I'm about to pull the rope on my two systems that I need to replace. I find myself sitting on the edge and having to make a decision--a decision I'm struggling with. I need some input from knowledgeable folks who aren't trying to sell me anything.

I have two options. Both have 2-stage gas heat (Trane XV95), both have the TCON803 t'stat that allows me to use the dehumidify-on-demand function of the XV95. In fact, both options are identical in every way with only one exception. One has 2-stage cooling (Trane XL16i) and one has single-stage cooling (Trane XR15).

Both of these options are major investments for us. I know that posting prices here is forbidden, so I won't even think about it--but I'm sure that the pros here have a good idea of the ballpark for two systems like this, and it ain't pretty. The 2-stage option represents an upcharge of 9.4% (hope that's allowed) over single-stage. When looking at the total amount, it's easy to say, "Well, it's only <number> dollars." When considered on its own, that becomes "Hey, that's <number> Dollars! I can do a lot of stuff with that!" At the bottom line, we "can do" either; it's just a matter of a few more payments on the home equity line. My struggle is over whether it's money I ought to spend.

I frankly have never owned or experienced a 2-stage cooling system, so it's hard for me to grasp the real value of the investment. We live in an area (Central Arkansas) that's hot and humid, but not exactly the steamer that is to our south (I wouldn't have said that a month or two ago, however). I see the theory of 2-stage cooling improving humidity control and, by some reports, lowering electrical cost (though I'm not counting on that). On the other hand, as I understand it the dehumidify feature will also work with single-stage units.

This would also be easier if I thought that the price difference would impact resale value of the house. I doubt it.

SO... please help me stop waffling.Is there something about the XL16i that I'm not taking into account? If I go with single-stage, am I going to regret it? Does 2-stage cooling make THAT much difference in comfort? Do I need to quit analyzing this thing to death and buy SOMETHING, already?

Thanks, y'all.