Exactly!! A typical A/A HP will produce heat down to about 30F. Below that they may still work but loose their efficiency. As a HP uses electricity to move the heat from inside to outside as an AC and then reverses to move the heat from outside to inside as a "furnace", it uses no fossil fuel except indirect use from the power supply. When replacing an old AC unit a HP can usually be installed for an additional cost, but depending on the age of the old unit replaced and the location of the home the cost difference is often recovered after a season or two of using this as a heat source. This is an excellent way to contribute to a smaller footprint.
..... For ease of retrofitting it's hard to beat the latest generation of split type air to air heat pump/AC units. I have 2 of them in my house and since I have family in the business I know that the performance of these units is much better than it was in even the recent past. You should look into these to supply heat in the shoulder seasons. For the coldest part of the winter I think a high efficiency wood fireplace insert of stove is still the best value.
I may seem negative about all the alt energy tech but I am merely trying to get the point across that the science involved in this stuff cannot be ignored and that potential buyers should realize that fact and keep their expectations in check. There are a lot of shady installers out there who will promise un attainable returns on investment which cannot be met in the real world. If your motivation for getting this is to save money then educate yourself on the science involved and seek out a installer with a proven track record. If you are willing to also consider this as an investment in the future of the environment then being armed with the facts will help you evaluate how much you are willing to invest regardless of ROI.
Again a Spot On comment. I would not call that a negative statement, as in most everything if it sounds too good to be true it probably is not true. Do your research, learn the facts and don't fall for the latest, greatest thing that comes out as, let other people be the guinea pigs.
Lots of good points too!
This subject can open a whole bag of worms. Some of the these ways to reduce the footprint are worse than the footprint itself. check into the kinds of pollution just making a photo electric panel produces. My take on most of this is, it costs too much for the short life span and maintance required. I look into a windmill system, but couldnt see how my spending 20K for a sizeable system, and the fact it would only make part of my power would really help anyone but the makers of the equipment. The deal breaker with most of these differnt type units seems to be the high cost vs the long payback times.
We decide a few yrs back to burn corn as a main heating source. We grow it right out side the door anyway. We got a $2500 furance, a wagon, a seed cleaner and some other small thing, and spent someplace in the area of $3500 getting it all setup. It does heat well, and is half the cost of the LP we used to use. The maintance is fairly big, as you have to clean it out weekly, the fan motors go bad yearly, and you have to fill the system with corn each day. Been running five yrs now, ive burned 800 gl of LP,( mostly though the water heater in that time), and about 1500bu of corn. In the last 5 yrs we've gone though about $500-600 in parts for the unit, this yr i had top weld up the heat exchanger that rusted though due to the acid produced from burning corn. We had to replace the entire flue system for the same reason at the start of this yrs burn, that only cost $300 more. Back when we started the corn was only 2.33, now its 6.94. We are ahead but not as much as it was sold to us at the beginning.
We did look into doing a ground source heat system, but again at 11 to 25K it didnt make any sence to spend that much money. I also looked at a tankless water heater, but most who have them said the heater exchangers burn out in about 5 or so yrs, so at the current price being five time a normal heater, it just dont pay out in the long run. Our electric bill only runs around $2500 a yr, to heat/cool my 2100 sq ft and run my shop equipment.
I dont think there is a perfect system out there that would work. Ones that seem to be better for the land, have huge payback times, use tons of stuff increasing the footprint, and would be needing replacement about the time they'er paid for. I beleive if the gov' wants people to go this way their going to have to show us where the savings really are at in the long term, not just some charts from the builders stating how much your going to save. .
That is the biggest thing to consider, your "payback time" whether you are looking at alternative energy sources or more efficient equipment; how long do you wait to get to the point where your monthly savings from the new equipment has equaled the cost you had to pay for it. BUT BEWARE YOU AIN'T DONE YET.
When this new money saver is past warranty and still working fine you can sit back and watch your investment grow. But when that inevitable time comes when something breaks down, which will happen sooner or later, this repair cost should be factored in to the "payback time" calculations. Plus you still have the ongoing maintenance costs.
A ground source heat pump (IMHO) has no practical payback time unless it is incorporated into a new construction project where all other aspects of home efficiency are factored in, and you are doing so at a fairly young age. And in most cases the damage that is done to the environment to install one takes away a little of the "Green" factor too.
Give that man the Grand Prize!!
A few little tidbits to beware of:
That new 95+% furnace that the guy wants to sell you sometimes must be serviced yearly (you pay) to maintain the warranty coverage. If it is not a requirement for coverage a yearly service still should be done, and usually out of your pocket in order to ensure that everything is functioning properly. Condensate drains, flame sensors, vacuum tubing, vent pipes, burner ribbons, all should be maintained properly, and more often then not this is not covered under warranty from the manufacturer. And like I said above when these break down, hold on to your wallet its gonna hurt. There is expensive parts in there and lots of them. Remember where possible the old adage of KISS.
But they say it has a "lifetime warranty"? Cool right, not always. Sometimes the "lifetime" they are referring to is the expected lifetime of the equipment. If its designed to last 15 years and fails in the 16th you are out of luck and buying new.
I think it still goes back to the energy SAVINGS. You know you are going to have to be comfortable in your home and you know you want to do so as inexpensively and as securely as possible. If you reduce your needs then the options for Alt Energy sources should all be considered with all of the qualifications mentioned above(not just by me)
Sorry for the book guys, but wanted to get my thoughts in, I think I am up to four cents now:confuse: