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  1. #1

    Please help me decide between three AC models

    Hello HVAC Pros!

    Our AC unit gave up the ghost and I've obtained three bids from area companies who all came to our 1550 sq.ft. ranch and inspected the AC and ducts. All three issued additional quotes for the duct work. All quotes are for 13 SEER, 3-ton units.

    1. Amana ASX plus coil and lineset
    2. Aire Flo 4AC plus coil and lineset
    3. York YCJD plus coil and cleaned lines

    Of the three, only the Aire-Flo man said he would do a J calc. I do not know if he did as the results were not included in his email quote (should they be?).

    I'm not sure how to choose and would really like to hear your professional opinions on these three units and what else I should consider if anything?

    Thanks for helping me think!
    SnailRacer

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,241
    In terms of features, bells & whistles, the Amana blows away the other 2. The 4AC is a solid low end unit but no extras, a bit noisy, Mexican. The Yorkie is a decent unit but doesn't come with a scroll compressor, one of the few on the market besides Trane that use a older recip type.

    3 ton for 1550 sq ft better mean a hot climate and/or little insulation or lots of windows.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    2,265
    Quote Originally Posted by SnailRacer View Post
    Hello HVAC Pros!

    Our AC unit gave up the ghost and I've obtained three bids from area companies who all came to our 1550 sq.ft. ranch and inspected the AC and ducts. All three issued additional quotes for the duct work. All quotes are for 13 SEER, 3-ton units.

    1. Amana ASX plus coil and lineset
    2. Aire Flo 4AC plus coil and lineset
    3. York YCJD plus coil and cleaned lines

    Of the three, only the Aire-Flo man said he would do a J calc. I do not know if he did as the results were not included in his email quote (should they be?).

    I'm not sure how to choose and would really like to hear your professional opinions on these three units and what else I should consider if anything?

    Thanks for helping me think!
    SnailRacer
    Any area contractors who sell Carrier, Trane/American Standard, Rheem instead of Goodman er ... I mean Amana, York or whoever makes Aire-Flo?

    You might want to check here on this site for a contractor in your area just to make sure you are getting the most for your money.

  4. #4
    BL ~ Thank you for responding.

    We are in Central Iowa. The house has some insulation in the attic but also has lots of non energy-efficient windows and is not very airtight.

    Is a scroll compressor good, bad, or???

  5. #5
    Thanks, mcjo tech.

    I checked the map and there is one person listed in my area. They do not have a website so I cannot check right now if they carry any of the brands you mention. Locally they are listed as a repair shop. ??

    Aire Flow is the low end line by Lennox (according to the AC man). Are you implying that Goodman er ... I mean Amana, York and Aire-Flo are questionable products?

    I will check the yellow pages for the other brands and see who is in the area. Thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Rochester NY
    Posts
    4,735
    Quote Originally Posted by BaldLoonie View Post
    3 ton for 1550 sq ft better mean a hot climate and/or little insulation or lots of windows.
    Gonna just ignore that post, and who posted it?

    1500 sf, think you REALLY have 3 ton ductwork? Bet you don't. Have a 3 ton system now? Have them test ESP.

    Would you like less airflow noise?

    If you could take the savings from buying a smaller unit, fix the leaks in your attic, maybe add a little cellulose, and have a more comfortable house with lower energy bills, would you do it?
    Which makes more sense to you?
    CONSERVATION - turning your thermostat back and being uncomfortable. Maybe saving 5-10%
    ENERGY EFFICIENCY - leaving your thermostat where everyone is comfortable. Saving 30-70%

    DO THE NUMBERS! Step on a HOMESCALE.
    What is comfort? Well, it AIN'T just TEMPERATURE!

