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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Bucks County, PA
    Posts
    9

    Confused Need Help with New Carrier Heat Pump System Model Numbers

    IĎve contacted four authorized Carrier ServAssure HVAC contractors to give me an estimate on replacing my 25 year old Carrier heat pump. Although itís been very reliable Iíve needed to have it charged 3 times in the last 6 years so I think itís time to replace it.
    Iíve asked each contractor to give me a price for a Comfort system and a Performance system. I understand that discussing price isnít allowed so Iím just asking for information on the components that two of the contractors have offered for each system.

    Contractor AHF has offered the following info taken from their estimate:

    #1AHF - Comfort system including outdoor unit 25HBC3 and indoor unit fixed speed FB4. The AHRI certification number is 3698885 and identifies the models as outdoor 25HBC336(A,W)**30 and indoor FB4CNF042+TXV .

    #2AHF - Performance system including outdoor25HCC5 and indoor unit variable speed FV4. The AHRI certification number is 3676238 and identifies the models as outdoor 25HCC536A**30 and indoor FV4CN(B,F)003.

    Contractor BCC has offered the following info taken from their estimate:

    #1BCC - Comfort system including outdoor unit 25HBC336 and indoor unit FB4CNF042. The AHRI certification number is 3698885 and identifies the models as outdoor unit 25HBC336(A,W)**30 and indoor unit FB4CNF042+TXV.

    #2BCC Ė Performance system including outdoor unit 25HBC536 and indoor unit FV4CNB005T. The AHRI certification number is 3645940 and identifies the models as outdoor unit 25HBC536A**30 and indoor unit FV4CN(B,F)005.

    I canít find much information about each component in the systems. I think 336 or 536 indicates a SEER of 13 or 15 and the 36 means 3 tons (3 X 12,000 = 36,000). What is the difference between HBC and HCC on the outdoor units? The indoor unit model numbers are a mystery to me. Are the ďPerformanceĒ systems that I have been offered really made up of ďPerformanceĒ components? What is TXV? Are any of the given model numbers incomplete, ambiguous or open to interpretation? Are the components offered desirable? Although I don't want to spend the money that an Infinity system would cost, I want more than just a base system. Any and all help deciphering this and recommending unit models to choose is greatly appreciated.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Bucks County, PA
    Posts
    9
    Ok, is my original post in the wrong place or did I do it incorrectly? Is there a general boycott on providing information on new Carrier systems?

    My present Carrier heat pump worked flawlessly for the first 15 years. At that point the fan motor on the outside unit started acting up. An authorized Carrier dealer wanted $xxx to replace the motor. I went to an electric motor/generator repair shop and bought an identical GE generic replacement motor with the same specs. for $xxx and installed it myself. Only difference was the need to solder and shrink wrap the wire splices as the new motor didn’t have the Carrier plug on the side. As I said in my OP the system is now 25 years old and has needed to be recharged every couple of years since year 21 or so. Nothing else has ever gone wrong with it. I wish everything in my life was as reliable as my Carrier heat pump has been. That’s why I want Carrier for my new system.

    I had a York Maximizer heat pump with oil back-up in my first house that I had built in 1978/1979. The builder had the same system in his house and recommended it for my new house. I took his advice and what a mistake that turned out to be. It worked fine and was economical in my opinion as long as it worked. During the course of years 2 through 8 the reversing valve needed to be replaced twice, bushings or grommets that isolated the indoor fan motor needed to be replaced and then the indoor fan itself starting acting up 1 month before I sold the house and moved out in 1988. I even went as far as having the authorized dealer come out the morning we moved to check out the fan problem. He couldn’t find anything wrong since it wasn’t exhibiting the problem then but felt it was either a faulty fan motor or relay. I did nothing as I wasn’t going to start throwing money at it with no guarantee that the problem would be solved. Two days later the fan stopped coming on again. I paid a $xxx deductable and a 1 year HOW policy that I had purchased for the new owners paid the rest.

    So, the point of all this is to say that I’ve had both York and Carrier products and have been very happy with my present Carrier unit and want another. I’d sure appreciate help with model numbers or model recommendations. If more info is needed, please let me know.

    Thanks!
    Last edited by BaldLoonie; 09-25-2012 at 02:39 PM. Reason: removed pricing per site rules

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    352
    The "B" in HBC & FB4 stands for base model, the "C" in HCC stands for comfort model. "V" in the FV4 is the performance model (variable speed). There are four tiers, base/comfort/performance/infinity. Basically, the higher the tier the more options you get, the parts are pretty much the same. So a Performance TXV is the same as a base TXV. Performance means you get higher energy efficiency like your 15 SEER vs 13 SEER. The indoor fan coil unit is also variable speed which also cuts down on power usage.

    The TXV is the "Thermal Expansion Value, this is good to have because it regulates refrigerant flow and often ups the cooling capacity and/or efficiency.

