Single stage vs. Dual Stage Heat Pump
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    6
    Hey all, please excuse my ignorance here, but I'm a bit confused and was hoping for some help before signing the deal for a new heat pump. I'm replacing a 20 year old unit and air handler with either the Trane 14XLi or 16XLi and don't know which is the better choice. The 14XLi is about $1000 cheaper, which is nice, and I've gone 30+ years without any need for the susposed better dual-stage heating system. But I don't know if that money would be worth spending on the 16XLi due to the dual stage compressor and the expectance of energy costs sky rocketing. I've also been told that the 16XLi will keep the house temp mmore consistent and the humidity levels more controlled. I honestly know nothing about this stuff and was really hoping someone with some experience could inform me if it's true and/or worth the money. I live in Eastern PA, in a 20 year old 2600sq foot Colonial house with my wife and 2 boxers. I've had 5 estimates and 4 of them recommend a 3.5 ton unti. 1 says 4 ton, but from the moment I saw him he looked and sounded like a used car salesman so I don't trust a word he says. Not sure if any of that matters, but I was just trying to answer any questions I could think of before they were asked. I've decided on which company I'm going with based on presentation, referrals, BBB reports and friendliness. I just need to decide if I should go single or dual stage.

    Any thoughts on this?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    186
    I should prelude with the statement that everyone will have a different opinion on this but. I'm in central PA and have a single stage heatpump in a 2200sqft 2 story home and a single stage heat pump works very well. However a 2 stage may be able to save you some $$$ in the future but personally I don't think it's worth the extra $$. And I stress that is just my opinion.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    7,680
    Part of the reason for the ultra high efficiency units being two stage is that they run a higher temperature evaporator and would have poor latent capacities even with the larger coils. By offing two stage, they can keep the unit running longer to better overcome the humididty issues on part load days. Why run a 4 ton unit when your load is only 2 ton?????? Remember a heapt pump (or any HVAC appliance is not accomplishing anything when it's off.

    So it's really not so much a "do I need it" it's am I willing to pay a little more for more comfort or not.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    186
    I want to correct my previous statement. I do believe it is worth the extra $$$ if you plan to live in the home for more than 10 years.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    The South
    Posts
    2,127
    topshelf

    A couple of questions.

    What size is existing system?

    Have you had a Manual J heat/cool load calculation performed to correctly size new HVAC? If you haven't, you should and get it in writing. If you don't ,shame on you. Proper sizing is most important. Also your ductwork should be inspected as to size, overall condition, supply and returns, insulation properties, etc.

    Either of these units will be a great system. Yes, you will save some $$$ with the 2 stg compressor condenser XL16i but you will have to determine whether it is worth the extra cost.

    The var speed air handler with either unit will give you superior room to room comfort, operate very quietly, the best dehuidification in AC mode,less expensive to operate, and improved air quality if equipped with a whole house air cleaner cabinet.

    My Opinion.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Ft.Worth,Tx
    Posts
    4,584

    Thumbs up

    Two stage compressor would be a really good choice in the fact that it would remove more humidity in summer months.
    As for duel fuel system, I am not a very good person to ask that as here in Texas we just use electric heat for back-up and variable drive air handlers to keep comfort well heated home. I am not wise with your weather there but if you have alot of temps below 25' in winter you might want to go with back-up furnace instead of electric heat.

    That's my opinion and I'm stick'n to it!
    <<<Aircooled>>>
    "Everyday above ground, is a good day".
    "But everyday that you have made a difference in someones life, may insure you stay above ground a little longer".<aircooled>

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    6
    Thanks everyone.

    I have no idea what size the old unit is. The air handler I was told was a 3.5, but the heat pump sticker on the York has seen 20 years of sun and weather and is completely unreadable at this point. Without that, I don't know how to figure out what size the unit is. I've tried everything I could think of to read the numbers on that sticker, but it's impossible. The company I am going with took measurements of each room, noted each window and location, inspected all kinds of things in the existing system, and then sent me a proposal after doing some calculations back at the shop. However, I didn't specifically ask if it was a Manual J load calculation. Guess I just assumed it was, but I could be wrong. I'll find out today.

    doc, I'm a little confused there. Are you saying that I only need a 2 ton unit? Or that the 4 ton XL16i will only be running at half capacity most of the time, therefore being more efficient?

