Home Heating and Cooling

Carl, I'm planning on building a 2000 sq. ft. ranch house on a slab in a rural area in northeast Ohio.

My wife wants central air. What would be my best choice for heating and cooling? Natural gas will not be available. I also plan on using a wood burner.

I think our temperatures may be to cold for a heat pump.

I haven’t been able to decide what the best system would be while trying to figure initial cost, fuel cost, and future maintenance or replacement costs.


You may want to explore the following options.

1. A propane furnace with central air. Propane is more efficient than natural gas and a totally “green” fuel. Read “Propane vs. Natural Gas” on propane101.com.

2. A Heat Pump with a propane gas backup.

3. A Geothermal Heat Pump. They are more energy efficient than air-source heat pumps because they draw heat from, or release heat to, the earth, which has moderate temperatures year round, rather than to the air (which is generally colder in winter and warmer in summer than the earth, resulting in less effective heat transfer).

4. A Reverse Cycle Chiller (RCC). They offer the advantages of allowing you to choose from a wide variety of heating and cooling distribution systems, from radiant floor systems to forced air systems with multiple zones. It also offers the potential for lower winter electric bills and hotter air out of the supply vents for greater comfort.


Courtesy: NAHB Research Center

An RCC is especially economical for all-electric homes or in areas where natural gas is not available. Depending on other fuel rates, it may even be the least expensive heating option over all of the remaining heating fuel choices.

A Reverse Cycle Chiller system will be about 25% more than conventional heat pump systems. (NAHB Research Center)

You’ve got your homework cut out for you, but there are some great new options available.
Carl Heldmann, byoh.com