Trane XL14i or Lennox XP15

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Old 12-29-06, 12:07 PM
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Trane XL14i or Lennox XP15

Hi all.

I'm putting a 360 square foot addition on my 1100 square foot house. Our current Amana HVAC unit sits right where the addition is going. It's also about 13 years old and sounds like a freight train. So we've decided to install a new system along with the addition. The Heil contractor eyeballed the house and determined we needed a 3 SEER, but both the Lennox and Trane guys said 2.5, which is what we have now. The Trane guy was the most thorough of the bunch. Neither the Trane nor the Lennox guy wanted to go to 3 tons.

So far, this is what we've got:

1) Heil DX 1400, 3 tons, up to 14 SEER - $6250 + $1100 for duct work in addition, warranty 7/1
2) Lennox XP15 (Variable), 2.5, up to 16 SEER, - $7750 (duct work in addition, new electrical line)
3) Trane XL14i (Variable), 14.75 SEER (he did the numbers with the handler), $6989 (includes duct work, would replace all ducts and add balancers, whatever they are, through the rest of the house for $450 more). I would need to bring an electrician in to put in a new wire for the unit though.

Remember, these prices include new duct work and a new return in a 360 square foot addition.

I've pretty much narrowed it down to the Trane and the Lennox. Any thoughts?

And has anyone ever negotiated the price? If so, why not? It seems like there is room for negotiation in something like this, much like a car. I was thinking of asking the Trane guy to throw in the new duct work for the old portion of the house for an even $7000.

Thanks for your time!
 
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Old 12-29-06, 02:51 PM
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I think you are on the right track. I prefer the Trane. Parts are more readily available if needed.

Suggestion 1, don't oversize. You will regret it later. Second, you are not buying a car. You are buying a bunch of boxes and the knowledge of how to assemble them. If you asked me to negotiate, I would ask first if you negotiate with your surgeon before he takes out your gall bladder. Probably not and why? Because you don't want to compromise the quality of the work. If you negotiate at all it may be to ask for an extended labor warranty or a better thermostat but if you try to get more WORK for less money, you will get less of something else. He may tell his installer that he needs to be finished with the job 4 hours earlier than they would if you had paid the asking price. That way he makes what he needs to make on the job. However, you won't know what they omitted to make up the 4 hours. I guess what I'm saying is by the time you realize that you didn't win the battle, the war will be over.

Ken
 
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Old 12-29-06, 03:51 PM
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Thanks...

Keith,

Fair enough, although I must admit that the experience I've had with one sales reps reminded me of the experience of buying a car. Moreover, sales reps are not doctors, and I'm not sure that my HVAC system is as important as my gall blatter. I'm sure (and have read on other forums like this that this occurs) that sales reps tailor their bids to the customer (the "old lady" problem). Remember, these are not the craftsmen who install them. If I'm not mistaken, the sales rep works on commission and has a margin to work with at his discretion. He is the primary loser (or winner, depending on how you look at it) if he gives a bit on the price. Also, my best bid came after I spent a few hours educating myself on forums like this and I was able to tell the rep what I wanted and what I knew about his product. The Trane sales rep spent over an hour at my house and came back with what seemed to be a fair deal, unlike the Heil and Lennox guys who were in and out in 15 minutes.

Anyway, since I'm moving in the direction of the Trane, I'm going to get one or two more bids on it and then decide on the basis of both price and my comfort level with the company. (You rarely get to meet the actual installers until they come to do the install).

Thanks again, and any more thoughts on my original question would be appreciated. You almost feel bad asking if it's okay to negotiate, but I'd hate to think that a contractor would sharpen his pencil only to shortchange me on quality.

BH
 
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Old 12-30-06, 01:27 PM
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And has anyone ever negotiated the price? If so, why not? It seems like there is room for negotiation in something like this, much like a car. I was thinking of asking the Trane guy to throw in the new duct work for the old portion of the house for an even $7000.

With KField YES AND NO. If you can or not ,it is all in just how much work they have going as to if you can get the price down. You might also see what CASH will do for you. That works lots of time

Id say go for the Trane XL15i with a V/S blower stay with the R22 sure. You want the seer of 15 or over for the TAX credit from the IRS of $300. You also can get the 10 year warranty on it all. If you are going to stay in the home for 10 years or more go for the good stuff.

AND GET 3 BIDS
 
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Old 12-30-06, 03:11 PM
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Ed...

Thanks Ed for the input. I think we're going to go with the R410a, which unfortunately makes the XL15i not an option.

