Requesting help with new heat pump purchase

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  #1  
Old 05-16-10, 01:43 PM
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Requesting help with new heat pump purchase

I am replacing my 18 year old Trane heat pump and I am looking for some help in deciding which system is best. The 18 year old system was a 2.5 ton system. I live in the triad area of NC (moderate winters, hot, humid summers). I asked a local HVAC contractor to do a load test. They did that and felt that a 3 ton unit would be preferred. The contractor suggested sticking with Trane because the existing ductwork should match up.

I like the idea of replacing with another Trane since the old model held up so well, but I'm open to other brands like Rheem or Carrier. In fact, I may be able to get a Rheem system at cost, which would be nice.

Anyway, the contractor quoted me 3 different Trane models.

4TWX5036A1000A $7016
4TWR5036A1000A $5882
4TWX6036A1000A $7769

all would be paired with a 4TEE3F40B1000A air handler and a
10KW BAYHTR14100000 strip heater. Install would include new concrete pad, new condensate line, thermostat, etc.

First question - are those prices fair? I plan to get two more quotes from other companies, but I was wondering if these quotes are in the ballpark?

Second question - I've looked at several threads here where the XL15i is recommended. The most expensive option is a XL16i and has a two-stage compressor. Is the two-stage compressor a "gotta have" item or would it present more headaches?

Thank you for the help! Any other suggestions/critiques are welcome.
 
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Old 05-17-10, 04:29 AM
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winston

these are my minimum specs for a new HP system. both outside and inside units should be replaced to have a properly matched system.

15 SEER, 12.5+ EER, 9 HSPF
best matching VS air handler
full BTUs in both cooling and heating for your rated size
R-410a refrigerant(same as Puron)
scroll compressor preferred
electronic demand defrost preferred
thermostat with "dehumidify on demand" feature
staged backup heat strips
new and correctly sized refrigerant lineset

you want a thorough inspection of your ductwork system. size, overall condition, supply and return lines, insulation qualities, leak test, etc.

any hot/cold spot issues in your home should be addressed.

I would only use authorized dealers for the various brands that provide quotes. see mfg websites.

I would look at Trane/AmStd,Rheem,Carrier/Bryant.

---------------

what size is your home?

how did existing HP perform especially in cooling? I don't like the idea of moving up a 1/2 ton unless supported by facts like a professionally performed Man J for correct sizing. no guessing allowed. and then if you do go up in size, ductwork will need a thorough examination to see if it can handle additional CFMs. Yes, this is a big deal. If you are going to purchase new HVAC, then get it right.

now to the three ton Trane selections.

I would not have the XL16i model. Not worth it plus it has been a problematic mdl-relatively poor heating BTUs and humidity removal for supposedly a top end mdl with a premium price.

Let's look at the numbers for the XR15(the tax credit mdl) and the XL15i. Both systems qualify for tax credit.

3519776 Active Systems XR15 WEATHERTRON TRANE 4TWR5036E1 4TEE3F40B1 37400 12.70 15.00 36200 9.00 23400

1384031 Active Systems XL15I WEATHERTRON TRANE 4TWX5036A1 4TEE3F40B1 37400 12.70 15.00 36200 9.00 23400

as you can see, the performance/eff numbers between the two models are identical.

so the differences between the two besides price are the following:

1.the XL15i is quieter by an inconsequential amt-74db vs 76db

2.the XL15i has the XLi series proprietary condenser top

3.the XL15i has a 12 yr warranty on compressor vs 10 yr on the XR15.

your dealer has either priced the XL15i incorrectly or he is steering you toward the XR15. the XL15i should not be $1100 more than the XR15.

three concerns
1.that you are sized correctly
2.you want the 803 stat or even better the HW VP IAQ stat
3.you get the 7/12KW staged heat strip.

As a suggestion, you might consider getting a price on AmStd's Heritage 15 which for all practical purposes is same as the XL15i.

IMO
Good Luck!
 

Last edited by TigerDunes; 05-17-10 at 05:02 AM.
  #3  
Old 05-17-10, 05:00 AM
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Thanks!

TigerDunes,

After reading the forum, I specifically signed up and posted with the hopes of getting a reply from you.

I believe the contractor did a Manual J calculation on the home. Unfortunately, I could not be there when he did the calculation, so my wife was there. She was with our 7 month old and didn't pay much attention. She said he measured the house, asked questions, etc. but I can't be sure. I haven't talked to him since the quote. The contractor is a Trane Authorized dealer and has NATE certification (if that matters).

The house itself is a 32 year old ranch with a finished basement and nicely insulated attic. We've only lived there 3 years. I know you can't go by square footage alone, but the house is over 2600 sq ft if you include the finished basement. The old unit did okay. The two rooms that get a lot of afternoon sun always were warmer then the rest of the house in summer and colder in the winter. Those two rooms are over the garage too. We don't ask much from the HP - 76 in summer, 68 in winter.

You mentioned the two thermostats. I found the 803 on Trane's website, but I didn't see the other unit you suggested. Is that a Honeywell thermostat?

Thanks again!
 
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Old 05-17-10, 05:31 AM
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winston

what is the size of living area for main floor and size of finished basement.tell dealer you want to see the Man J results in writing on software letterhead.. Ductwork size both supply and return should be reviewed if you elect the three ton system.

