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10-05-2012, 03:01 PM #1New Guest
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- Oct 2012
Equipment choices and Infinity controller vs Honeywell Prestige T-stat
Background: 130 year old brick 2 1/2 story farm house. 3500 SQ heated area.
Current system: 1991 Rheem Low efficiency (about 75%) natural gas furnace 175K BTU and 5 ton AC single state for both.
I'm looking to install new high efficiency furnace and AC or Hybrid with heat pump. I live in Pennsylvania. I'd really appreciate the opinions of installers who are not going to sell me the job. Not that I don't trust them, but each contractor has different opinions and their equipment is the BEST.
Question 1: Single fuel or duel-fuel? One says that with the price of natural gas, no heat should come from electricity. Another says that with modern high efficiency heat pumps I'm better off using electricity for some of the heat. Adding hybrid adds about 10% to the total cost.
2. A contractor proposed Carrier equipment giving me three options. A. Infinity with modulating burner. 120K BTU with 16 SEER 5 Ton AC. B. Infinity 2-stage without the modulating burner. 3 Comfort series 2 stage. Is there really a payback going with A? Is the complexity more prone to break down?
Another concern is that I have a Honeywell Prestige color T-stat with remote outdoor sensor and remote T-stat on the second floor. I know it can control much more than it does right now with my single stage equipment. I like being able to switch reading between downstairs and upstairs. Also seeing the outdoor temp and humidity is nice in the morning.
I believe that the Infinity needs to use the Infinity controller thermostat to be most efficient. If I use the Honeywell with it, I lose some control and diagnostics. What do you think. Is the Infinity system so much better that I should replace my Prestige T-stat to gain the benefits of Infinity. The installer tells me that the Comfort 2-stage system is more compatible with my T-stat.
Before I spend a LOT of money, I need to learn as much as I can to make the right choice for me to be satisfied and for the purchase to gain maximum payback.
Right now it costs me about $400/mo for AC and $600 on a cold month for heat. I do have replacement windows, but this is an old house with ice cold plaster on brick walls.
3. Air cleaner. Electronic or Media filter? This house is dusty. I'm going to have the ducts cleaned , but some runs in the walls are 130 years old. I don't think I'm ever going to turn this into a new dust free home, so is electrostatic overkill?
4. Humidifier. I've had two bad experiences whole house humidifiers. On my old furnace I had the we drum pad. I have very hard water. It clogged up and turned hard in a week. Never really put much humidity into the house. My present furnace has an AprilAir fan forced unit. It seems to do nothing. so I don't use it.
The dealer is proposing a Honeywell True Steam humidifier. He says they are great. Another installer told me his is not a fan of furnace mounted humidifiers and recommends that I continue using my stand alone humidifiers.
Thanks in advance for your help. Each opinion helps me learn. I am not about cheaping out, but I want to be sure I'm spending my money where it counts for now, and 10 years from now.
10-05-2012, 03:44 PM #2
Not usign the Infinity Controller defeats virtually all the benefits of the Infinity system.. might as well go with Performance series if you want the Prestige.
In PA, dual fuel is probably a good option. I'd push the contractors for a load calculation. I bet your closer to 100k BTU's than 120k with your winter design temepratures. Brick construction and plaster walls add a lot of thermal mass so you can even undersize just a little because of it. Themeprature won;t change as quickly. For AC, a load calculation is improtant. You might find out you only need 4 tons of AC with your moderate summer design conditions. Longer run times will control humidity better, give more even temperatures and increase effciency. An AC system has to run at least 8-10 minutes just ot reach maximum effciency.
Nothing wrong with central humidifiers. Much better control and distribution with a whole house set-up than with stand alone. IF oyu have very hard water, I'd recommend 1) getting a water softner 2) installing a inline filter for ANY humidifier you use.
10-05-2012, 03:58 PM #3New Guest
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- Oct 2012
10-05-2012, 04:47 PM #4
The Prestige will work well with systems that are not designed to be communicating.
All communicating systems when installed properly are as reliable as non-communicating. The Infinity touchscreen is a very nice system controller and has most of the features that the Prestige does. Setup the WIFI and you can control the system from anywhere with your smartphone.
As mentioned you should have a water softener for any humidifier installed. This is very important with hard water when trying to use steam humidifiers.Climate Control Solutions for your Home or Office
Serving Northeast Philadelphia and Surrounding Areas
10-05-2012, 05:23 PM #5New Guest
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- Oct 2012
10-05-2012, 05:50 PM #6
I wouldn't go with a modulating furnace without the Infinity but 2 stage would be well controlled by the Prestige. Efficiency is the same with either 95% furnace. You lose some blower control capability and summer dehumidify functions as well as error messages but since you have the Prestige, might be worth hanging on to it.
I'm a dual fuel fan. Without knowing rates, hard to say but most areas it is worth it.
There is no economic payback going with modulating furnace just comfort advantages. But 2 stage is going to be an improvement from what you have so you will gain comfort just replacing the old beast.
The 59TN6 has a variable speed blower, the 59TP5 has a fixed speed blower. Personally I'd spend a bit more for the variable speed.
You didn't mention the A/C but I'd bet there isn't much payback in going to the super SEER 2 stage units. In a northern area, your best bang for the buck is usually a good 13/14 SEER singe stage unit which is typically bumped up a point by the efficient blower motor.
Media air cleaner, I wouldn't touch an electronic
Aprilaire 600 or 700 or similar from General or Honeywell. I wouldn't touch a steam hum either.
I'd guess that most who reply will push you towards the most expensive stuff you can get. Remember, you are paying for the stuff, not them. They may be thinking of what they'd like to be selling
10-05-2012, 06:59 PM #7
What I would, and did, sell to my mother and lots of friends:
Infinity hybrid. Stock media filter. Water saver humidifier.
The humidifier is simple, effective, efficient. Saves water, saves water softening, saves water heating, and have a system that works. You may run through pads, be interesting to hear. I'm about to shift to American Standard communicating hybrid. You can control lights, door locks, cameras.
What I would never recommend to a family member - non communicating or single stage equipment. The energy savings I've seen that I can only attribute to the equipment's ability to run continuously and load match, combined with raving reviews of quiet even comfort, make recommending anything else simply too risky.
The furnace and pump sound grossly oversized, and I'd be surprised if you needed that btu/tonnage or have enough duct to even deliver that amount. Has anybody ever taken External Static Pressure of your system?
Have you ever had any diagnostics or load calculations performed for the house? Blower door test? If you don't want to simply WAG your equipment decision, a little time and energy getting design right is needed.
Remember, if the system doesn't keep you perfectly comfortable for the 3-4 hours a year that conditions get really hot or cold you have a lot of options, from simple to complex, for improving the house: You can seal duct work. Insulate duct work. Seal basement and attic penetrations. Caulk around your windows. Add insulation to your attic. Install heavier curtains. And abandon setback (adjusting temperature at design conditions takes a LOT of horsepower).
It's better to undersize than oversize, so if you are in between, go down a size. If you oversize the equipment, fixing the house can actually make some problems associated with over sizing (temperature imbalance, high humidity) worse rather than better. Who wants to improve their house and make problems worse? A little oversized becomes more oversized as you drop load.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.