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Heat pump boiler for in floor heating and hot water?

My 1995 built house has in floor heat with a propane boiler. The price of propane has fluctuated greatly this past year making heating very expensive. Added to that the present boiler is only rated at 82% efficiency. Local heating contractors keep pushing split system heat pumps. I do not want air handlers hanging on my walls. Also, the domestic water heater, original 1995, is on it's last legs.

The house is about 3,000 square feet, two stories with in floor heat on the first floor and electric resistance type heaters on the second floor. This is a moderate climate - Pacific Northwest, Whidbey Island, near Seattle.

I am looking for information on a heat pump solution to be the primary heat source, to heat domestic hot water and possibly replace the upstairs electric resistance heaters with baseboard heat. Would it be possible to size a system for most heating needs - seldom below freezing and keep the propane boiler as supplemental heat for the coldest days and as a backup for when the power fails and we must run on a generator?

Re: Heat pump boiler for in floor heating and hot water?

I think you need 5-6 bids from local a/c heating contractors to explore your options and to precisely answer your questions.

For your size home the first contractors have the right approach.

Re: Heat pump boiler for in floor heating and hot water?

Not too familiar with heat pump heating systems or what would be the best heating system fit for the PNW Whidbey Island (I have relatives on the north coast of Oregon---beautiful country); I would echo dj1's comments & contact many local heating installers, but also try to contact as many island residents as to the type of heating system they now have & how successful/unsuccessful they have been with their current system.

Talk to as many islander residents as you can (real estate agents, bank officials, friends & relatives) as to what type of heating system they currently have & how satisfied/unhappy they are with its performance & ongoing fuel costs---everyone on the island has a heating system & real estate agents & bankers in particular deal with housing on an ongoing basis (every bank usually holds a lot of houses due to their extensive mortgage activities) & have a wealth of info as to which heating systems are performing well on Whidbey Island---the same goes for real estate agents---both these entities own lots of real estate & are constantly hiring heating contractors to replace/modify heating systems---the mild winter climate is a tremendous factor in your favor & many heat pump mfgrs are targeting their products towards milder climate parts of the U.S. because heat pump technology has not yet advanced in most cases to efficiently handle sub-freezing (even sub-zero) temps experienced in many parts of the U.S.---an expensively-operated electric heat plate has to kick in as a supplement to the HP-----not a problem for the Seattle area.

You state you have in-floor heat---I assume this is forced hot water radiant heat, perhaps combined with some baseboard HW heating; given the somewhat large sq footage of the house I wonder if this is giving you adequate heat in your mild climate & perhaps you might consider leaving the present system in place & opt for a more efficient boiler that would use much less fuel?

I assume there is no underground natural gas piping grid in place in your locality?

Thank you for your well-written post; the sites below are exclusively dedicated to heating issues & also explain the variations existing with heat pump systems, including geothermal---at the Heating Help site, also go to the top of the page & click onto "systems" and "The Wall", which has heating contractor input on all different types of heating systems----I would stay away from Goodman products; they have experienced a lot of recent recalls for poor workmanship.


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