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Heat pump suggestions, costs etc---all new to me :(

Heat pump suggestions, costs etc---all new to me :(

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Old Dec 28th 2017, 3:55 pm
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Default Heat pump suggestions, costs etc---all new to me :(

I am wondering if anybody has suggestions or points or advice on whether to fit a Heat pump?


I have only been in my house 6 months I intend staying here for the long term so wondered if it was worth taking the plunge?


The house is 1800 sq ft, spread over two floors and it is only 10 years old, I believe it is an R20 or R40 economy house?. It is presently heated by oil, the previous owner said for a family of 3 the bills worked out for oil $2500 per year and electric $1200.


That said I am paying about $330 a month for oil these last two months but obviously a lot less in the summer-----so I am hoping that tapers off.


I would be grateful for any thoughts, suggestions, advice etc.


Many thanks.
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Old Dec 28th 2017, 5:08 pm
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Default Re: Heat pump suggestions, costs etc---all new to me :(

What do you mean by “I believe it is an R20 or R40 economy house?.“?

I may be completely on the wrong track, but those terms just refer to the thickness/density of insulation materials, I think.

(And where is “here”?)
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Old Dec 28th 2017, 5:14 pm
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Default Re: Heat pump suggestions, costs etc---all new to me :(

I've been in a two storey, 800 sq ft a floor plus a basement house for 13 years now. We have oil fired hot water radiation and have no plans to change it. The house is 17 years old and is now reasonably well insulated. (The basement only had 1" of styro but now has R20 pink insulation on top of that.) Our oil bill averages around $300 a month with $120 a month electric on top of that. We don't have to buy oil between May & October as we're only heating water with the furnace during that time.


In this part of the world many houses were built with electric radiant heat - cos its cheap to install. That's causing general panic amongst homeowners as electricity rates are set to double to 22c+ per kw/h in 2020 when the massive-generation-crushing-white-elephant-hydro-boondoggle that is Muskrat Falls comes on line and has to be paid for by electricity consumers. As a result the heatpump business has gone crazy here with every man and his dog setting up shop to install. (And, with no hint of irony the government owned power utility promotes them, including offering interest free loans, to allow electric consumers to insulate themselves from the costs that the same government owned utility will impose upon them. Which is counterintuitive as the less power that is consumed, the higher the cost has to be per kw/h to pay for it!. But I digress...)

I have researched heatpumps, specifically mini-split airsource ones, as we're building an 800 sq ft addition & were considering using one for that. We've decided to go for extending the hot water radiation, mainly because we don't like the look of the indoor head units & we like the hot water radiation heat.) Some things to consider....


Mini-splits work best in open plan situations. If you have lots of rooms then you might need multiple head units with a single exchanger. That drives up cost.

A bonus is that they provide cooling in the summer. That might be important where you are but is less of a concern for us.[LIST]

I've costed out 18000 BTU units and they range from $2k to purchase for cheap units via amazon (Senville) to $4-5k fully installed Fujitsu or LG units. Bear in mind that even for a DIY install you need a HVAC tech to vacuum out the lines & round here they charge min $500 for that relatively simple piece of work because, well, they can.


I'm likely to put a mini-split into my detached, insulated 20x34ft garage to replace a long defunct oil furnace. We really need heat in that building and the minisplit seems the best option.

Last edited by Atlantic Xpat; Dec 28th 2017 at 5:16 pm.
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Old Dec 28th 2017, 6:11 pm
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Default Re: Heat pump suggestions, costs etc---all new to me :(

Originally Posted by Shirtback View Post
What do you mean by “I believe it is an R20 or R40 economy house?.“?

I may be completely on the wrong track, but those terms just refer to the thickness/density of insulation materials, I think.

(And where is “here”?)

Its in Nova Scotia, and yes I know its about the insulation---------I didn't want somebody to tell me to insulate the house first!!!


Thanks for the reply.
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Old Dec 28th 2017, 6:13 pm
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Default Re: Heat pump suggestions, costs etc---all new to me :(

Originally Posted by Atlantic Xpat View Post
I've been in a two storey, 800 sq ft a floor plus a basement house for 13 years now. We have oil fired hot water radiation and have no plans to change it. The house is 17 years old and is now reasonably well insulated. (The basement only had 1" of styro but now has R20 pink insulation on top of that.) Our oil bill averages around $300 a month with $120 a month electric on top of that. We don't have to buy oil between May & October as we're only heating water with the furnace during that time.


