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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
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    Florida Space Coast
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    503

    Pros & Cons of Trane XL20i Versus XL16i Heat Pump

    Considering replacing 12 y/o 3.5 ton Rheem heat pump which is costly to run and can't maintain my desired 74/72 degree day/night comfort levels when it's 95 degrees outside during the day and only cools down to 78 degrees at night here in central Florida. The outside unit is badly corroded due to poor installation. Previous owner had it put half on, half off the existing cement slab and 2 inches away from an irrigation sprinkler.

    Contractor says load calc puts my 1827 sf lakefront home at high end of 3.5 ton single stage or 4 ton dual stage. I have 6 sets of 8 ft wide sliding glass doors to let the outside in on the NE and SE sides, as well as a 350sf family room with an open beam 14 ft high ceiling (no insulation there).

    Considering the Trane XL20i heat pump 4 ton combo rated at 17.75 SEER or the Trane XL16i heat pump 4 ton combo rated at 17.5 SEER. Difference in cost is negligible with the rebates being offered by Trane and FPL and one contractorr is offering a "free" 5-inch media filter with either choice.

    What's the trade-off in efficiency and long term reliability between the 2 compressor unit and the single 2-stage compressor unit, given that compressor start-up is the greatest strain on a compressor over the long haul. I mean, if the 2 compressors go on and off, but the dual stage compressor just changes speed, does that mean the dual stage will last longer? Would it also be more efficient?

    The old Rheem does manage to keep the RH inside pretty low... measured at 40% earlier today... I wonder if the Trane would do the same. Outside RH runs between 75 and 85% most days.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Northern VA 38 degrees N by 76 degrees W
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    5,062
    Go with the 20

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Portland OR
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    2,029
    The XL20i is far and away better. We install them at least 3 to 1 over the XL16i. First don't worry as much about that .25 SEER difference because with the XL20i you get communicating capability a true 2 ton compressor and a true 4 ton compressor for the best staging and dehumidification.

    I would also see if you can get your homes air leakage sealed or insulation added or better/sealed ducting because that could drop the size needed down to a 3 ton which costs less up front, will save the most money because now your home is performing better and is up to a 19 SEER.
    Check out my YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/skyheating1 We have customer testimonials, product reviews and more!
    Like us on FACEBOOK if you like our advice here!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Central Va.
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    1,058
    I would also recommend the XL20, and suggest that you take advantage of the Rebate program that will soon be in effect (Sep. I think). I am assuming you are aware of this program?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Florida Space Coast
    Posts
    503
    Quote Originally Posted by S.T.Ranger View Post
    I would also recommend the XL20, and suggest that you take advantage of the Rebate program that will soon be in effect (Sep. I think). I am assuming you are aware of this program?
    Thanks! Yes, the estimates I'm getting on Trane units include the fall factory rebates which begin August 15th. Based on SkyHeating's comments about the 3 ton versus the 4 ton for my, I think I'll get back with the two contractors I'm considering and see what they say. I'm all about saving money up front and keeping my electric bills as low as possible over the long haul. But I also expect to be comfortable and don't want to have to compromise by setting my t-stat up to 78 degrees to satisfy "design requirements" of a smaller system.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Central Va.
    Posts
    1,058
    Also see if you qualify for a tax credit with the install. When the first credit was available we installed a number of the XL20i systems, as it was a no-brainer. Between the credit from the Gov. and the Trane rebate, you would not have paid that much more to get the XL20 as opposed to a standard XR13 system.

    Also check to see if your state is offering anything. In Va, it was minimal, and I was told you basically have to agree to give access to your property for a certain amount of time (3 or 5 year, I think), which, for me...is out of the question. "By invitation only..." lol

    But that is up to you to decide.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Florida Space Coast
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    503
    Quote Originally Posted by SkyHeating View Post
    The XL20i is far and away better. We install them at least 3 to 1 over the XL16i. First don't worry as much about that .25 SEER difference because with the XL20i you get communicating capability a true 2 ton compressor and a true 4 ton compressor for the best staging and dehumidification.

    I would also see if you can get your homes air leakage sealed or insulation added or better/sealed ducting because that could drop the size needed down to a 3 ton which costs less up front, will save the most money because now your home is performing better and is up to a 19 SEER.
    I tried to post a reply, but I think I messed up and hit "Reply to Thread" instead of "Reply With Quote". Since I'm a guest, not a pro, I think that post went to the round file.

    Anyway, my response to your recommendations is this:

    I had FPL out last week to do the energy survey. They checked for duct leaks, window/door leaks, and evaluated my insulation. As a result, I had the ducts sealed and added R30 to bring the total to R38. Doors and windows were tight, so no repairs were required. This information was provided to the contractors bidding on my A/C replacement and all but one came up with 3.5 ton single stage or 4 ton two stage as recommended solutions. The one lone wolf said I was stuck with 3.5 ton single stage because anything else would be over or under-sized, so I shouldn't even look at a two stage option. BTW, he was a Carrier dealer and offered me only one solution. Turns out the p/n suite he offered me as "Performance Series" is listed on Carrier's website as a "Comfort Series" p/n. Guess he thought I wouldn't check!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Florida Space Coast
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    503
    Quote Originally Posted by S.T.Ranger View Post
    Also see if you qualify for a tax credit with the install. When the first credit was available we installed a number of the XL20i systems, as it was a no-brainer. Between the credit from the Gov. and the Trane rebate, you would not have paid that much more to get the XL20 as opposed to a standard XR13 system.

