LESLIE: Alright, Daryl in Maryland wants to talk about a heat pump.
Daryl, how can we help?
DARYL: Got a question about – actually, I’m updating a heat pump. Built a house 1993; so 12 years ago or so at this point. And I think they were – it’s a dual-zone system, upstairs/downstairs, and they were rated, I think, SEER 10 at the time. Wonder if it’d be a worthwhile investment to upgrade those to the new – I guess they’ve got 12, 13, maybe even more than that SEER ratings now.
TOM: Now are you replacing this heat pump?
DARYL: Yeah, I’d be replacing it.
TOM: How old is the original pump? Say it again.
DARYL: About 12 years old.
TOM: Yeah. You know, at that age, you’re not going to have a lot more life in it as it is, so it probably is a good idea to replace it and upgrade it to the higher SEER ratings. Because the technology has changed and as long as you use Energy Star-rated, high-efficiency heat pump, it’s definitely going to be worth it because that is like one of the most expensive ways to heat your house. You want every lick of energy efficiency you can possibly get.
DARYL: Right. Now I have – on the downstairs unit, I have a gas backup, so it’s not the resistance coils.
TOM: Oh, well that’s good. That’s very, very good. Because yeah, a lot of heat pumps have electric resistance heat as backups. And you know, the way a heat pump works is it only maintains the temperature in your home if it drops two degrees. So if you set the temperature at 74, if it drops to 73 it’s in the heat pump mode; 72 it’s in the heat pump mode; falls to 71, the backup heat comes on and, in most cases, that’s electric. So if you have a gas backup, then you’re in better shape than most of us are.
DARYL: Yeah, I’ve been pretty happy with the gas backup but, really, the electric bills for me are more high in the summer with the air conditioning.
LESLIE: Yeah, they would match that in the winter if you had an electric backup.
DARYL: Yeah, right. It would be different, you’re right.
TOM: OK, Daryl?
TOM: Alright, thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT.