Submitted by Bravely_Default t3_yic4a8 in Connecticut

With oil prices being what they are I am starting to think about alternatives and I was just reading about heat pumps. Apparently they act as both central AC and central heating? Does anyone use them for both and does it work the same as traditional heat/ac?

Like I said I have oil for heat now, and have central AC already with an older unit. Wondering if it would make sense to replace the AC unit with heat pumps when it finally craps out. I realize it will likely be more expensive than just a new central AC unit, but it could possibly cut costs for heating as well.

Anyone have experience or thoughts around this kind of thing? If needed my house is a ~2,500 sqft raised ranch.



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-Familiar-Pangolin- t1_iuhw2oy wrote

Heat pump is a great choice. Counter to what you might hear, studies in New England show that the heat pump can keep your house warm in the winter - check out Maine. However, you must make sure it is sized correctly and that your house is weatherized

The utilities actually have a free heat pump consultation service as well, it's informative and easy

Something to consider is that as of Jan01, you can get a 30% tax credit on heat pumps and there are other state rebates for them

Final consideration: life cycle analysis is showing due to electric rates in CT in particular, it's not yet cost effective to buy one without also getting solar. This doesn't mean it will always cost more than oil, especially with volatile oil prices, but if nothing Changes right now your energy cost may go up just a little. Not definitely, but possibly.


Bravely_Default OP t1_iuhx5pt wrote

Lots of good info here thanks for the answer; few follow up questions if you'll indulge me.

> The utilities actually have a free heat pump consultation service as well, it's informative and easy

I did not know this, so UI will come out and give you a consultation to tell you if its worth while/what it should roughly cost and the roi for doing so?

> Something to consider is that as of Jan01, you can get a 30% tax credit on heat pumps and there are other state rebates for them

I did know this was a part of the inflation reduction act, hence why I was eyeing it for the near future when our central AC unit dies.

> Final consideration: life cycle analysis is showing due to electric rates in CT in particular, it's not yet cost effective to buy one without also getting solar. This doesn't mean it will always cost more than oil, especially with volatile oil prices, but if nothing Changes right now your energy cost may go up just a little. Not definitely, but possibly.

This is interesting and not something I was aware of, I thought it would be more of a net gain over oil regardless. I have been thinking about solar too but I'm on the fence there as well.

Finally, do heat pumps work as well as a central AC unit in cooling a home? My fear is that heat pumps may be more energy efficient but your house won't feel as cool/warm as it would with central ac and oil.


realbusabusa t1_iuhyhgw wrote

Heat pump is just an AC that can run in reverse. Oversimplification but there is no reason it shouldn't work as well as whatever central air you have now.


FrostyBaller t1_iui95d6 wrote

We have heat pump and solar, with oil as a backup heating source. Currently for the year 107% of our electricity has been covered by solar, so we have about 400 kWh banked for November and December. The heat pumps have covered a majority of our heating, and are really useful except for the coldest times, when it gets in the 20s.


iCUman t1_iuixxph wrote

We just had a new heat pump installed at work, and something the technician advised me on in operation is not to allow for large temperature swings. "Set it and forget it" was his recommendation, because evidently they're really efficient at maintaining a temperature, but not so much at getting up to temperature.

I am happy to report that our electric bill is significantly lower than it was with our previous unit (which was 30+ years old).


-Familiar-Pangolin- t1_iujfr8o wrote

Hey sorry for the long wait!

I see others here have answered so I'll keep it short! Here is the link for the free consult, yes they will just help you!

As someone else said, your heat pump is an air conditioner, so it would work well to cool you as well :) they are incredibly efficient !

Please let me know if there is any other questions and I can do my best to help!!


ThePermafrost t1_iuhyiun wrote

Heat Pumps are great. For my 2300 sq ft poorly insulated house, my electric bill was $80 in the summer (Set at 68 degrees) and $500 in the dead of winter (Set at 70 degrees).

Much cheaper than running Window AC units and Oil Heat.


gatogrande t1_iuij81j wrote

You have a truly magic house, $80 for 68 degrees in summer is a bit unbelievable


ThePermafrost t1_iuimv9f wrote

I honestly couldn’t believe it myself.. but that was the bill. And that’s with running normal electric, an electric stove, and electric water heater too.


gatogrande t1_iuipzch wrote

I have half the sq/ft, good insulation, no AC, 80 beans in summer a distant memory. Pick me 6 good numbers for tonite, frosty!


phunky_1 t1_iui1nep wrote

Thanks for a real world example.

The $500 in winter is what concerns me.

