80% or 90%+
Long time lurker, recent register-er.
We recently bought a 1000 sq ft ranch in SE MI, built in 1964. Full basement, partially finished, small addition on a slab. We have been getting quotes to install Central A/C and a new furnace. Our current set-up is 1987 Comfortmaker, with no A/C. Two salesmen said my furnace is an 80% efficiency unit, third guy said it was an 88% (supposedly one of the first attempts at higher effeminacy models?) Based on seeing what the previous owner did, I'm not sure much maintenance was done during her occupation. As far as BTU and A/C size, all three quotes all match, with one doing a load calc, and one saying they send their engineer out to do one after job acceptance. One sells Trane, One sells Bryant, and one sells Carrier. All three have great recommendations, and we are pretty close at making a final decision. (surprisingly the Trane guy is about $ cheaper).
So here is my question:
1 rep said we should get a 95% efficient VS. The other (most expensive) said go with an 80%. Until my third quote, I figured he was just trying to make the sale. But the third guy gave us prices on both an 80% and 95%, but recommended the 80% due to our home size, age, and pay off time. I'm looking at at least $ more for the high-efficiency units. Is there still a case to be made for only getting an 80% unit, or would I be better off with the 90+?
Any and all help appreciated!!
Last edited by beenthere; 02-20-2012 at 06:29 AM.
3 rd guy,gave you options,and told you of return time on your investment
Your Satisfaction...Our Goal.
What's the model # of the current furnace?
How well built is the house? Mine is around 1000 sq ft. I have a 60K 2 stage 95% and usually keep high turned off. So I can heat the house below zero with 36,000 BTU. The brand I got a deal on didn't have a smaller one. I don't recommend oversizing like that. But I do have a heat pump that does most of the heating.
There's a whole lot more to consider than just the efficiency. FYI, in 2013 the DOE has changed the energy code and from that point forward, no 80% furnaces in the northern heat dominant states. So this is your last year to have that option at all! That said, even within the 80% vs 90+% line-ups you have options. Some are builders models, lower warranties, not as heavily constructed. Others have various features and benefits such as the blower motor, PSC, ECM or ECM Variable Speed, whether 1-stage or multi-stage or modulating and the actual efficiency from 92% to 98%. Also, whether the furnace is a communicating unit with the associated additional controls. Each of these options will affect the cost of the job but you should be given the option to accept or decline all of the various options. Did anyone even discuss staging or modulating units with you?
You stated that 2 of the 3 did load analysis or said they would when you give them the job. What about the 3rd? No? Eliminated for cutting corners. You stated that one of the other two promises to do the load analysis after he lands the job. I'd be wary of that as well. The cost of the furnace various according to size and blower capacity. How can he quote accurately knowing neither of those two needs? I'd eliminate that company as well. That pares it down to just one. Is that the one with options? Or are you going to need to dig for the options. Not very professional in my opinion if they're dictating what unit features and benefits you can have, versus letting you decide what's most important to you within the budget you're allowing. And while we're on the subject of budget, remember, you'll live with this unit many, many years. This is definitely NOT the place to short change the budget. If necessary, rob from some other budget such as automobile that will be replaced 4 or 5 times over the life of the furnace (when properly sized and installed). Warmest regards. SO
If YOU want change, YOU have to first change.
If you are waiting for the 'other guy' to change first, just remember, you're the 'other guy's' other guy. To continue to expect real change when you keep acting the same way as always, is folly. Won't happen. Real change will only happen when a majority of the people change the way they vote!
I'd look into the +90% furnaces or above. Fuel will not get lower in price only higher!! Being that far north we'd not even quote an 80% unless it was a rental or seasonal use home that gets drained down and winterized when not in use. Can't imagine putting an 80% in a residence unless HO demanded it. For not much more money you can go with 92%, and as Skip said you can go on up to 98% with staging and modulating units. I'd also get the optional labor warranty coverage from manufacturer on new units!
Chances are the 95% unit is a better unit overall too. On the Trane units what models are they quoting you and sizes or what is the specific model numbers? I only put in two stage variable speed systems, whether they are 80% or 95% depends on the home. If we are matching the system with AC we do 95% because fuel rates will only go up and this furnace "should" last you 20+ years when properly maintained. Also the 95% will provider better resale value as you only have a year left before it is mandatory. Lets say you sell the home in 5 years and the buyer wants the furnace to meet current specs, you are now spending double the money and saving nothing on energy costs. I think the 95% is clearly the better choice here. If its a Trane it should be a XV95 or XC95m, the XR95 is an OK furnace but will not provide the comfort and electrical savings of the other furnaces.
Thanks for all the info.
The Trane guys offered to do the load analysis once the bid is completed. There policy is to quote what they think is right, then send their engineer out. If he says I need a larger unit, it is a free upgrade. If he thinks I need a smaller unit (than quoted), I get the money back. The model number they quote was the XL80. Is that builder grade?
I was not given model numbers for the other two, just written descriptions. I believe the Carrier is model number 58HDV based on the description of what comes with it, but am unsure. How would this model rate?
Hearing that after next year 80% would be out of code, might explain the push i've been getting to buy one.
Not always, because its not like we as installing companies have inventory to get rid of. The XL80 is a two stage unit but does not have the energy efficient variable speed blower motor. I would look at either the XV80 or the XV95 or XC95m, those are the only choices I would consider(I have an XV95 in my house)
Originally Posted by j4john10
Go with the 90+. (Should be at least rated at 95%)
A good HVAC tech knows how, an educated HVAC tech knows why!
Get the highest efficency furnace you can afford.
Questions I usually ask
How long do you plan on being in the home?
5 years or less Might want to go with the 80%
You won't see the payback on the 90%
Anything longer get the 90 +
If it is a rental property go with a 80 single speed
the best return on investment is an 80% 2 speed furnace with a variable speed blower motor matched with a 15.00 seer heat pump. You'll get all kinds of different information on this, but I have ran the numbers on this many times. Some depends on the price you pay for electricity and gas. You definitely want a variable speed blower motor!
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