BUT - how does this sound?

Both the Lennox and Trane guy pegged me at 2.5 tons. But a Heil guy (who I'm not going with - he wanted more for his 14 SEER one speed than the Trane and Lennox guys with their 15 SEER VS units) told me 3 tons. We're actually going to be at 1480 square feet with the addition, and the Trane rep did a really thorough load calculation and came out at 2.5 tons. While he'd like to sell me a XL16i, he just thinks that given what I want (R410a, etc), the 2.5 ton XL14i is the best for me. He got it up to 14.75 SEER by matching it to a slighly more powerful air handler.

Anyway, over at HVAC talk they're telling me that I might go with the XL16i running at 3 tons, and it's two stage thingy (yes, homeowner here!) would compensate by running at a lower speed. That may be the reason why they don't do increments of .5 tons in the 2-stage product line. Anyway, what say you? Does this make sense? Even though my house is 2.5 tons, would this setup work and get me the increased efficiencies? I'm not just about saving money and getting tax breaks - this is a personal choice to do my part to save energy.

Thanks,

Brandon
 
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Old 12-30-06, 03:45 PM
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I Dont like the XL16i . That 2 stage they all talk about . The compressor runs then when it drops downto 1 stage it just runs and unloads just one stage of the compressor. So you have the compressor stilling running.
I'm not just about saving money and getting tax breaks - this is a personal choice to do my part to save energy.
Ok then you want to go on up to the XL19i. There you have 2 compressors. That way only one runs if you need just a little cool. This is the one to go for then and it will sure lower your electric bill.
Id still go for the R 22 it will be made till 2030. The R410a just cost to much. Also R410a is a mix.SO if you do have a leak could be all the freon has to be taken out of the unit and all new R410a but back in cost $$$$.

My .02 cents ED
 
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Old 12-31-06, 05:59 AM
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Brandon,

a couple of questions.

What is your electric rate?
What area of country do you live?
What size is existing system?

I have to admit that I think Trane/AmStd make the best heat pumps but Carrier/Bryant have the best overall HP system with their Infinity/Evolution controls.

I don't care for the XL15i or the 2 stg XL19i unless you live in a climate where AC is more important than heating. Both the single stg XL14i and 2 stg XL16i have a better balance of SEER and HSPF ratings. While I respect ED's opinion, he does not like the new refrigerant over the R-22. The market is moving toward R410a and it is my opinion you should not base your HVAC equipment purchase on type of refrigerant. Depending on area/climate you live, I like the idea of going to a 3 ton 2 stg model like the XL16i because of the operational savings plus the extra capacity will help you especially on the heating size. One caveat. Your ductwork must be inspected as to size to handle a 3 ton model. If you elect to stay with a single stg model, then definitely include the matching var spd air handler. [I] would alos include a good media filter cabinet and a programmable stat.

Ask your dealer to certify in writing the SEER ratings for the size and models you are considering if the tax break is an important issue. I also suggest that you review the load calculation very carefully for accuracy.

IMO
 
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Old 12-31-06, 10:53 AM
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Tigerdunes...

Thanks so much for your post. That helps a lot. I live in central North Carolina where we do sometimes dip below freezing at night from December through February, but right now we're enjoying high 50's during the day (will be in the 60s next week), and generally hover in the 40s-50s throughout the winter. In the summer we quickly move into the 90s and stay there from mid June through mid-September.

Embarrasingly, I couldn't tell you what our electric rate or our last bill was. My wife takes care of that bill.

We will definitely be going with the R410a.

The Trane rep got us up to 14.75 SEER by matching the XL14i to a 4TWX4030 VS AHU. He said our current ducts were okay. I told him I'd be willing to spend a little bit more to upgrade them so that I'd get the most out of the new system and he said he could upgrade the existing system (can't read his writing on the proposal, looks like new Trunk Line?) and add "balancers" for another $450. I'd be willing to do that. But he actually thought that the 2.5 unit was pulling quite a bit for the system - showed me how the air filter in the return was being sucked back very hard, like it was on a tight spring, when the current system (13 year old 2.5 Amana) kicked into gear.

Anyway, I sent the Trane rep an email about the possibility of a 16XLi and am waiting for him to get back to me, but when he was here he actually steered me away from it, saying that the 14XLi matched my needs best. I'm sure he would want to sell me a more expensive unit - and in a way I want to buy it - but he didn't think it was worth it given that even with my addition I'd still be under 1500 square feet. That said, the Heil rep wanted to bump me to a 3 ton, but he seemed to make that recommendation based simply on the fact that I already had a 2.5 ton and was adding square footage.

