Thanks for all the replies. I know the warranty co will be sending another co out for a second opinion, and more than likely they will find a repair solution--which is fine with me, as long as it is a real fix, but I'm realistic enough to know it will probably last until the warranty period expires:p.
If replacement is the determined remedy, I would rather take the cash settlement and go with a company (and equipment!) of my choosing.
I was not trying to impugn the reputations of cos that do home warranty work, but 2old, nick, and git-r verbalized what my concern was: More reputable HVAC companies will not allow their standards to be compromised by a warranty co., so they don't partner with them. The red tape and reimbursement issues can result in decreased revenue, which requires a lower operating budget, and therefore quality of workforce and materials must be constrained. I'm not complaining, I realize that's the way of the world. I just want to be aware, so I can make the best decision. I would rather spend more and get it done right--It always costs less to do things right the first time.
Again, thanks for the insight, I'll keep everyone posted on the continuing saga...
The company I work for does work for a Home Warranty company. If it is over 3 lbs we leak check. If less we are told not to. On the first visit. Second visit it gets checked. When I do add 3 or less I check the service valves and schraders on first call. When we replace systems we treat it just like a cash customer. Home warranty just provides the equipment ( they use a carrier product). The problem I see is they try to bully us into using mismatched equipment. Say installing a 13 seer heatpump on 10 seer Airhandler. We refuse to do the work that way. Chances are slim you'll get a new system out of them, but it does happen. If their contractor does replace your unit make sure they pull permits and it gets inspected if applicable in your area.
we don't really measure in pounds, there's a mathematical formula for figuring up how much we use
First a disclaimer that I do not do any residential work, except gratis for friends and neighbors. However, in the industrial/aerospace world, do work with a lot of engineers, VERY rarely will anyone (usually a new college grad) spout out that 'formula' line. Everybody in on the discussion immediately knows that person is a big BS artist who does not know what they are doing.
Just a comment. <G>
I wish all Hvac companies and homeowners understood this! Not saying all that work for these home warranty co. are bad but around here I haven't seen the good ones yet!
Originally Posted by vanenk
UPDATE: The home warranty co has authorized replacment of the outdoor unit and air handler. I plan on taking the cash settlement, so I have called a few local cos with good reputations for estimates, since I want to upgrade to a more efficient unit, plus I want to be the end customer, not the warranty co.
I am interested in hearing opinion on brands, I know that can be like the old GM/Ford/Dodge argument, so I would appreciate any substantive info (i.e., warranty, actual performance versus stated performance, etc.), as well as thoughts regarding single/two stage units, and any other thoughts pertinent. As a non-professional, I try to inform myself, but I won't be offended with any info you provide. Assume I know very little--compared to you all, I do!
Here is my scenario:
--3200 sq ft (single story w/ conditioned bonus room over garage)
--Currently 5-ton, 11.5 SEER Bryant unit w/ b/u elec heat strips (in all electric area); the unit is ~14 yrs old, and has kept the house comfortable. Cooling bill for summer ~100/month for 3 months, heating bill ~150-200/month for 4 months (may have more to do w/ bumping up stat too quick, and heat strips kicking in immediately- this is the first time we've had a heat pump)
--Air handler and ductwork in attic- the cos have informed me the ductwork appears great, and I have adequate return (1440 sq in= 2 sq ft per ton); had duct leak testing done earlier this year- ~22% leakage- I am looking to get this sealed.
Based on my initial research, I am looking at same size unit, leaning towards a 15-16 SEER unit, anything higher would have a much longer ROI--we plan on staying here 10-12 years.
Reps have told me w/ a 5-ton unit it is almost impossible to meet the standards for the 30% federal tax credit.:( Apparently Carrier doesn't have one. One rep says Trane has one in the 15-16 SEER range.
