gas furnaces and air conditioners in one unit, not a heat pump. They tend to have a shorter life than a gas furnace in the basement or crawlspace and a compressor located outside.

General Disclaimer

Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
Sep 12, 2013, 06:37 PM
well i do have nat gas available,, so i was thinking along the lines of a gas furnace for the basboard heating and my hot water source and just having central a c for the house.. this way it may be the best of both worlds,, any input to this idea?? THANKS to all that have responded,, thank you
Sep 12, 2013, 07:40 PM
yes...i think a BOILER AND A HEAT Exchanger for water would be the way to go..if i did not have to have ac.i would go hydronic heat...base board heaters, little higher up front, but saves in the long run
Sep 12, 2013, 08:55 PM
Heat pump heat is not warm. If you like the feeling of warm air out of the ducts, go with a gas system. Since you have nat gas available it should be a no brainer - gas will give you warmer heat for less money.

Remember you are in the South - your AC will be as important as your heat. Go with a combined forced air system - gas heat and heat pump cooling. Best comfort for the buck.

Sep 12, 2013, 09:01 PM
My gas pack and A/C unit does a great job. My gas bills are next to nothing, even in the "dead of winter' (my Iowa relatives are smirking as I say that.
I've never heard of anyone here who liked their heat pump when it got cold.
I've got a gas dryer, water heater and range as well.
Good luck!
Sep 14, 2013, 10:39 PM
thanks for all responses,, i am looking into a nat gas fired direct vent boiler for hydeonic baseboaed heating as well as a zone to take care of hot water needs with sane boiler and then have a total separate a/c unit,,in the event of a replacement issue in future it would be one or the other instead a complete unit,,, thanks again!
Sep 15, 2013, 04:00 AM
you can also. run a loop up the wall,in the bathroom
stub out the wall..with copper. make a towel bar
serpetene loop...for a cool towel warmer...

This message has been edited. Last edited by: Frodo,