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Community and Q&A

HVAC Condenser Replacement Options

conor_mc | Posted in Mechanicals on

I’ve owned my 23 year old house for less than 1 year.  It has 2 HVAC zones (upstairs/downstairs) forced air heating/cooling with propane heating.  The winter heating was very expensive and I’m working on re-insulating my basement now and air sealing and re-insulating my attic in the fall.

My first floor condenser unit died.  A leak somewhere in the condenser unit and there’s no refrigerant left.  I can pay $1500+ for someone to hopefully fix the leak and recharge the system, but is there a greener option that I can replace it with that might help with my heating bills in the winter as well?  I’m assuming the cost of propane is only going to increase this winter.

3000 sq ft colonial house in southern NH.   Climate zone 5/6 border


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  1. paul_wiedefeld | | #1

    Centrally ducted heat pump options would be the green option. Likely significantly cheaper depending on what your electricity rate is.

    1. conor_mc | | #2

      My latest electrical bill was $0.2 per kWh.
      Are there any articles that describe the ducted heat pump options in more detail? It would be nice to see pros and cons and any recommended make/models.

      1. paul_wiedefeld | | #3

        Energy costs are easy to compare:
        $.20/kwh x (1,000,000 Btu/(3412 btu/kwh)) / 2.5 COP = $23.45/MMBtu for electricity, while propane's costs are:
        $3/gallon x (1,000,000 btu / (91,500 Btu/gallon)) / .9 COP = $36.43/MMBtu. So electricity would be about 36% cheaper if you pay $3/gallon for propane.

        1. conor_mc | | #5

          Great thank you! And thanks for linking that article I'll read through it.

      2. Jon_Harrod | | #4

        Hi Conor,

        I did a series on this subject a couple months ago that walks you through the process. Here is the link to the first article:

        I tried to keep the articles brand-neutral. I installed a Mitsubishi SVZ series air handler in my own home in Upstate NY (also zone 5/6) and have been delighted with it.

        1. conor_mc | | #6

          Perfect thank you! I knew there would be good articles on this topic already on this site!

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