    Also check to see if your state is offering anything. In Va, it was minimal, and I was told you basically have to agree to give access to your property for a certain amount of time (3 or 5 year, I think), which, for me...is out of the question. "By invitation only..." lol

    But that is up to you to decide.
    Checked on federal tax credit already... none available for my situation. FL has no personal income tax (no tax credits) and offers no rebates. So what I get on the XL20i is $1020 from FPL and $1000 from Trane, plus a $240 cash discount, plus a $100 coupon from Angie's List for using a preferred contractor. The standard 3.5 ton XB14 system my neighbor had installed a couple months ago (same basic house) would be 15 SEER and run $2000 less for the install due to lower FPL rebate ($475) and no factory rebate from Trane. They say they are saving $100 a month on electric since they installed the XB14.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Central Va.
    Posts
    1,058
    XB is a good system. I am quite sure they will be happy with their purchase for years to come.

    And I am not familiar with the "FPL" and how you are getting this amount. Could you explain that?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Florida Space Coast
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    503
    Quote Originally Posted by S.T.Ranger View Post
    XB is a good system. I am quite sure they will be happy with their purchase for years to come.

    And I am not familiar with the "FPL" and how you are getting this amount. Could you explain that?
    FPL is Florida Power & Light, our local utility company. I don't actually see the rebate money, the contractor takes it off the bid price up front. Then FPL sends it directly to the contractor when he submits a certificate of completion with all the appropriate data as to the combo he installed to get to the applicable SEER being offered the rebate. Same way with the FPL rebate on my duct repairs and my added insulation. FPL gave me a certificate on the duct repairs worth $115 and on the added insulation worth $150. So when I had the work done, the contractors took those amounts off the price they bid for the work. I signed the certificates indicating the work had been completed and the contractors sent them to FPL to get their money. So my out of pocket for repairing 11 ducts and 1 return was $125, and my out of pocket for adding R30 to the whole house was $300. Not bad, in my opinion.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Florida Space Coast
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    503
    Quote Originally Posted by Florida Joy View Post
    FPL is Florida Power & Light, our local utility company. I don't actually see the rebate money, the contractor takes it off the bid price up front. Then FPL sends it directly to the contractor when he submits a certificate of completion with all the appropriate data as to the combo he installed to get to the applicable SEER being offered the rebate. Same way with the FPL rebate on my duct repairs and my added insulation. FPL gave me a certificate on the duct repairs worth $115 and on the added insulation worth $150. So when I had the work done, the contractors took those amounts off the price they bid for the work. I signed the certificates indicating the work had been completed and the contractors sent them to FPL to get their money. So my out of pocket for repairing 11 ducts and 1 return was $125, and my out of pocket for adding R30 to the whole house was $300. Not bad, in my opinion.
    I'm wondering if I shouldn't just go with the simpler, cheaper XB14. Would be so much easier to "set up"... no complicated communications that could get fouled up. And $2000 is a lot of money to me.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Rochester NY
    Posts
    4,763
    1800 lb gorilla- what's duct ESP at 1600 cfm.

    Also, can't maintain or can't recover? You set n forget, or jerk throttle around like an epillectic bus driver? Seems a small distinction but is a BIG difference.
    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.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Central Va.
    Posts
    1,058
    You're not really expecting HVAC Contractors to encourage you to...spend less?

    lol

    I will reiterate that the XB series is a good system. I am guessing your neighbors have 14 SEER with variable speed giving them 15 SEER. Last I checked the XL20i is rated usually at about 19SEER. The cost difference is significant, but, there are features that you will not get with the XB, so, it is up to your contractor to advise you as to the best course of action. Hopefully he will be honest with more than his bottom line in view.

    If you are considering XL20i because you have been advised as to why you should purchase this, that is good...chances are you understand the benefits. If not, then it might be a good idea to weigh the pros and cons. What does one have that the other doesn't? And that works both ways. Sometimes I absolutely hate even installing a programmable T-stat, as it is more complicated than some people can seem to grasp, despite a guide-book, personal instruction, and even a return visit to instruct again...lol.

    But you get my point.

    As far as it being "easier to set up," that is not something that really concerns you, this is for the contractor to handle. Find out some info on the T-stat that will go with the XL20i, make sure you are going to be okay with it.

    Only you can weigh the options and make the decision, based upon what you can spend. Your contractor should be able to help you make that decision.

    The most important aspect is no matter what system you decide to install, make sure it is installed properly. This means be sure you are getting a good contractor.

    The last thing I would recommend is a ten year labor warranty (Trane already offers a 10 year on parts when registered, 12 year on compressor for the XL, as well as two year labor with the XL). When averaged, the annual cost is minimal. This will insure that for ten years repair costs are limited to the annual average of the labor warranty.

    Good luck with your decision, Florida Joy.

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