    I would recommend setting a budget for yourself and go with what is in your price range. Your replacing a 25 year old heat pump so you should see a drop in your electric bill even with the base model. So it is really up to you how much you are willing to spend to get the other options. If you can afford it, the 15 SEER and variable speed is good to have.
    You can call me Sam

    It should be a crime to be a mechanical engineer in San Diego
    Summer Design Temperature: 83 F Dry Bulb ~ 69 F Wet Bulb (California Climate Zone 7)

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    352
    I don't think there is a boycott on Carrier products... people probably are just working or haven't had the time to look up model numbers. I usually spec Carrier.
    You can call me Sam

    It should be a crime to be a mechanical engineer in San Diego
    Summer Design Temperature: 83 F Dry Bulb ~ 69 F Wet Bulb (California Climate Zone 7)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Bucks County, PA
    Posts
    9
    Thanks hcong! Sorry I didn’t acknowledge your reply yesterday. I took a night off from thinking about the system replacement. I really appreciate your reply, especially since you spec out Carrier for your work.

    I wasn’t aware of the Base systems and asked each contractor for a proposal for a Comfort System and a Performance system with a humidifier for use in the winter. In my OP the #2 proposals from each with the variable speed indoor fans are supposed to be the Performance systems. Seems like they are really a combination of Base/Comfort/Performance?

    I live about 30 miles north and a little west of Philadelphia, PA. My house is a 2-story, 2100 SF and currently has Anderson dual pane (not low E) windows, blown in R-30 insulation in attic and R-11/12/13 (not sure which, whatever was used in 1988) in 2x4 exterior walls. Basement joists for the first floor are also insulated. We plan to remove the original siding, wrap the house with Tyvek, install low E Anderson windows and Cetainteed Cedar Boards insulated siding. Our original Carrier HP unit is 3 tons and I’m told it’s either 8 or 10 SEER as it’s from late 1988.

    All four contractors that have come to my house have carefully measured and examined my house and the original system and components. All have said that the ductwork, which they say is lined inside, and other components of the system were done very professionally and sized correctly for my house. None have suggested replacing anything other than the piece of ductwork above and between the inside unit and main trunk with a new radiused piece. All will replace the refrigerant lines, inside to outside wiring and outside shut-off box. A new digital/programmable thermostat will also be included. When I have asked about increasing the tonnage all have said they would run their info through their software and determine the appropriate sizing. The 3 contractors that have submitted a proposal so far have all specified 3 ton units as far as I can tell.

    Are there actually Performance components that can be specified for a system? What models would you offer to a customer? Are they worth the additional cost in your opinion? What would the Performance part of a model number look like, 25HPCXXXX maybe for an outside unit? Are the variable speed indoor units that I’ve been offered really Performance units? Although our budget isn’t unlimited, we don’t plan to “cheap-out” on this.

    Sorry for all the questions, but it seems like the more I investigate the more I don’t know. In my opinion, the info on the Carrier site or brochures is superficial at best. Is there a site that lists Carrier HP model numbers and the features that each includes?

    Thanks again for your help!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    DC Metro Area (MD)
    Posts
    3,350
    Carrier now calls the 25HBC the Comfort line of heat pumps, whereas they used to be the base series. Features are pretty similar between the 25HBC and 25HCC (Performance) models, including high and low pressure switches to protect the compressor. The main things lacking in the Comfort line are sound deadening features (e.g. compressor sound blanket) as well as louvered coil protection. I recommend you look at the 25HCC536 with the FV4BNF005T variable speed fan coil. That would be a nice system if sized and installed properly.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Rochester NY
    Posts
    4,631
    Since for you this looks like a 25 year decision, AND you are in no hurry, you have a great opportunity to get this right and not suffer painful regrets.

    First step, build a specification, THEN take it to bid.

    The incremental cost of an Infinity system, when viewed over a 25 year period, is a penny or two a day. Factor in the additional energy the system is likely to save and you actually get paid for the better equipment. So you might want to start learning about what that does. Communicating equipment is fast becoming the common replacement like computers replaced typewriters. I'd say it's a huge mistake to get anything but Infinity if you buy Carrier.


    Quote Originally Posted by fairlesscndrsnpr View Post
    I live about 30 miles north and a little west of Philadelphia, PA. My house is a 2-story, 2100 SF and currently has Anderson dual pane (not low E) windows, blown in R-30 insulation in attic and R-11/12/13 (not sure which, whatever was used in 1988) in 2x4 exterior walls. Basement joists for the first floor are also insulated. We plan to remove the original siding, wrap the house with Tyvek, install low E Anderson windows and Cetainteed Cedar Boards insulated siding. Our original Carrier HP unit is 3 tons and Iím told itís either 8 or 10 SEER as itís from late 1988.
    Given the size of your home 3 tons sounds too big already. On the very hottest days how long did the equipment run before shutting off. If properly sized it should have run near continuously.

