4 Replies Latest reply on Dec 6, 2014 10:43 AM by BoBraxton

    hybrids - not 'GMO'


      I am in the dealership (service) to get LOW beam left headlight rectified.

      End of March 2015 our Prius will be ten years old (we will have owned a decade).

      Our other Prius is our Hybrid heating - "heat pump" combined with "legacy" natural gas furnace.

      Even so, our most recent electric was abou $117 or more and will be high four more months.

      I think this is our second winter with the hybrid heating / cooling.

      We have replace two times in thirty years - this hybrid was quite a bit more expensive than the previous

      replacement (A/C and furnace) for about $5,900

      That was when we both still earned salaries.

        • Re: hybrids - not 'GMO'

          If considering a gas (NG) furnace with or without the heat pump look at the most recent Consumers Reports for the frequency of repair information. Unfortunately, I bought that beautiful, high efficiency NG furnace from the manufacturer with the worst repair record. Unfortunately, CR did not start these ratings until after we bought the bad one!


          Buying this hybrid heat pump was our first experience with one. After living with it for a few years, I am positive that I made a mistake. We don't like the cooler register temperature much and frequently switch it to run on emergency NG during the very short winter that we have. If I had to do it again, I would have stuck with a very high efficiency A/C unit and a NG 80% furnace that is smart enough to vary its burner levels and fan speed (which we have now). The extra $1,000 for a 90%+ furnace and the PVC pipe installation in dry wall and brick exterior walls would be expensive or also ugly if not hidden.


          In addition if I could easily have added a 2nd system for each floor, I would have done that in order to gain much better temperature control on each floor separately. Unfortunately, the original owner made that almost impossible due to dry wall in the garage and who knows what kind of vent design.


          My real wish was to get a geothermal unit that could provide heat, cooling and provide hot water for much of the warmer season. At the time a replacement system for our 4-ton system would have cost $6,000/ton. Even with a 30% tax credit, there was no way I would ever recover that cost in my lifetime. And worse, the cost/ton has gone up. If one is building a new house when things are already dug up, you can design it right with proper insulation and you intend to live there for many years, I would recommend looking closely at this option.

            • Re: hybrids - not 'GMO'

              I've met some geothermal heat pump geeks who have gotten great performance out of their rigs, but it sure is complicated and must be expensive.  Too bad you can't retrofit a more efficient system into your present house!  Our solar basement was designed to be efficient, by us, and isn't that complicated to run.  No pumps, just some vents and a computer controlled fan.  The part that will probably break most often is the garage door opener which we use to raise and lower the basement window insulation.   It's cheaper than plumbing to repair, at least.  That's a major benefit to a passive solar design.  I think ours is the only one in the world that combines that with a relatively inexpensive and ordinary manufactured house.   If you Google passive solar manufactured house, we are top of the list (below the advertisements).  Our photo is also the first image they show you.

              • Re: hybrids - not 'GMO'

                Thank you for all this good information.

                We did (briefly) look at a vacation home (on the Chesapeake Bay) shore

                which had put in a geo-thermal.

                Now there is sea rise (as much as 5 1/2 feet by the end of this century).

                That house is still for sale, I believe.