One last question: the Lennox rep, who wanted me in a 2.5 ton XP15, said it would include a "Healthy Climate 10 Media Air Cleaner" (HC10) which would get rid of the pollen, dust mites, and "bioarosols". Now, does this gizmo mean that I'd need to have them back out here every year replacing the filter? Is this a big deal? Or is this like the pairing knife that comes with the set of knives you buy on infomercials?

Thanks for your help again!
 
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Old 12-31-06, 11:39 AM
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It sounds to me like you have found a pretty good contractor. The media air filter uses slide-in filters. They are easily replaced by you. The best air filter is the clean effects and it costs more money. The more you tell us about the Trane contractor, the more I think he is looking out for your budget AND comfort. He should explore the possibility of adding more return air. Other than that I think you are well on the way to a better system.

Ken
 
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Old 12-31-06, 12:13 PM
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Ken,

I think so too. He already made an allowance for the return - he'll put it in the new addition. I am going to get one more bid from a Trane rep, as I only have one. But unless the next guy beats the first one by 5% or more AND demonstrates the same care in specing my house and system, I will likely go with the first one because he really did the best to educate me and seemed genuinely concerned with matching me with the right system. He also said he wasn't the cheapest, but he wasn't the most expensive either.
 
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Old 12-31-06, 01:27 PM
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BH

Here is the website for the Lennox HC 10 filter. It appears to be nothing more than a conventional box media filter like Trane's perfect fit, AprilAir,Honeywell, or Airbear. I have Trane's Perfect fit media cabinet. Filters are very easy to change out-the OEM Trane filters are pricey but less expensive generics are available off the net.

If your current 2.5 ton system is performing satisfactorily, then I question that a 2.5 ton will be acceptable with your addition especially for hot NC summers. I would want to see the numbers from his load calculation and you should ask your dealer to run the numbers for cooling at 95 deg fah. There is nothing worse than either an undersized or oversized system. you may be in a borderline situation where sizing is crucial to your comfort.

What size heat strip has your contractor recommended?

IMO

http://www.lennox.com/products/overview.asp?model=HC10
 
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Old 12-31-06, 01:43 PM
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The Trane rep spent a good deal of time calculating the load - measured every room, noted every window, heights of ceilings, etc. He came up with 14.75; Btuh cooling - 24,000 sens, 30,000 total; Btuh Heating (38,000). The Heatstrip is 10 kw.

He spent 10 minutes looking over the plans to the addition and took into account the added square footage (1100 + 360).

He also thought that the current 2.5 might be too much. But now I'm wondering if the XL16i at 3 tons might still be the better match, as it can run at 60% when necessary.

Boy this is really tough. I'm going to spend at least 7k on this replacement and really do want to get it right. I suppose I'll let the next Trane rep do a load calculation too and see what he comes up with. If he's at 2.5 too, and so was the Lennox guy, and they don't recommend going up to 3, then I'll have too trust them, especially when they could be selling me a slightly more expensive unit.

Thanks again for all your help. I think I'll have the Trane contractor install their air filter while they're at it.

Have a great New Year. I'll let you know next Wednesday what I've decided (I've got a couple other guys coming in, including an AS contractor).

BH
 
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Old 01-01-07, 11:43 AM
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Im with the rest . Sounds like that Trane guy is on your side all the way. So go for it. Dont forget a humidifier there also. The heat pump is a dream . Thats all we put in here in MO anymore
You can compare fuel cost for where you live . Go to http://warmair.net
You said heat lost at 38K that 10 kw should give you 34,150 Btu

Im still for the XL19i With 2 compressors. Put one in for my daughter down in FL in sept. Took out a 3.5 ton Rheem put in a 4 ton XL19i with V/S blower first electric bill dropped $90.
Years back A/S had a 5 ton unit with a 2 and a 3 ton compressor. Split coil ,they all had low power bills. Have did 4 ton units with two 2 ton condenser units and split coil with one blower two stage tstat. The most we use in Com.are two 5 ton blowers and two high side for 10 ton . With both blowers comeing on but the high sides come on with a 2 stage tstat.

TigerDunes First its the cost of the R410a. Then if you have a leak and do a recovery. Just who or where did you get some one to take the old R410a back for reclaim. We cant get anyone to take the old R410a back.
Now if I have it right its the chlorine in the R22 that get the ozone . So what about all the chorine we use in the water we drink.In all the swimming pools. In all the water we use for washing. Thats got to get to the ozone.
 
