Carrier Infinity versus Ruud/Rheem equipment
I'm trying to decide between Rheem/Ruud equipment and Carrier Infinity for two systems serving a four-floor new house, one system for the lower two floors and one for the upper two floors. Everyone so far has pushed Carrier. I have no beef with it except it seems quite expensive. I've lived with Rheem/Ruud in my current house for ten years and liked it. Reliable, does its job. I'm sold on the idea of two-speed compressors and variable-speed air handler fans for humidity control in the summer, but I can't tell from the consumer literature whether Carrier will really do that better. As far as I can tell, if I get a high-end thermostat from either manufacturer, it will use the compressor and fan in a smart way. But I can't really tell, and I'm hoping y'all know whether Carrier's stuff is really smarter-enough to be worth a lot more money. I'll also need an ERV for each system (very tight house), but I'd rather use Renewaire equipment for that if I can.
Any advice or opinions about any aspect gratefully appreciated. For example, I'm happy to be told I should use some other manufacturer. Read on for more background.
Getting going on building the new house has been an adventure. Builder #1 didn't work out, and I'm now trying to finish up specs with Builder #2. #1 and #2 use different HVAC subs and along the way I talked personally with both subs and got specs and bids (VERY different even though both Carrier). But neither HVAC outfit made me confident in them, mainly because I spelled out pretty clearly what I want in terms of functionality and each guy came back with recommendations that omitted important things...and back-and-forth on corrections has not been smooth. So, pretty clearly builder #2 and I better talk to another HVAC outfit...but first I want to have a better idea of what'll work and be cost effective when I go into that conversation. I got so frustrated with the first HVAC outfit being nonresponsive on the ERVs that I got on the phone with a tech guy at Renewaire and sorted out equipment and vent location issues with him. Great guy, really knows his stuff. Coming back to the main equipment, I'll have one gas furnace in the basement plus outside AC unit to serve the basement and first floor as a single zone, and one gas furnace in the finished attic space plus outside AC unit to serve the second floor and finished attic, each of which will be a separate zone, but the zone airflow control will just be manual dampers that I'll change a couple of times a year with the seasons. The house is going to be so well insulated that I'm not too worried about energy efficiency ratings on the equipment...midrange efficiency is fine. So, to me, except for the ERVs, it all seems pretty standard. I don't care about things like dialing up the system on my phone or having it tell me it has a tummyache or that kind of stuff.
All manufacturers will have comparable equipment. Some will have this feature others will have that feature. The key is making sure that the hvac contractor sizes and ducts and installs it properly, this is what will make or break your comfort and the life of whatever brand equipment the contractor uses. My company's major brand is York. I like it, the LX series air conditioner and the TM9V furnace is a solid piece of equipment and cheaper than the affinity line with comparable efficiency ratings
The Infinity's biggest benefit over the other communicating system is zoning. So if you are doing things manually, that takes the big plus out of the decision. Rheem is more limited in furnaces that work on the communicating control but they do have the 2 stage 80 and the modulating 95% plus 2 A/C lines and a heat pump line. The White Rodgers control has a lot of feedback on performance more toward the dealer than the HO but does more than the standard stats. OR you can forget the communicating control and use a 2 piece control like Honeywell IAQ models that will handle the ERV in many cases.
Look into Carrier's MN7 mod furnace and Greenspeed condenser. Makes a wonderful hybrid heat system. If the duct system is designed properly you should not have to change damper positions.
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Thank you jtrammel, baldloonie and comfortdoc!
I totally get-it about how important sizing and ductwork are. For the equipment, in my situation it sounds to me like a lot of the action is in the controls, at both the thermostat end and the equipment end. Focusing on the dehumidification-using-the-AC and the ERV:
1) For the dehumidification, from what I can see in product literature, it looks like the communicating controls can take full advantage of a variable speed blower motor but the Honeywell IAQ cannot, it will just use two speeds. Does that sound right? If so, how much benefit is there in terms of dehumidification and cooling efficiency from fully using the variable speed blower versus just treating it as a 2-speed?
2) For the ERV, I'm not sure what the benefit would be of having the Honeywell IAQ control it versus just using Renewaire's controls. I'm guessing that maybe the IAQ could make the ERV run more in the winter if the humidity is getting too high, but otherwise it looks like the IAQ will just run it a preset fraction of the time, which is the same as Renewaire's controls. Does that sound right?
Since your house will be super insulated watch really close for oversizing. Most contractors will try to use the 500sqft per ton rule, which will most likely result in oversized equipment. For well insulated new construction you shouldn't need more than 1 ton per 800sq ft. Have an accurate load calculation done, make sure the contractor doesn't 'fudge the inputs' in order to get the result "he wants".
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