View Full Version : Researching for a new HVAC unit
07-04-2006, 11:02 AM
Can anyone help point me toward the choices for a new residential central air unit, to include all the newest technology? I'm being proactive with replacing a old rusty Heil Heat Pump (includes electric heating). Each year the PM cycle is more difficult, and reveals new corrision and wear & tear - this year the evap coils look very rusty. So, being a Type A maintenance person by trade (not HVAC), now I want to get a new unit before this one craps-out on a Sunday night next July. What are my choices nowadays? We are in a 12 year old 1,100 sq. ft. house, with soft ductwork in the crawl-space & floor registers. I DO NOT want a split unit, for all the obvious installation and preventive maintenance reasons. And, tell me something else - why is the expected lifetime of a unit out here APPARENTLY so much less than in Yuma or Phoenix (Arizona). Out West most of us expect and get 30-plus years or service from a residential unit. Here in TN even the HVAC Meachanics I talk to seem to think 15 years is about right. Is it because the corrosion cycle is more of a factor here in all this moisture - or what? And, if you use the compressor to heat during the winter (which NO ONE does in the desert), instead of just the heat strips, does that significantly impact the life of the unit? The past two years I've been running nothing but heat strip heating during the winter, with very reasonable electric bills. Some HVAC guys here tell me I'm crazy to not just let my scroll compressor run all year long, and that my winter bills should be 4 times as high by using just heat strips. I think I've proven that THEY are crazy. But, tell me I'm wrong, or right. A lot of questions, for sure, but I'm hungry for answers. Feed me, Seymore.
07-04-2006, 11:10 AM
I prefer either Carrier or Trane, which can provide the latest technologies you are looking for. I would defiantly seek out "variable speed" air handlers. If you really wanted to go with a packaged heat pump, Trane would probably be the choice I would make. As far as life expectancy, Arizone is VERY dry and Tennesse is VERY wet by comparison, moisture will shorten the lifespan of equipment, just be happy you don't live near the ocean where 10-15 years is just about right. As far as heat pump usage, in a higher efficiency properly installed system, the compressor will use less electric than the electric heat strips, to truly benefit from this you need a theromstat that can lock out the electric heat until it is absolutly needed, or your thermostat is going to turn the electric heat on a little more often than is really needed.
07-04-2006, 06:59 PM
heat pumps in phx are 80% of units here. when we order a unit we dont get heat strips unless we specify them. we heat with a comp. the heat season is nothing. buy a trane.14 seer or 16 seer is the only choice in package units. you wont regret it. the thing about no one does it it the dessert is untrue. i have been a svc tech in phx for 18 yrs, its all heat pump with no strip heat. strip heat is the most expensive heat there is.
07-05-2006, 10:02 PM
All the comments are greatly appreciated guys! cde72, your advice is just what I was looking for. And, acbyj208, the specific recommendation of a 14 or 16 SEER Trane is good information. Thanks to both of you. Now, granted I did solicit being slapped around, but permit me to clear up a couple of things.
I was born and raised in Yuma, and spent from 1964 to 1971 in Phoenix, so I am well aware of Arizona weather, and of refrigeration and heating there.
It was obviously a bit over the top to say that “no one” heats their home using a compressor - it was a poor way to stress a point. But, during my 50 years in both cities I never knew a single person who heated that way. Now that natural gas is outrageously priced, perhaps more or even most people use a heat pump to warm their homes in the desert winter. But, all my life in AZ I observed that only stupid or rich people heated their houses by any means other than gas.
Also, I did not mean to suggest that anyone would use heat strips out there – Arizona Public Service (APS) company makes that prohibitively expensive. My God, lots of people used to get bills from APS for $400 plus during the summer months. The reference was to the relative low cost of electricity here in TN, and the LOWER bills I have seen since using strictly heat strips versus the heat pump. I realize that scenario defies common knowledge, but I have the bills to prove it. So, you tell me why?
I don’t pretend to know much about heat pumps, other than from anecdotal evidence since moving out here in 1999. But, I do know a lot about my home, the Grand Canyon state. I may live in Tennessee, but I’ll always be a “desert rat”.
That’s where I’m coming from.
[Edited by k7bdd on 07-05-2006 at 08:15 PM]
07-05-2006, 10:23 PM
Originally posted by k7bdd
here in TN, and the LOWER bills I have seen since using strictly heat strips versus the heat pump. I realize that scenario defies common knowledge, but I have the bills to prove it. So, you tell me why?
well the only hypothisis that comes to my mind is the ductwork causing a negative pressure in the home. This along with the associated longer run times of heatpump verses electric backup shorter run times is where the energy is lost.
I am not selling squat here, just tryin to help ....
(and spilt system is better,usually)
07-05-2006, 10:36 PM
and there are other scenarios that relate to longer run times.
Or it might be any number of mechanical problems with your heatpump.
did you say it was not a spit system?
07-05-2006, 10:57 PM
Correct, Jacob, it is not a split-system. Interesting ideas about the run times and negative pressure. Perhaps a new unit is needed more than I realize - and new flex duct too - along with a better installation??
Thanks a bunch.
[Edited by k7bdd on 07-05-2006 at 09:01 PM]
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