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Deciding between conventional heat pump and minisplits

I'm working with homeowners who are considering an HVAC upgrade for their new house, approximately 2,000 sq.ft. It's vintage 1970's, but we'll be doing a number of air-sealing and insulation upgrades. Eventually we'll have an HVAC design professional come check the place out, and make recommendations, but for the moment we're considering what options are out there. Currently, the house has the original forced air ductwork, with a new heat pump put in last year by previous owner. It's a Lennox XP14-042, with matching new air handler and resistance heat. No other heat except wood stove in living room.

First of all, basic question: how much heat is this unit capable of producing? At what temperature does it typically cut out and call for resistance heating?

The homeowners like the efficiency of minisplits, but would need at least three to properly handle the zones of this house. Leaving aside questions of ventilation and envelope efficiency, is it a stretch to consider replacing the quite new all-electric system with another that is only marginally more efficient, for a capital investment of something like $15K? I'm suggesting the minisplits for all the reasons that they're great--I just wish it meant replacing an old fuel oil furnace rather than the new Lennox.

With sufficient upgrades in insulation and air-sealing, is the Lennox a good-enough option and worth keeping?

Asked by Andy Chappell-Dick
Posted Jul 8, 2014 11:30 AM ET

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Andy,
I see no reason to replace brand new equipment. Invest your money elsewhere.

Answered by Martin Holladay
Posted Jul 8, 2014 2:48 PM ET

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