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.