I know alot of you are going to ask about manual J, so I will say this- neither rep has mentioned anything about it, however one rep mentioned he's looked at the walls and window location/type, and asked about how well the current unit has kept us comfortable, so he's given some indication(?) regarding it. Here's my take: No one is going to do an actual manual J until I agree to buy from them. So, I won't know price until I know size, I can't know size until I know manual J, I can't know manual J until I agree to price, which I don't know. I could get a quotes for a slightly smaller, same size, and slightly larger units, and then have them make their calculation, but my guess is it would come out no smaller than what I have, and perhaps even larger. My other concern is the variability in manual J- in other words, the assessment is only as good as the person who does it. I did a spreadsheet assessment (I know, not the real thing) from www.fast-calc.com, and the figures came in just over 4 tons. Add 20%, looking at 5 tons. And the unit I have is keeping me comfortable, and my electric bills are very reasonable, based on what the utility co and both reps have told me.
SO...what are everyone's thoughts? I know, a lot of info here, but I bet you guys can pick thru it quickly. Again, I want to do this right the first time, so I am trying to make as informed a decision as I can. Thanks for all your help!:)
First off with 3200 sq ft you do not want to go smaller. You can't go larger than a 5 ton unless you have 3 phase power or you would have to use 2 seprate units. Our company installs American standard (Trane) and we have had good luck. I would go 5 ton 14 or 15 seer R410A single stage compressor with a varible speed blower and a Honeywell IAQ t-stat if it was my house. I just personally do not like two stage compressors. I would use the largest Kw eletric heat your current eletrical will handle and stage it off into 2 stages. Also ask about upgrading to a 10 year parts and Labor. Spend some money now and becomfortable while saving money later. Just my 2 cents.
A multi zone system might be a viable option.
Consider two separate 2 ton units and air handlers ducted to serve half your house each. Tax credit compliant 2 ton units are plentiful and two separate systems will give you better temperature control.
Originally Posted by vanenk
Also look at Daikin's 2MXS18GVJU and Sanyo's CMH1972. These are tax credit compliant ductless multisplits. Their main claims to fame are variable capacity (they can't be oversized), considerable heat generation at low temperatures (less need for heat strips), and support for room-by-room zoning.
Well, everyone has an opinion and here is mine...lol. First of all, if you truly have 22% duct leakage and your present system did a good job, then it is oversized. The load on my home, which is similiar to what you describe, is barely over 3 tons total, but you need someone to do a load on yours to be sure. I also have two stage equipment in my own home and never knew we could be this comfortable. I rarely notice either of them running in high speed.
Sorry about the wait, I've been at work last few days, hardly any time to look at all replies. I appreciate everyone's ideas. What about these:
The Trane rep indicated a two-stage system would run longer while in "low," and be more effective at removing humidity. Is this accurate? I am looking to encapsulate our crawlspace this fall, and I have a feeling this will help to reduce/control humidity better.
Is it money well spent? Some have the opinion that 2-stage systems are more prone to breakdown than single-stage--any basis for this, or just opinion? BDW, could you elaborate on your experience with 2-stagers?
I don't think a zoned system solution is for us. I'm guessing it would require quite a bit of rework (duct, electrical, etc.) and ROI time would far exceed our expected stay. I'll ask, though.
Again, thanks for all the input.
I have installed them and just personally do not like them. My main reasoning is alot more electronics in the condensers. With the rheem 2 stage you don't have your typical contactors you have drive boards. Good luck getting one of those quick if it fails. I like keeping things simple units that have standard parts , contactors. If your unit quits chances are the tech will probably have a part handy not so on the 16 seer stuff. Also the price jump between 15 and 16 seer didn't show a good ROI for one seer. We are now a American Standard dealer and I haven't installed any of their 2 stage equipment. I am speaking about my experience with rheem 16 seer 2 stage. Which I would not have ( to many expansion valve problems). I also was skeptical when I was told if a compressor fails in a rheem 2 stage they give you a new condenser not a new compressor. Which tells me they have had problems with field installed replacment compressors. So when the 10 year warranty is up and your comp fails your buying a new unit or taking a gamble with a expensive compressor. It does however provide great cooling comfort and they mostly run on the 1st stage. Just my 2 cents I'm sure their are alot of guys who love them. Just not me. I do like going to a variable speed blower for humidity though.
Thanks, bdw. Some good info to consider.