    Energy Obese? An audit is the next step - go to BPI.org, or RESNET, and find an auditor near you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    68,171
    Improve your homes envelope. This will save you money in both summer and winter. And allow you to get a smaller A/C. 3 tons for a 1550 sq ft ranch sounds big. My over sized A/c is 2.5 tons for a 1650 sq ft story and a half(it was here before me)
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  8. #8
    tedkidd ~ I have no idea if I have 3 ton ductwork. What I do know is that the ductwork is not all that great.

    One 6-inch duct runs along the basement ceiling for about 10 feet, then disappears into the crawl space under an addition for another 25 feet. Somewhere in that 25 feet it splits to feed two supply ducts that are at the end of the 25 feet. By the time the air gets there it is cold in winter and warm in summer.

    Another duct feeds the living room and bedroom. In order to do so it makes two 90-degree turns. Suffice it to say neither room is comfortable.

    Suggestions?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Rochester NY
    Posts
    4,735
    Imagine a milk jug with holes in it under your kitchen tap. Imagine the goal it's to keep it 1/2 full, all the time. Instead of faucet full on and full off, you would probably adjust the faucet to just make up for the water lost. Ideally NEVER going to full throttle. Quality modern equipment can do that.

    And finding and plugging leaks in the jug will save water.

    Look at a 2 ton 2 stage heat pump. Recognize that you may need to make some weatherization improvements to your home to bring worst case load down to the size of your pump. But for 1500 sf, we aren't talking gut remodel or other extraordinary measures. Probably just blower door assisted air sealing. Plug some holes in the jug.

    Duct may need modification, or you may find it doesn't, but often equipment downsizing dramatically improves duct performance. Your long duct runs are warm in summer and cold in winter, therefore they don't deliver air warm or cold enough to condition the space.

    Downsize the equipment and stage it so it runs LOOONNNGG. Continuous operation being the goal, and the duct becomes much more even temp across the house. Far rooms start receiving conditioning instead of losing it all to ducts.
    Which makes more sense to you?
    CONSERVATION - turning your thermostat back and being uncomfortable. Maybe saving 5-10%
    ENERGY EFFICIENCY - leaving your thermostat where everyone is comfortable. Saving 30-70%

    DO THE NUMBERS! Step on a HOMESCALE.
    What is comfort? Well, it AIN'T just TEMPERATURE!

    Energy Obese? An audit is the next step - go to BPI.org, or RESNET, and find an auditor near you.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Keokuk, IA
    Posts
    5,520
    +1 on Tedkidd's suggestion. You deisgn temperatuer is probably around 90-92F depending on how far north you are. It's moderatly hot and humid, but no reason that a little air sealing, and even just some good storm windows (if you have older original wood windows or even mid centrury metal frame windows) will make a huge difference. I'm cooling a 1500sqft upstairs with 2 tons with plenty in reserve. It was 98F and sunny yesterday afternoon (but not too humid) and it was still humming along happily in 1st stage at 74F. I downsized from a 3.5 ton so my ductwork is now nicely oversized and it's completely silent.

    Smaller equipment has longer run times. Long run times will even out temperature imbalances and reduce leaks in ductwork as well as do a better job at removing humidity... and long run times allow a system to operate more effciently most of the time.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    3,543
    I agree with Bald, the Amana will have best warranty out of box without purchasing additional coverage along with Scroll compressor. Aire-Flo is a Lennox owned, builder quality product aimed at the lower end price market with minimum "safety" controls. Sorry, but not familiar with the York line enough to comment. Amana has super good warranties!

  12. #12
    Just looked this up: Average Design Temperature is 95 in July and -20 in January.

    Wouldn't it be too cold for too long a season for a heat pump?

    ETA: Are you using a heat pump or an AC unit?

  13. #13
    Thank you, tedkidd, for the explanation.

    I just read the suggestion for a heatpump but do not think I will go that way.

    What size AC do you recommend - a 2 ton or a 2.5 ton?

    Oops - just replied to the wrong person about the heat pump.

    Just looked this up: Average Design Temperature is 95 in July and -20 in January.

    Wouldn't it be too cold for too long a season for a heat pump?

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