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Thread: system choice

  1. #1
    I've been reading the forum for about two weeks and the amount of information is a bit overwhelming (in a good way, though). Here's a question from a newbie: Am trying to decide between the following systems for a 1,600 sf ranch house in Philadelphia, where the winters aren't too bad but the summers can be humid.

    Trane XL16i 3-ton A/C; Trane XV90 furnace; Trane Clean Effects air cleaner, Trane thermostate and humidifier.

    Rheem 105 btu Classic 90 Plus Modulating furnace, Rheem 16 seer A/C; Honeywell electronic air cleaner, Honeywell humidifier and thermostat.

    American Standard 100 btu Freedom 90 2-stage variable furnace, American Standard, AS Allegiance 16 seer A/C,
    Honeywell electronic air cleaner and humidifier.

    The Trane is the least expensive followed by AS and Rheem.
    Do either of these systems stand out above the others? I like certain components from both Rheem and Trane but it doesn't seem a good idea to mix. Too bad nobody makes the perfect system. Thanks.


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    33,396
    How did they determine size? To me 105K 90% and 3 ton A/C sounds WAY too big for 1600 sq ft ranch! Around here, and we get plenty hot & cold, that would be a 60K furnace and 2 or 2.5 ton air. So first, confirm that you really need that much equipment.

    The Trane & A-S 2 stage A/Cs have an advantage but the Rheem 13 stage Modulator has the heating advantage. Rheem has a 2 stage A/C but only in 3 ton. If that's really what you need, you can ask the dealer to quote it to be comparing like products. But in your area, I highly doubt that you need anything more than 13 SEER from an economic payback point of view.

    Personally I'd look into dual fuel with a heat pump outside instead of 2 stage cooling. Probably have a lower overall utility bill that way and if you go standard 13 SEER pump, have lower initial cost.

    But again, find out about that sizing!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    High Point, NC
    Posts
    155
    If you go to the electronic air cleaner, think about having a 20 X 25 Honeywell media installed as a prefilter to cut down on cleaning of the electronic air filter. You can get rid of electronic prefilter with a small efficiency loss on air cleaning and gain less service on the electronic air cleaner. The media filter can be changed easier than cleaning the electronic. Need to be careful on static drop across filters. Larger systems can require two media filters to avoid static problems. This is generally not a problem on less than three tons.
    Make sure a MANUAL J calculation is done to verify actual equipment sizing. Oversized can be worse than undersized.

  4. #4
    Thanks for the replies. I did make a typo: the living area sf should have been 1,800 (the basement sf is 1,100. Should that be included in figuring the size required?). Still too big? The Trane rep. thought a 2.5 ton A/C could do it but we have some big windows in the front that get direct sun and he thought we'd need the 3 ton to compensate. As for the Trane furnace, I don't see a btu size on the proposal. It was the Rheem rep. that quoted the 105btu furnace with a 3 ton, 13 seer A/C with matching coil and an option to go to 16 seer. I guess we tend to equate higher numbers in either with better efficiency (i.e. lower cost). Not true? I'll get back to both for info. on sizing.

    As for the air cleaner, is an electronic air cleaner really so much better than a media filter, considering the the service issues? All the diagrams, tables, charts, etc. tend to scare you into thinking you absolutely must have it. They do offer a 6 inch media filter.

    Finally, how does the Honeywell and Trane himidifiers compare to the Aprilaire (which I had heard was the best you can get)? Thanks for the help.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    High Point, NC
    Posts
    155
    I was talking about having the media filter before the electronic. You would have the ease of the replacement media before the electronic. You would have to clean the electronic less, which means it would work more efficiently for a longer period of time. The instructions generally recommend cleaning the prefilters monthly on the electronic and the cells every three months. This is from memory. I change my media every six months and clean the electronic cells once a year. It is a lot less maintenance. We started with a media. Our old house had electronic and I hated cleaning it. My wife did not like the media and I changed it to an electronic. I hated cleaning electronic again and came back and added media in front of electronic for the prefilter. Everyone is happy now. I am in the business, so it cost me a lot less making changes. I probably would prefer the 13 SEER upper end Ruud/Rheem over the 13 SEER upper end Trane. I would prefer the Trane 16 SEER over the Ruud.

  6. #6
    gto boy Guest
    In PECO country we save more with a heat pump than with a 90% plus furnace.RH rate. I have taken out older heat pumps and put in te same setup as you and their bills stayed the same because they lost their rate.Where at in PA???

  7. #7
    I'm in Philadelphia. I never considered a heat pump-People that I've talked to that have one thought the heating was uneven.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Rochester, MN
    Posts
    5,304
    I agree with Bald on the sizing. My home just over 1,700 sq ft, and works just fine on a 60k two stage furnace, and 2 ton A/C. Did anyone do a manual j on the home ? (Load Calc)

    Trane Clean affect is a great air cleaner, my parents has and mom been breathing very well with it. You don't need the Media filter, the CA has pre filter, The older style air cleaner were the ones that were headache to clean. I think that is what iheatcool is talking about.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Philadelphia, PA
    Posts
    1,349
    Make sure the A/C is not oversized. You will notice it when the humidity is high. If the heat is oversized it will short cycle and you will have uncomfortable temp swings in the house.

    What area of the city are you in? If you would like another proposal with Man J and energy cost comparisons between gas and heat pump you can contact me through my profile.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    7,680
    Well if comofrt plays into it, I would install the Ruud mod furnace and the 16 SEER a/c. Just make sure it's the 2 stage 16 SEER unit. (UARL). Nothing can compare to that set up. (unless of course you had them install the 18 SEER unit which is available in 3 ton.) UASL

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