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Old 01-02-07, 01:02 PM
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Thanks again.

We're going to go with the 14XLi - the Trane guy, who we really like a lot, just doesn't want me to go up to 3 tons. I respect that - he really seems to be looking out for our best interests.

NOW - new question (The Trane guy is indifferent to this, btw).

The current heat pump needs to be moved to begin work on the addition. BUT we could just remove it now and operate on the emergency electrical heat for 6 weeks from the old air handler (which will also be replaced). Then, when the addition is ready, we could install the new system and have it properly calibrated and charged (or whatever you guys do!) for the house + addition. This would also allow me to use the same electrician (from the GC) who's wiring the addition to run the high voltage wire and circuit for the new HVAC to the other side of the house (where we're putting it).

The point of doing this would hopefully be to calibrate it right once for the house with the addition, rather than having to redo it once the addition was on.

On the other hand, we're going to have to eat 6 weeks of high heating costs I guess. But that shouldn't be that bad, should it?

Thanks!
 
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Old 01-02-07, 02:05 PM
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BH

I would postpone your addition until early spring for the following reasons.

1.cost of using emergency heat

2.emergency heat will not provide the necessary BTUs to keep your home comfortable except in very moderate weather; in other words prepare to be cold

3.heat pump is difficult to charge in winter and most likely will have to be fine tuned later in warmer weather

BTW,the 14XLi is a great single stg HP.

Good Luck!

IMO
 
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Old 01-02-07, 03:37 PM
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Postponing is not an option - we just need to get this thing done. Lumber is cheap now and we have a builder who is ready to go, but may not be come spring when he and a lot of others take bigger and more profitable jobs. We don't get too cold around here anyway, and it will only be about six weeks without the unit. I expect we'd have a much higher bill, but by not moving the heat pump to the other side of the house (this won't be necessary anymore because we can build and then put the new unit behind the addition), we also save on moving the high voltage line and circuitry.

Anyway, we'll have to think more about it. Right now its a balmy 50 and will be heading toward 70 (!) by Saturday. Of course, it will likely get cold again, but we probably will only have a week or more of sub-40 temperatures this year.

I wonder how much the electric heat would increase the bill for the six weeks?
 
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Old 01-03-07, 09:59 AM
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bh2004
Go for it now You got the GC there use him. Use the old furnace EME in your unit now. Dont let them run the new unit till all the work is done. We rent the GC old electric furnace we have for heat now and like just set it in the home. WE will not let any GC run our units for heat or cool till the home is done. I dont care how you try you cant get the ducts or the units clean. If used while the home is built
 
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Old 01-03-07, 02:39 PM
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Thanks, Ed.

That's what we're going to do. We were also told today that we could leave the old heat pump in place while they build the foundation around it and then remove it when they start putting the joists in. That way we'll only have to run the electric heater for 3-4 weeks, because it will be more or less ready by then for the new system.

Got another Trane quote today and it was right in where the first guy was, so I think I'm comfortable where I'm at. The American Standard guy came in a little lower, but he's never done an R410a unit before and the warranty was not the same as the Trane 10 parts/2 labor, so I'll stick with the Trane.

Thanks again for all your help! I'll send a picture to the list when we have it in.

BH
 
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Old 01-03-07, 04:44 PM
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I'd up your warranity and buy the 10 years labor warranity, that way you have a piece of mind for the next 10 year if something did go wrong.
 
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Old 01-04-07, 02:17 PM
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Signed the Paperwork Today

Boy, that fourth estimate was the charm. Two neighbors recommended a contractor who had installed their Tranes so we brought him out as well. Not only was he the most thorough and professional, but he blew the competition away in price. I'm talking $1500 less (5500 vs. 7000). AND this INCLUDES almost a complete overhaul of my existing duct work, addition of dampers, plus the work on the addition. The others wanted an additional $500-800 for that. He beat one estimate by almost $4000. I nearly fell off my seat and made absolutely sure everything was in order. It was. I even asked him if he was making any money on this, because we wanted him to, and he said that his price was a little lower this time a year, and would have been 10% higher in the spring. Fine with us. We'll have the money to do the 10-year labor warranty as well. And I'll be able to buy a bottle of wine for my neighbors who steered me in the right direction.

Anyway, thanks for all your help! We're going to do the install once the addition is up and run for 3 weeks on the electric heat.
 
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Old 01-04-07, 04:01 PM
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Glad to hear that you found a better deal!

Do you know know what t-stat you are going with?

Post some before /after pictures for us.
 
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