In this part of the world many houses were built with electric radiant heat - cos its cheap to install. That's causing general panic amongst homeowners as electricity rates are set to double to 22c+ per kw/h in 2020 when the massive-generation-crushing-white-elephant-hydro-boondoggle that is Muskrat Falls comes on line and has to be paid for by electricity consumers. As a result the heatpump business has gone crazy here with every man and his dog setting up shop to install. (And, with no hint of irony the government owned power utility promotes them, including offering interest free loans, to allow electric consumers to insulate themselves from the costs that the same government owned utility will impose upon them. Which is counterintuitive as the less power that is consumed, the higher the cost has to be per kw/h to pay for it!. But I digress...)

I have researched heatpumps, specifically mini-split airsource ones, as we're building an 800 sq ft addition & were considering using one for that. We've decided to go for extending the hot water radiation, mainly because we don't like the look of the indoor head units & we like the hot water radiation heat.) Some things to consider....


Mini-splits work best in open plan situations. If you have lots of rooms then you might need multiple head units with a single exchanger. That drives up cost.

A bonus is that they provide cooling in the summer. That might be important where you are but is less of a concern for us.[LIST]

I've costed out 18000 BTU units and they range from $2k to purchase for cheap units via amazon (Senville) to $4-5k fully installed Fujitsu or LG units. Bear in mind that even for a DIY install you need a HVAC tech to vacuum out the lines & round here they charge min $500 for that relatively simple piece of work because, well, they can.


I'm likely to put a mini-split into my detached, insulated 20x34ft garage to replace a long defunct oil furnace. We really need heat in that building and the minisplit seems the best option.
Thanks Atl Expat, informative as ever-----very grateful.
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Old Dec 28th 2017, 7:02 pm
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Default Re: Heat pump suggestions, costs etc---all new to me :(

What options do you have.

Do you have access to a natural gas supply or are Oil and electricity your only options?

I lived in QC for six years and my house was fitted with a heat pump. It also had a gas furnace.

The heat pump operated controlling the heat (or cooling in summer) until the external temp dropped below -15C then the system switched to gas furnace operation. Hydro QC also offered a big discount on bills if you had a heat pump and operating service contract in place, I don't know if NS is the same.

Even so you still have to have backup for the times when the heat pump will not operate. Its more of an addition to a system than a replacement.
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Old Dec 28th 2017, 7:07 pm
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Default Re: Heat pump suggestions, costs etc---all new to me :(

I have a heat pump/air con, similar sized house I think. Total costs are al on the NB Power bill and $260 a month - $3120 a year. Air con is a must.

I don't think the inside units of mini splits look bad, necessarily, it's more the placement of them. In pictures they all seem to be high up. Imagine a typical water radiator high up.

I think mini splits might do for a house with several rooms if you can just use it for a couple of rooms - one bedroom, one other room for example or where more than one room can benefit from a unit.

I had a duplex, the top floor of which had a small landing, 2 bedrooms, kitchen and lounge. One aircon unit in the kitchen window was great for the whole place with the doors open. I don't know if a mini split would be as powerful and it might not be enough for heating
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Old Dec 29th 2017, 1:27 pm
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Default Re: Heat pump suggestions, costs etc---all new to me :(

Originally Posted by Lamin View Post
I believe it is an R20 or R40 economy house?
I suspect you mean it is an R2000 house? Built and certified to R2000 standards of heat retention / insulation etc. (As is our house)
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Old Dec 29th 2017, 1:33 pm
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Default Re: Heat pump suggestions, costs etc---all new to me :(

Originally Posted by Hurlabrick View Post
I suspect you mean it is an R2000 house? Built and certified to R2000 standards of heat retention / insulation etc. (As is our house)
This was what I was wondering about.

I’ll bow out because there seem to be other posters with much better advice and experience for the op than I have .
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Old Dec 29th 2017, 2:09 pm
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Default Re: Heat pump suggestions, costs etc---all new to me :(

We have a heat pump installed through NS power and our bill with the repayment is $270 a month which kills me because we mainly heat with wood, but whatevs. The heat pump covers the family room and the kitchen which the wood insert cant cover due to the layout. And provides wonderful AC in the summer when we need it.


I am glad we have it, I wouldnt want to heat that area with baseboard heat AT ALL.
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Old Dec 29th 2017, 6:26 pm
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Default Re: Heat pump suggestions, costs etc---all new to me :(

Originally Posted by Howefamily View Post
We have a heat pump installed through NS power and our bill with the repayment is $270 a month...
That sounds a good way to do it. I can't remember seeing anything to suggest NBPower would do that
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Old Dec 29th 2017, 10:15 pm
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Default Re: Heat pump suggestions, costs etc---all new to me :(

What about replacing the oil furnace with propane?
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