Heat Pump or AC in the ATL?
April 22, 2005 3:46 PM   Subscribe

Owning a home is fun! Our latest adventure in homemaking involves our heating and cooling system, so we're having to make some long-term decisions with very little first-hand experience.

The AC is no longer blowing cold air. While this might just be a simple matter of recharging the compressor, we have to start thinking of possibly replacing the AC system entirely. The current system is your basic electric AC model. Our local EMC suggests the heat pump option and offers a $75 per ton rebate incentive. Either way, I think we're looking at a replacement bill of about $1700 (not counting labor).

So ... does anyone have anything to say good or bad about the air-source heat pump option versus the traditional electric? If it affects your opinion, we have central gas heat that works rather well in the winter. Also, how do you safely choose an installer for such things? (If someone knows a good AC company in Atlanta, we'd take a referral.)
posted by grabbingsand to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
This is not an easy question. You appear to be in Georgia, which is heat pump friendly. To figure this out requires some calculations. You can take you prior heating and cooling bills, and see how many BTUs and KWs you are using per heating and cooling degree day respectively. You can probably estimate your currently efficiency by looking up your old equipment and the figure out the new efficiency of heat pumps and dedicated AC and furnaces. Plug in the current cost for electricity and natural gas and you can determine your annual operating costs and compare that to the installation costs to determine which would be better. Rather than use the heating and cooling degree data from a particular year I would use average annual data. Who knows where electricity and gas prices are going in the future but if you do then you can plug that info in to improve the analysis.
posted by caddis at 5:16 PM on April 22, 2005

fwiw we have a whirlpool air-source heat pump built into the wall of our 400 sq ft studio, and have no complaints. We're in Santa Cruz CA - somwhat different climate than Atlanta. It's nice to have one unit that can either heat or cool as we need, but it is a bit noisy. I suspect any a/c unit would be similarly loud. I don't have numbers for power costs, sorry.
posted by anadem at 7:53 PM on April 22, 2005

If someone knows a good AC company in Atlanta...
D&W Heating & Air located in Lilburn just replaced both heating and cooling systems in a commercial building for me. I was happy with their knowledge and their advice. Their price was comparative with two other quotes and they did a great job.
posted by oh posey at 9:29 PM on April 22, 2005

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