    Ofcourse comfort is high on my list of priorities, I just don't know how much more the 16 will provide. And if I knew for a fact that I would be in my house for 10+ years I would buy the 16. But the truth is I don't know what we're going to do as life is too unpredictable...ok, I'm too unpredictable, lol. Tough call here. I'm trying to be cheap, but intelligent at the same time. If the dual stage is a better unit, will provide more comfort, save on monthy costs and pay for itself over a few years, then it seems like the way to go.

    Is there any other info that would help you guys point me in a direction?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    6
    I'll be sticking with electric backup.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    61
    have you evaluated also 2-compressor, 2-stage, variable speed XL19i ?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Posts
    6
    Yeah, I checked it out, but the price was just too much. Plus I'd rather stick with a scroll compressor.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,630
    Haven't had a customer yet that regretted getting a 2 stage system.

    Some times you have to forget about payback, and just decide what your comfort is worth to you.

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  12. #12

    XL14i is a Reciprocating / Dont oversize ANY

    I am scheduled for an install today (XL14i). I chose it because my Trane dealer's price differential (XL14 vs XL16) was even greater than your quote.

    I have a 2 stage furnace (sys will be dual fuel - I didn't plan it this way, was orig considering AC / never had AC in this Denver house).

    My primary reason for buying the heat pump is to save money on heating. In Northern Virginia, I lived in 2 places for 11 years with a single stage reciprocating compressor heat pumps (no complaints re humidity). My only dislike of heat pumps is the lukewarm output of the airflow. I'll get over it for the utility savings. I don't think a 2 stage unit would overcome the lukewarm output.

    I do think the XL16i is an excellent system, though.

    Use the 50 dollar HVAC calc trial software. Don't oversize even if you get a 2 stage unit (the pro's have said this MANY times).




  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    SW FL
    Posts
    6,225
    Originally posted by topshelf
    I'm replacing a 20 year old unit and air handler with either the Trane 14XLi or 16XLi and don't know which is the better choice.

    The 14XLi is about $1xxx cheaper, which is nice,
    and I've gone 30+ years without any need for the susposed better dual-stage heating system. But I don't know if that money would be worth spending on the 16XLi due to the dual stage compressor and the expectance of energy costs sky rocketing.

    I live in Eastern PA, in a 20 year old 2,600 sq foot Colonial house with my wife and 2 boxers.

    I just need to decide if I should go single or dual stage.
    Depends on electric rates and your actual life cycle costs.
    HEATing costs are obviously much more significant.

    Full
    Life Cycle evaluation can be quickly developed
    if you provide insulation R-values, window area on each side of house, type of windows and house orientaiton.

    House Area: 2,600 Sq. Ft.
    i.e ...
    ??? 65' by 40'

    ??? Total of ~ 19 to 24 windows
    ??? 80 to 110 sq. feet of window area on each side
    ??? North ____ sq. Ft S ___ E ____ W ____

    ??? __Double-Pane__ ??? ??? ???
    ??? R-30 Ceiling
    ??? R-11 or R-19 Walls
    ??? Front of house faces N S E or W

    __ LOCAL Electric Rates
    ??? 2006 $0.12/kWhr
    ??? 2007 $0.14
    ??? 2008 $0.16

    Guessing,
    I would be leaning towards a
    XL16i which would likely have ~ 8 year payback.
    Designer Dan
    It's Not Rocket Science, But It is SCIENCE with "Some Art". ___ ___ K EEP I T S IMPLE & S INCERE

    Define the Building Envelope and Perform a Detailed Load Calc: It's ALL About Windows and Make-up Air Requirements. Know Your Equipment Capabilities

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