That is fine with oil prices where they are now. Most likely they will eventually come back down and heat pumps will be more expensive to operate.


ThePermafrost t1_iui3iwv wrote

Unfortunately I never ran the oil heat before replacing with the heat pump, so I can’t give a real world example.

However, theoretically Heat Pumps are just as cost effective in CT as gas per BTU, averaged over the year.

Some quick math, for 100,000 BTU’s of heat, assuming a 95% efficient Gas/Oil Boiler/Furnace, it would be $1.30 for Gas, $2.15 for a Heat Pump, or $4.56 for Oil (at $6/gallon). The Heat Pump however really shines in Summer, where it can cut your electric bill by 50% over using window AC’s or a standard whole home AC.


HartfordResident t1_iuiwoko wrote

Not sure if this matters but the heat pumps are fairly easy to program and zone (if you have 4 pumps, you have 4 zones).


super_jeenyus t1_iujz2l0 wrote

I got an electric heat pump for a 1100- sqft ranch this past May, and ran the AC all summer and it was super efficient & cheaper than window units. Wallingford electric company so bill never broke $100. Highly recommend


CTRealtorCarl t1_iuhyo5g wrote

I have had a couple of clients that went the heat pump route with awesome success. Bosch makes a great unit that is good down to -4 degrees now. I don't think you will be able to exclusively use a heat pump system in CT but you may only have to flip your oil burner on a couple times a winter.


midmodmad t1_iui22vb wrote

I moved from a house with oil heat to an all electric house. I saved a fortune the first year. Installed a heat pump and saved more. It paid for itself in a few years. Added two more units last year so my whole house is heated/cooled and dehumidified. Not needing to use window ac and fans is much cheaper too. Highly recommend making the switch.


Same_Pay_8419 t1_iui5qos wrote

Had an old AC + ducts on second floor and oil baseboard for whole house. Switched to ducted heat pump upstairs + minisplits downstairs. They are cold climate models and sized to offset entire heating load. So should not need oil this winter. Even with our electricity rates, oil would have to drop back to ~$2/gallon to be cheaper, not counting maintenance, etc. Would look into state incentives (up to $1,500/ton through Dec 31) and financing (1% to 15k). We will save 2-3k this winter with very little out of pocket.

Good calculator for comparing heating costs:


LordConnecticut t1_iuiquxx wrote

I have a similar situation to you. My entire house already ducted for central air, I’m trying to figure out how difficult it would be to switch the condenser to a heat pump. I believe my air handler is already compatible.

Anyway, if you don’t mind me asking, what was the cost for your ducted system?


Same_Pay_8419 t1_iuizbk2 wrote

Unfortunately, cannot breakout the cost of the ducted system as it uses the same outdoor condenser as the minisplits. And I had to get a new air handler. But you should definitely look into the high efficiency centrally ducted heat pump units which should be able to be sole source of heating even in Connecticut. State has a list of units eligible for the rebate program:


habu_ t1_iuipk9d wrote

Just had a Mitsubishi Hyper Heat mini split system with 5 heads put in a few weeks ago. Works great so far, looking to see how it does as it cools down, but should be good.


phunky_1 t1_iui20gi wrote

I have found good luck trying to get an installer to call you back.

I have been wanting to do this as well and have called half a dozen companies multiple times with no call backs.

I am guessing they are all slammed with work from people trying to do the same thing and it might not be possible to get one this winter.

Cost wise it seems like you need to supplement it with solar to make it cheaper than oil when oil prices come back down to normal levels.

I want to get them for AC anyway so it seems like a no brainer to get a hyperheat system to at least lower oil costs while the cost of oil is high.

In the meantime I have been keeping thermostats low working from home during the day while the kids are at school and just running an oil filled electric radiator, it has been a lot cheaper than heating the whole house with oil all day.


silasmoeckel t1_iuin9vj wrote

Having done the conversion twice now. You have pretty much a trade off scale one side how efficient the heat pump is at a given outside temp combined with your costs of electricity vs cost of oil. What that boils down to an an outside temp that you switch to using oil, and most of the time in CT it's way warmer than that.

