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Cooling a house - heat pumps….

June 29, 2021, 1:01 p.m.
Posts: 14403
Joined: Feb. 19, 2003

Anyone got a heat pump in their house?  My furnace looks like it’s 30+ years old and with this recent heat wave, has me thinking about replacing it with a heat pump.  Seems like that might be preferable to getting central AC, but have read it might have difficulty heating a home when it’s below 4C. 

Anyone have any knowledge or experience with ACs or HPs in lower mainland?

June 29, 2021, 1:59 p.m.
Posts: 74
Joined: Feb. 2, 2021

My wife and I had one installed Fall 2019. Was a bit of a nightmare, as our outdoor unit had a bad valve in it. The installers had a tough time diagnosing it (took seven months of near weekly visits), then COVID prevented us from getting the proper parts. Now everything is working properly and we're really reaping the rewards this week.

We have a 1500(ish) sq. ft. rancher, was all baseboards. Open crawlspace. We spray foamed our crawlspace, installed ducting and went with a big-boy unit from Daiken, which I think cost around $18k (*revised, checked the invoice). Decided not to go the mini-split route because our layout meant we would need two outdoor units and three indoor heads, cost delta was about $5k, but we figured that it was a better long term solution.

We were supplementing our baseboards with our woodstove, after the upgrade we slashed our hydro bill by 60%, saving roughly $120/month on hydro. Didn't burn a stick of wood this winter and we're toasty and warm all year. Ours worked fine below it's stated rating of -1 C, but part of the cost of the Daiken system is that it has a supplemental electric furnace that kicks in if the heatpump is having issues generating enough heat to keep the house warm. I think ours kicked in once or twice this winter. We control when it kicks in as well, currently set to kick in if house drops more than 2 degrees below desired temp, or if the unit labours for more than 90 minutes without hitting desired temp.


 Last edited by: Schnickelfritz on June 29, 2021, 2:07 p.m., edited 2 times in total.
June 29, 2021, 2:13 p.m.
Posts: 401
Joined: Nov. 28, 2002

Just put in a heat pump system into my renovation that wrapped up in March. New Mitsubishi units are good down to -30C so it's worth looking at the units you're thinking about and seeing how modern they are and how they've adapted them for Canadian climates. I went from gas furnace to heat pump and gas is still cheap so I wouldn't say I'm saving any money (either ongoing or in initial investment) but I'm going through the process to get some BC Hydro rebates, I'm not burning dinos during the winter, and I am obviously stoked on having cooling during this weather.

June 29, 2021, 2:20 p.m.
Posts: 14403
Joined: Feb. 19, 2003

Good info - thanks.  Main benefit is dealing with summers for me, and seems like mild Van winters aren’t an issue.  Anyone got a contractor/company they went with and recommend?  Got enough DIY projects on the go as is

July 7, 2021, 7:24 p.m.
Posts: 401
Joined: Nov. 28, 2002

I used Fire & Ice. Graham's a rider but he wants an e-bike so hold that against him as is your preference.

July 7, 2021, 7:24 p.m.
Posts: 401
Joined: Nov. 28, 2002

I used Fire & Ice. Graham's a rider but he wants an e-bike so hold that against him as is your preference.

July 8, 2021, 3:15 p.m.
Posts: 29
Joined: April 27, 2018

Heat pumps are a great option, but you need to remember they increase costs.

Another option to consider are passive systems...here is an interesting link; https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20190822-are-there-alternatives-to-air-conditioning (which hopefully works! My success rate has been low). One of the best passive solutions is more trees. 

One mature tree can produce the same cooling effect as 10 room-sized air conditioners (https://www.smartcitiesdive.com/ex/sustainablecitiescollective/why-we-need-trees-our-cities/1100050/)

A urban forest has the potential to decrease urban temps by ~10 degrees, link (which may not work); https://www.pnas.org/content/116/15/7575

Passive systems won't work with the heat wave that just happened, but will be pretty effective for the majority of the year.

July 9, 2021, 4:53 p.m.
Posts: 1302
Joined: March 18, 2017

Others have said you still need the furnace to move the air with the heat pump.  I think Hydro just ended a grant program. 

If you have another gas appliance in the house I'd go with a gas furnace.  When it gets really cold in the winter the gas furnace will kick on and not hammer your electrical bill.  A few of my coworkers built new houses in the last two years and went with radiant in-floor heating + gas ranges and are paying almost nothing per month.  Compared to my electric boiler for radiant heating which was on its own meter and fuck me that was expensive.

Or do a split unit AC such as whats in condos in tropical places; put the unit or units in the bedrooms that are occupied, maybe one for a main area.  But sounds like the furnace is due for a replacement.

July 10, 2021, 8:11 a.m.
Posts: 15163
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

I don't remember a grant program from Hydro??

the gov just announced a program for 5 K , it is VERY new but its suposed to run for 7 yrs so look for it, i want to replace some windows

the feds and provincial gov had a great program 10 yrs ago which I cashed in on that one big time to pay for a lot of the new HE furnace/ upgraded insulation/ weather stripping which then all saved me a lot of money every year on gas & power


 Last edited by: XXX_er on July 10, 2021, 10:50 a.m., edited 1 time in total.
July 12, 2021, 3:47 p.m.
Posts: 74
Joined: Feb. 2, 2021

Posted by: XXX_er

I don't remember a grant program from Hydro??

the gov just announced a program for 5 K , it is VERY new but its suposed to run for 7 yrs so look for it, i want to replace some windows

the feds and provincial gov had a great program 10 yrs ago which I cashed in on that one big time to pay for a lot of the new HE furnace/ upgraded insulation/ weather stripping which then all saved me a lot of money every year on gas & power

Between our insulation upgrades and our heatpump, we qualified for about $4500 in BC Hydro rebates. 

https://www.bchydro.com/powersmart/residential/savings-and-rebates/current-rebates-buy-backs/home-renovation-rebates.html


 Last edited by: Schnickelfritz on July 12, 2021, 3:49 p.m., edited 1 time in total.
July 14, 2021, 9:09 a.m.
Posts: 15163
Joined: Nov. 20, 2002

entirely missed it ^^ but then I did the furnace & insulation 10 years ago SO not paying attention

Sept. 20, 2021, 1:36 p.m.
Posts: 3546
Joined: May 23, 2006

Recommend me a radiant heat service outfit?

Sept. 21, 2021, 9:22 a.m.
Posts: 3546
Joined: May 23, 2006

bump...anyone?

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