FROGs known as "finished rooms over garage" are notorious for good cooling and heating. Usually this is caused by poor insulation qualities and/or poor ductwork system. ask dealer to make recommendation on improving.

Honeywell Vision Pro IAQ is the premium stat that I would recommend for the XL15i or XR15. It has DOD feature-"dehumidify on demand" which is good for area/climate with high summertime humidity like you have.

IMO
Good Luck!
 
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Old 05-17-10, 07:10 AM
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The upstairs living area is ~1800 sq. ft. The finished basement area is probably 800 sq. ft., but I'm not certain on that and will need to measure. I will ask the contractor for the results when I talk with him this morning. I did notice that in the quote they provided they included new supply and return ductwork.

Thanks for all your help!
 
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Old 05-18-10, 07:19 AM
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winston

it is doubtful your quoting dealer is including complete new supply/return ductwork system for the price quoted in your original post.

unless this was an option, you need to check and review this carefully. Perhaps dealer was just including new supply and return plenums at air handler. That's a big difference.

BTW, how many returns do you have in home? you use 1" filters at these returns?

as stated, if you do elect a three ton system, your complete ductwork system will need a thorough evaluation.

how many supply and returns do you have for finished basement?

IMO
 
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Old 05-21-10, 04:54 AM
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The quote was for new supply and return plenums.

I've had 4 contractors through and they all think I should go up a 1/2 ton to a 3 ton unit and they all feel the supply and return lines are large enough to handle the difference.

As for the FROGS - some of the ductwork leading to the vents is pinched, which I can easily fix. That should help some.

1900 sq ft upstairs
1000 sq ft finished basement

The basement has 4 supply vents and 1 large return
Upstairs - 6 or 7 returns

The basement return had a filter on it, the upstairs returns do not. Would they need filters, since all the return lines come in above the main filter?
 
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Old 05-22-10, 04:35 AM
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winston

now is the time to get the supplies to the FROG rooms unpinched to see if that works. otherwise, you might consider enlarging those supply runs-something I would look into.

are you telling me that the upstairs returns are unprotected(not filtered) going to air handler? if so, that is a definite problem and needs to be addressed.

where will air handler be located?

I would have dealer tie the basement return and the upstairs return lines back to the air handler and add a 4-5" pleated filter media air cabinet. these filters normally last up to 1 yr and changeout is easy as long as air handler is in a reasonably convenient location.

IMO
Good Luck!
 
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Old 05-23-10, 01:52 PM
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All the things that you suggested are already there on my current 18 year old system, I just didn't understand what you were asking.

All the returns go back to an Aprilaire filter box that has been upgraded with pleated filter media that should last a year, but normally needs changed out every 6-8 months.

The air handler is in the basement.

Ok, so now that I clarified that, here are the quotes on the systems. I received four quotes. Two Trane, Lennox, and a Carrier. Let me know what you think:

Trane:
4TWX5036A1000A, 15 seer, $7016 (10kw heat strip)
4TWR5036A1000A, 15 seer, $5882 (10kw heat strip)
Lennox:
XP14-036, 15 seer, $5758 (12.5kw heat strip)
Carier:
25HPA530A, 16 seer, $7364 (10kw heat strip)

I have one more Trane quote from an independent installer at $6202, but I'm waiting on the model # for the HP.

All units are 3 ton 410A units w/ new programmable thermostat, new variable speed A/H, new line set, new pad, etc.
 
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Old 05-23-10, 02:36 PM
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winston

I will assume all the prices are before any applicable state/utility rebates as well as the Fed Govt HVAC tax credit.

Correct?

I'm a numbers guy.

While you did not provide air handler mdl numbers for the Carrier or Lennox, the choice is easy.

that's the XR15.

3519776 Active Systems XR15 WEATHERTRON TRANE 4TWR5036E1 4TEE3F40B1 37400 12.70 15.00 36200 9.00 23400

keep the AprilAire box.

Add Trane's 803 stat or identical Honeywell model. If you want to splurge, go with HW Vision Pro IAQ with DOD feature.

I would also strongly recommend Trane's two stg 7/12 KW heat strip.

IMO
Good Luck!
 

Last edited by TigerDunes; 05-23-10 at 04:33 PM.
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Old 05-24-10, 06:32 AM
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Lennox a/h info

TigerDunes,

Thanks for the suggestion. I do have the Lennox a/h info.

CBX27UH-036 air handler

I do not have the Carrier a/h info handy, but there quote was way high anyway.
 
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Old 05-24-10, 06:45 AM
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winston

just so you know.

don't know what the Lennox dealer told you but in fact that air handler while having a high eff blower motor is not var speed.

unless the other Trane quote you are waiting on was for the XL15i, my suggestions and recommendation would not change.

FYI, Trane's XR15 condenser whether AC or HP was built,marketed, and sold to take advantage of the tax credit.

refer back to my analysis as far as differences between the XR15 and XL15i.

make no mistake that electronic demand defrost is a big deal in eliminating unnecessary and nuisance defrost calls from the time/temp method. Trane has it, the others don't.

IMO
Good Luck!
 
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