Heat-pump for A/C - Thoughts?

What are your thoughts on a heat pump for A/C in mid-peninsula?

They’re the standard here in AZ but they are far better at cooling than at heating. At temps in the 30’s they just turn into expensive electric box heaters. Of course, on the mid-peninsula, you don’t get a lot of days or nights in the 30’s.


Check with the technicians if you need a new furnace anyway for the AC. That may impact your cost calculations. You’d need the furnace to blow the cool air into your ducts. If it’s too old it will crap out soon after your put in a new ac.

Heat pumps are more expensive than regular acs but supposedly more energy efficient. If you have solar panels there will be a lot of cost savings. Otherwise it may not save you money.

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Heat pumps are a lot more efficient. But I fail to see why having or not having solar panels would enter into it. My experience with solar is that you only break even or come out ahead if you use a lot of energy and install a large system.

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Because we have gas heat…

Out of curiosity, why would I need a new furnace? Just because of increased fan usage? Or is there more to it? Seems to me that the fan is a separate question from the “A/C heat pump” box outside -

I have two different forced-air heaters - one on each floor so I was expecting to somehow hook up the A/C “box” from outside to them, but ESPECIALLY the upstairs one because the top floor gets much hotter than the lower floor.

Sorry, to clarify where this question is coming from - I was intending to install A/C, and my husband said “We should install a heat pump it would go well with solar panels.” So we went from “call someone to install that A/C box” to “WTF? Fine I’ll research heat pumps, but this better not be difficult.”

Also, as much as I want to install solar panels, we are under a freaking huge Oak tree and the garage is under a Redwood tree, and the other side of the house is under an Italian pine but tree that drops bombs that have apparently sent people to the hospital, and it’s not clear to me that we’re ever really going to have Solar, PLUS if we put it on the garage, I’m now looking at the possibility of replacing that whole roof… So solar may not be any time soon in our future. Maybe when the pine nut tree is removed.

An old furnace will crap out soon because of increased usage. If it’s more than 10 years old already it makes sense to replace it in one shot when you install AC. Saves labor cost because they are going to put some cooling coils there anyway.

If you can reuse the furnace then going the “AC” alone route could be much cheaper, just from the initial installation cost perspective. If however you need to rip out the furnace, you’ll still need to install something to blow the cold air where your furnace is at right now, if you go with heat pump. Overall heat pump cost still a bit higher but “AC alone” is no longer a slam dunk because of heat pump’s lower operation cost, and because you need to buy a new furnace to go with “AC alone”.

It’s complicated. Better to get some real price quotes from installation guys so you have some real numbers to work with. “No solar” muddles the water even more. Now you have to compare electricity pricing vs gas.

The orientation of the roof tops is key to solar. My production drops nearly 90% in the winter.
Sometimes having lots of trees beats active solutions. They throw shade and transpire water in the summer. Deciduous ones which let light in during the winter are best. In terms of trees and rooftops the configuration which uses the least amount of energy is the worst one for use of solar. You need unshaded south facing rooftops for solar - and that arrangement requires the maximum amount of cooling.

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