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Heat pump vs Oil burner cost to operate

Rock
Rock Member Posts: 46
I live in the north east. The house is a 1.5 story cape. Currently have electric baseboard. My contractor recommends a heat pump/ac instead of a oil fired burner.He mentioned a Ream I think he said a 4 ton 14 or 16 seer unit. Plans on putting ducts in the floor. What would the operating costs of oil vs heat pump. Are these units reliable?

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,092
    Where in the northeast? There really are too many variables to give an answer on operating cost. How often would it be too cold for it to operate? What are your electric rates vs. local oil prices per BTU output? Be sure that the unit chosen really can meet the heating load of the structure on a nice cold day. Somewhere along the coast from Massachusetts south? probably good. Somewhere inland in Maine or New Hampshire or Vermont or Massachusetts or Connecticut? Maybe not -- get a guarantee in writing that it will have enough capacity.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    mikeapolis
  • Rock
    Rock Member Posts: 46
    Long Island
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,092
    Ah. Well, a heat pump should work OK. Whether it will save you money or not over oil, that I wouldn't care to say. On the other hand, you do get air conditioning as a bonus.

    I might note that ductwork and register location is absolutely critical on these things -- both supply and return.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,385
    22 cents Kwh thanks to PSEG. Do the math first.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    STEVEusaPA
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,092
    Yike. Well then, 1 gallon of fuel oil is worth 41 Kwh directly -- or to beat the cost of oil, at least in my area, the COP of the unit will have to be at least 4. This is NOT the same as the SEER rating, and you should ask the dealer what it is for various temperatures outside (it gets less as it gets colder outside). Newer heat pumps have higher COP ratings -- but 4 is, unhappily, a pretty common upper limit...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,314
    Oil furnace/heat pump. Heat pump in shoulder season, oil when it’s cold. But they better do heat loss, manual j and manual d before you agree to anything.
    What’s your sq footage? 4 tons seems high.
    steve
    SuperTech
  • TAG
    TAG Member Posts: 489
    Guess this is to get AC as well? No current ductwork?
    Propane available ?

    You are going to remove the electric baseboard ?

    Lots to think about -- overall cost of retrofit and running cost savings .... any programs in NY ? Rebates?

    I'm in NYC (not now) -- have always had a place in PA for the winter weekends. Each move and rehab had the oil removal to propane. The additional service cost and sound from oil ... no way. The fuel can be about the same -- gas units are much better and can be set up to zone a Cape if you have the room. That's the big problem with a cape. No room and they leak.

    At my big cape in NJ -- I did a boiler and panel raditors

  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,307
    If you do decide to go 100% heat pump do not remove the electric heat. You will need it still. 

    Heat pumps (mini-splits) are decent at what they do, but they will in no way last much over 10 years especially when asked to run near 100% of the time. Just keep that in mind. 

    There is, however, no less expensive way to mechanically cool a structure than a mini-split. So if cooling is a priority, then they make better sense. 

    The price of oil is volatile, the cost of electricity is steady, but high most areas on the NE. So there is no best answer. 
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • Rock
    Rock Member Posts: 46
    I originally wanted propane, after researching it, doesn't seem cost effective. A heat pump was recommended by my contractor. And yes AC is a bonus.
  • MaxMercy
    MaxMercy Member Posts: 178
    Rock said:

    I originally wanted propane, after researching it, doesn't seem cost effective.

    A friend of mine was thinking about replacing his oil fired boiler with propane because it was a lot cheaper per gallon. He didn't know that a gallon of #2 has a lot more BTUs per gallon that LP.

  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,307
    Propane has 1/3 less btu/gallon than oil. BUT propane has the ability to be used much more efficiently in a condensing boiler IF the heat distribution system is low temp (less than 125 degrees). 

    So that can play a significant savings, as most oil equipment is grossly oversized and converts 70% of the heat at best to the structure. 
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • TAG
    TAG Member Posts: 489
    Starting new I would never add oil hot air -- a case could be made for an oil boiler with a big house vs propane.

    Most only "stay" with oil ... not add new. Doing duel fuel -- heat pump with propane back up is a nice way to go.

    you have to punch the numbers ..may be cost effective to keep the electric w/ heat pump. unless you go to a bi 1k underground tank -- propane is not all that expensive to set up.
  • MaxMercy
    MaxMercy Member Posts: 178
    In
    TAG said:



    Most only "stay" with oil ... not add new.

    In my area, new home builders are still installing oil fired boilers.

    I have a post war GE refrigerator in my shop. It's been running 70 years every day since it was built and never skipped a beat, so I know that sealed systems can be built to last for decades if the manufacturers are so motivated. But watching consumer appliances burn out compressors in a handful of years these days, I'm concerned about the cost of replacing a heat pump system in 5-10 years offsetting the daily operating costs of the same.

    Thoughts?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,092
    "Most only "stay" with oil ... not add new. Doing duel fuel -- heat pump with propane back up is a nice way to go."

    This may be true -- in some urban and suburban areas. Which, I will grant, are the majority of the houses and population these days.

    However, there are a goodly number of people and buildings -- even in such places as southern New England, never mind the midwest, where oil is commonly a less expensive choice than propane/LP, natural gas is simply not available at any price, and electricity is either very expensive (New England, and getting more so) or of limited availability. Further, reliability both of operation and of supply, is a very big deal, and not to be taken for granted in those areas.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    MaxMercySTEVEusaPA
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 2,388
    edited November 2020
    Have you thought of using Franklin Stoves in each room? I hear they're a lot of trees in your area, If you cut them down and split the wood yourself you could save a ton of $$$

    cheaper than Oil, Propane, Natural Gas, and electricity for a Heat pump.



    Seriously: The newer minisplit systems with the "Turbo Heat" feature might be a good option. Some of them have ducted options for the air handlers. I installed a "Fujitsu Slim Duct" air handler in a closet and was able to heat and cool 2 bedrooms and a bath with one indoor unit and 3 very short supply ducts.

    You may be able to get what you want with 3 or 4 indoor zones depending on your layout. You may want to look into that option. Also, leave the old baseboard heat in place as a backup. Even if you disconnect it in the breaker panel box with a label on it so you can use the space to power up the new heat pump.






    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey Shore.
    Cleaned & services first oil heating system at age 16
  • Rock
    Rock Member Posts: 46
    Decided to go with a heat pump, now deciding which contractor to use.