A reader called me last week because her gas furnace had quit working and, knowing my expertise regarding sustainability, she wanted my advice on replacing it.
I told her that this was an opportunity to do something other than buy a new gas furnace. I told her about my Carrier “Hybrid Heat” furnace which uses an air-source heat pump for heating as well as cooling and only burns gas when the outdoor temperature dips well below freezing. With her solar panels, it’s possible she won’t even pay for the electricity consumed by the heat pump, and her gas consumption will plummet.
That hybrid system would use her home’s existing ductwork, but, since she has a one-story home, I suggested she consider a ductless mini-split heat pump system like the one we have at our office. I gave her the name of the vendor who installed both my home and office systems who could advise her which system was best for her.
I also suggested that she look into replacing her gas water heater with a heat-pump model when it fails. My gas water heater is over 15 years old, so I’m thinking of replacing it before it fails. Home Depot sells a Rheem 50-gallon heat pump water heater (model #XE50T10HD50U1) for $1,299. Best off all, Xcel Energy gives its customers a $500 rebate for purchasing it. I have enough solar panels to handle the extra electrical demand and eliminate much of my current gas usage, which is mostly for water heating, since I have that Carrier hybrid furnace. Our only other gas usage is for cooking and grilling.