    Too big becomes way too big when you make the improvements you've discussed, and way too big ends up creating problems that will make you unhappy. On the other hand, too small (never seen it, but if it happened to you) means simply caulking some cracks and holes and adding more insulation to your attic. Reduce the loss and too small becomes just right.

    On that note, since you are siding, you may want to add 1 or 2 inches of dow to the exterior. Have all the joints taped. Then you can have a more comfortable house, smaller equipment, etc... If you can find an audit program (State, Municipal, or electric company?) they can give you a much more thorough understanding of your situation, how improvements will impact equipment required, and basically help you finalize your specification.

    Then you can call the sales guys back and get apples to apples.
    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.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    352
    I usually look at overall performance over whether the company brands it "Comfort" or "Performance." I do engineering and energy analysis so I focus on SEER and HSPF values. The higher the value the better, but the higher the more expensive. I don't work for Carrier nor do I sell A/C so I wouldn't know pricing. I think I did an energy analysis once and the payback for a 15 SEER unit over a 12 SEER unit was like 10 years. Don't worry about "cheap-out", the comfort units are good units.

    Ryan was correct, the 25HBC is a Comfort brand now. Your contractor specification is good and they would know pricing better too. If you are willing to spend more on the Performance Heat Pump, get a 25HCB6 with the same FV4 fan coil. The perk of the 25HCB6 is that it is a two-stage compressor so on mildly hot days you aren't running your compressor that max power.

    Seeing that you live in PA, do you ever have trouble heating in the winter with the old heat pump? Did the contractor's specify electric heating? Heat pumps don't work well at really low temperatures so usually they put aux electric heating to make up the difference. This electric heating is pretty expensive and with current gas prices you will have more return on investments going with a gas furnace.

    Like what other people said, make sure your 3 ton system is sized right. You said all the contractors did careful measurements of the house, you should confirm they did a load calculation with those measurements.
    You can call me Sam

    It should be a crime to be a mechanical engineer in San Diego
    Summer Design Temperature: 83 F Dry Bulb ~ 69 F Wet Bulb (California Climate Zone 7)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Keokuk, IA
    Posts
    5,520
    You might also price out an Infinity system. If its' a long term investment, it might be worth it. Excellent humidity control in summer and a nice set-up if you consider dual fuel. I was actually suprised that the price increase wasn't all that much over Performance series. So much of hte cost is the labor ot install, that sometiems it's worth it to put in better equipemnt for comfort.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    Bucks County, PA
    Posts
    9
    Thanks to hcong, RyanHughes, tedkidd and motoguy128 for your comments and recommendations. I think I've decided on the Carrier Performance 25HCB636 outdoor unit and the FV4CNB005T variable speed fan coil. The Carrier Performance components are priced at the top of my budget while the Infinity components are just more than I want to spend at this point.

    Although there is a huge underground natural gas pipeline running through my development, natural gas service wasn't include with the initial site work and utilities installation. Electric, oil or propane are my only choices.

    As for the size of the unit, I specifically asked the contractor that I am leaning towards about a load test. He said his calculations indicate a 3 ton unit. I asked all four of the contractors about the size of my current unit and the possibility of increasing the capacity during our initial meeting. All four have recommended a 3-ton unit after running their info through their software. As none of them have tried to up-sell me on capacity, I have to assume that a 3-ton unit is correct.

    I asked each contractor about a whole house humidifier. Several included a by-pass humidifier and a steam type in their estimate. The contractor I am leaning toward didn't include the steam type, just the Carrier HUMCCLBP2417 by-pass type. When I asked him about the steam type. He replied that he doesn't like them because "they don't hold up, we have had problems with every brand of steam humidifier plus they need a lot of maintenance." Is a by-pass type a better choice? The steam types are all twice the cost or more than the by-pass units. Everything I have read indicates that a steam type humidifier is more efficient and doesn't waste water like a by-pass unit does. What do you guys think about them? Do you think they are worth the cost and possible trouble? Any experience, good or bad? Would you stay away from a steam unit?

    I also asked that same contractor about an additional housing for disposable filters. He said "if you're talking about a media filter they are very restrictive to air flow and can reduce air flow." I guess he recommends just using the filter that comes with the unit. Are the larger 4" or 5" filters a bad idea? My current duct work configuration includes a 24" x 8" drop from the main return trunk line that runs parallel to the fan coil and turns 90 degrees and terminates directly under the fan coil housing. That enables the return air to enter the fan coil from the bottom and not through the side. I think one of the contractors said that the bottom or underneath entrance is better. Would an additional filter housing fit in my current configuration and be desirable? Maybe it would be installed between the horizontal part of the return and the bottom of the fan coil housing? In that configuration the fan coil housing would sit directly on top of the additional filter housing.

    Thanks again for your help!

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