Replacement of Condo's HVAC Questions
Hi guys - hoping I could get some advise on how best to proceed,
I have a 3rd floor, vaulted ceiling (in living/dining) condo (1100 sqft) in Houston with a 2.5 ton condensor outside and indoor furr-down air handler (installed '98.) The current SEER rating is 8 and its leaking freon I am trying to have it replaced now. I have received 4 quotes with a wide variation in price and equipment choices so I wanted some help deciding how best to proceed. All 4 quotes indicate I should remain with a 2.5 ton system and go to equipment with a SEER 14 rating.
1. Based on my understanding, SEER is an efficiency rating - and since I have a furr-down unit, am I stuck with a max efficiency SEER 14? Also my understanding is aside from tonnage, the SEER ratings of the air handler and outside condenser have to the match? Do I have any options?
2. I do have attic access with a very large open area above the central area where the furrdown unit is in the ceiling and the ductwork must be - but I get the general impression from reading here that putting anything in the attic is not a good idea?
3. Should I consider some sort of renovation to place a different air handler in the unit? I am posting a small version of the floorplan. The intake is located in the ceiling (non cathedral) of the hallway. The bedrooms are non-cathedral. The living/dining is cathedral ceilings.
4. My father has a pref for Trane and as such, it seems the outdoor unit is an XB14 in the quotes. The indoor-unit gets more interesting. Multiple contractors are telling us that instead of using Tranes XB4FWF air handler we should use First Company's 30HX-10 Fan Coil as its the same thing and Trane rebrands them. I am confused though - the Trane seems to have a all aluminum fan coil while First Company's website says mixed copper and aluminum. How is this possible? Should I even trust this or go along with it?
Any thoughts/comments on what I should do here? I want to choose a contractor based on their merits, but also on ensuring they are recommending the most cost effective system I can for the unit as I am moving my parents in as their retirement home and I dont want to have to worry about things breaking/repairs or outrageous electricity bills. I am hampered by my lack of knowledge in these furr-down based units on what I should expect to see quoted to me.
thanks for your help!