Now combine that with solar. For the first few years when your paying off your panels thats probably in the 20's with a modern heat pump and oil > 2 bucks a gallon. Then you're price of electricity drops to 0 for what your panels put out so rapidly it's a question of still using less than you generate overall and what the heat pump can deal with. Think you need oil NG propane or something as a backup heat source in CT, cheaper and more efficient than a generator that can run heat pumps when we lose power for a week.


keepitupxxx t1_iui2owd wrote

Priced it and to expensive to be done at my place


-Gaunter-O-Dimm t1_iuieb7z wrote

Have you considered electric heating with solar? The installation for us (the electric heating part) was very quick and painless, they heat/cool the house very quickly and the solar offsets most of the cost so our electric bill has stayed roughly the same

Only downside is that the units inside look like giant printers, we call them our air printers lol


cms59 t1_iuilvsf wrote

We did the same thing in our raised ranch. We had a central a/c unit at the end of its life and decided to go with the heat pump instead of replacing it. We had to put in a mini split downstairs because our duct work was only on the upper level. With the way oil prices are now, we will definitely save money this winter. FYI if you go with a Carrier heat pump they have a 3-year 0% financing payment option.


yudkib t1_iuiq1e7 wrote

I had a stand-alone ducted heat pump in my last apartment and it was fine. It was an old unit which oddly heated very well but cooled very poorly (opposite issue of most heat pumps). I had ductless mini splits in the place before that and it was fine, aside from days in the single digits in a couple rooms which were basically floor to ceiling glass and needed space heaters overnight occasionally (the rooms faced South, so plenty of heat when the sun was up). Can’t blame that entirely on the heat pumps though.

The mini splits in particular do need maintenance, and their lifecycle is relatively short. 5-10 years sounds like forever but it blows by in a hurry. From an energy use standpoint, they are fantastic in summer and OK in winter. Spend more to get better units that work in lower temperatures because their efficiency falls off a cliff once they get within about 10-15* of their maximum low.


kesagatame-and-Chill t1_iuirc4q wrote

This is great info.

I was thinking about doing heat pumps for my upstairs and keeping my oil for downstairs. 2 of our three bedrooms have no radiator. In summer the only time we run AC is when we sleep (we are outside most of the day).


Dismal_Ad_9603 t1_iuizkdd wrote

Just added a 4 head Mitsubishi hyper system, keeping the oil for extreme cold, impressed so far, holding judgment until the electric bill comes in. Quiet and unobtrusive! Having some insulation work done as well as some new windows installed. Hate that oil is outrageously priced rn.


fekinEEEjit t1_iuj9ps1 wrote

The question is what is the cost of energy per BTU. What is the cost To turn electricity into heat and heating oil into heat.


thread100 t1_iujbtxz wrote

We had what was described as a hybrid furnace in our last house. The heat pump would cool and heat above a fixed outdoor temperature. Perhaps 15f. Below that, a conventional oil burner would fire. The changeover temp was based on the efficiency cross over point of the two fuels. I live in New Hampshire about 50 miles from the ocean. The oil consumption was perhaps 20% of what it had been on full oil.

I am adding a mini split in my current home to supplement the existing oil burner. (Have solar).


gratefulD83 t1_iujgzxg wrote

I use mine with oil heat keeps the oil from kicking on all the time.


reddit_dwhyer t1_iujodd8 wrote

I have 2 mini splits and they are great. I got it mostly for AC but I used them to heat up my office in the winter and don't notice major changes in my bill


HRzNightmare t1_iuk353z wrote

Just a reminder for the oil burners here... Use for purchasing oil. You can use a credit card, and it's the cheapest way to (legally) get oil. The oil cones from a local company.


Boring_Garbage3476 t1_iuk8r5p wrote

I would keep the oil and add heat pumps. It will cost you nothing to leave the current heating system in place. More affordable heat pump systems can be a bit lacking when it is extremely cold. We have heat pumps at work. During really cold times, we have to set the heat on the high side before the cold sets in for it to keep up. They are a pretty affordable option, but unless you get a really good system, I'd want oil to supplement here and there.


Carnivore_Receptacle t1_iuk9xpi wrote

Anybody tried this with radiators? I have an 1800 square ft house built in 1905. Oil prices are bleeding us dry.


gatogrande t1_iuiitbs wrote

You heard about the letter Neversource sent to biden? Dire wording about the ability to provide service? I wouldnt go putting all the eggs in one basket. Heat pumps don't work in cold weather, FYI


somerndmnumbers t1_iujjv5a wrote

That used to be sound logic for air source heat pumps, but the newer tech ones do work in cold temps. The one I installed will output 80% of it's max rated BTU down to -22°F outdoor temperature. That's rather amazing compared to the old traditional single stage units. No need for backup heat.


gatogrande t1_iuk1joq wrote

Make and model?


somerndmnumbers t1_iuk31rv wrote

Mine is a "MRCOOL" MDU18024036 I believe they are rebranded Gree units. It's a lower-mid level performance unit and still makes me very happy!