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  1. #1

    3.5 ton HP+AH system recommendation

    Thanks in advance to all the pros on this site... as well as the customers who post their questions and experiences. I learned a lot from reading literally hundreds of threads, already.

    I saw this out there:
    and wondered if it is the least bit helpful or simply outdated or too general, and not therefore so helpful?

    I believe things change over time. A particular model that may have soiled the reputation of one manufacturer for many years in the minds of many people, and may now be past history.

    In should disclose that, in general, I have the perception that model lines reduce costs in the lower tiers by using cheaper components. Is that generally true? So, I am already pre-disposed to the notion that "you pay for what you get".

    And so to ramble on further, I speculate that the quality of components used twenty years ago may not be on par with the components used in the middle-tier, today.

    I am replacing a 23 year old 3.5 Ton heap pump and air handler. Well, my HVAC independent contractor is doing the job. However, I am coming here for perspective and to get help making decisions on products I shop for every 25 years or so, evidently. lol.

    So, I am seeking specific model recommendations for a 3.5 ton heap pump + air handler system and probably considering electronic filters such as the Honeywell F300 or the FH8000 or Aprilaire 5000 (as well as any other paper filter that are recommended). I like the idea of putting the washable filters in the dishwasher.

    Is there an advantage to variable speed fan, I am leaning toward VS even though I see in most commentary that it is good for dehumidification; which is not what I need being in the high-desert climate of Central Oregon. I was looking at VS as potentially smoothing the delivery of air flow (gentler and quieter perhaps?) and possibly adjusting for the particular pressures existent in the ducts, too.

    Lastly, I notice that the web sites of companies that have closed dealer networks such as Carrier, Maytag, Rheem, Trane seem to be more informative than other brands that operate differently.

    In fact, I was interested in the Rheem JEC units due what I read on this forum about how the tstat, AH and HP are communicating with each other. I got the impression all systems do not do this.

    As much as I would like to by the Rheem JEC, I am using a HVAC contractor that is an independent type so my understanding is... that he does not have access to these manufacturers because they require specific Trane Training; or Maytag High SEER TrainingI learned on the phone this morning from the Maytag corporate phone number.

    But then I found a supply company out of New York selling Rheem via eBay. But in big red letters their warning says if you accept delivery and then find a problem, then it's your problem all of a sudden. lol. Oh great.

    So, I am hopeful that the pros here can offer some suggestions of particular models which independent contractors have access to their distribution networks such as York or Honeywell or some other ones I am not aware of?

    Of course, I am seeking those higher-end models with good solid components inside so that the company puts a 10 year warranty on it. or 12 years in the case of Maytag.

    Are the advanced features such as communication with the tstat genuinely helpful toward climate control? If so, do you know of a model with that functionality?

    Many Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    I wouldn't put a lot of stock in that website. He does list some features of some of the brands but some of his info is outdated or wrong.

    Best bet is find a great local contractor whom you feel you can trust. Have him quote his favorite brand and tell you why he like it. Many brands void the warranty if they can trace your purchase to the internet, not something you want. It's your problem? Like the poor sap we found who needed a 42 (3.5 ton) but got a 24 by mistake. Ooops.

    Most brands have high end communicating equipment like the Rheem JEC series which uses Emerson's control.

    About everyone has 10 year parts with registration. Labor warranties vary greatly. Most mfrs. are getting out of them leaving them to a 3rd party. The prices have climbed too.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    SW Wisconsin
    Like the poor sap we found who needed a 42 (3.5 ton) but got a 24 by mistake. Ooops.
    Maybe the 2-Ton was closer to the right size...

  4. #4
    Thank you... I'll take Rheem JEC stuff as a recommendation.

    The reason I ask for a Pro recommendations of a specific model or line is:

    o The set of components and overall design and construction of a particular model line may be recognized for quality by the installer community.

    o The manufacturers in the open-network wholesale-supply space seem to provide almost no information about the product's components or features.

    The tech specs might as well be:
    "Cheap metal box containing heat pump powered by electric. Rated 16 feelGood Units. Gov't Seal Approved"

    Here is an example of the actual *technical* information provided to a consumer on the York web site. This is from the Affinity line, which I am more comfortable purchasing compared to the LX line.

    York® Affinity™ YZF Heat Pump
    Phase: Single Phase
    Coil: Demand Defrost
    Fan Motor: QuietDrive™ Comfort System
    Parts Warranty: 10-Year Limited Parts Warranty**
    Other Warranty: 10-Year Limited Compressor Warranty
    Capacity: 2 - 5 Tons
    Efficiency Rating: Up to 16 SEER/9.0 HSPF

    York® Affinity™ YZH Heat Pump
    Phase Single: Phase
    Configuration: Two Stage Compressor
    Coil: Demand Defrost
    Fan Motor: QuietDrive™ Comfort System
    Parts Warranty: 10-Year Limited Parts Warranty**
    Other Warranty: 10-Year Limited Compressor Warranty
    Capacity: 2 - 5 Tons
    Efficiency Rating: Up to 18 SEER/10.1 HSPF

    But you pros see the internal components and experience the build quality firsthand. amirite?

    My HVAC guy is an old school York man. I believe his perspective is, "why would anybody need more than the LX series". His recommendation:

    York® LX Series YHJF Heat Pump
    Phase: Single Phase
    Parts Warranty: 10-Year Limited Parts Warranty**
    Other Warranty: 10-Year Limited Compressor Warranty
    Capacity: 2 - 5 Tons
    Efficiency Rating: 14.5 SEER/8.5 HSPF

    And maybe he is right. That's why I am here, posting... To learn.

    When I read (here at hvac-talk) about the AC line in York's middle-tier, people were all over the microchannel condensers as often being a bad idea and hard to repair. So, I am trying to avoid purchasing a product that was subject to the engineering cost-cutting treatment by some "suits" at Johnson-Controls.

    I want the best possible chance for product longevity and durability. To be real, I am single-owner of a 21 year old car that is well-maintained, so I understand that components wear out and must be repaired.

    So, my York guy said he is comfortable with other manufacturer's gear. I want to work with him. Though, if I want a Rheem Mod, then I need to find a way to purchase from a local wholesale supplier or a local Rheem dealer. Apparently, I don't know the rules of this HVAC distributor landscape.

    In summary, I am seeking recommendation for a model with quality build and some features like this IQ stuff, or VS fans, and multi-stage heat-strips in the AH for multi-level heating modes; as my region can go below zero on any given winter, though not consistently. Maybe the York Affinity has these features but yet York does a poor job communicating?


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    SW Wisconsin
    You need a pro-to furnish the equipment & do the install.
    A quality install is critical to a condenser's & entire systems' longevity.

    In order to get the equipment sized right & for optimal efficiency, a Home Energy Efficiency Audit/Rating along with the needed retro-work should be performed.

    Then a room by room heat-gain/loss load-calc performed so the right Btuh & CFM is delivered to & from each room.
    That quality of work can only be performed properly by true HVAC professionals.

  6. #6
    Yes, in a perfect world. lol!

    I am unable to find a vendor that will do more than a whole house load calc, which they say they can do it from outside the house.

    Hmm...not being able to express a price for a service is very awkward. I'm merely trying to obtain perspective, too.

    Seems that a professional HVAC company (biggest in town) would also do a room by room analysis for that price, too.

    In a hypothetical situation, how many billable hours would you charge for a whole house and room-by-room calc? Is it a day's work, or something, for a 2400 sq ft home (2-story, 3BR, 2.5BA)? 6 hours effort? 4 hours?

    Thank you!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    The South
    New Heat Pump System

    Here is my general spec sheet for new system.
    both outside and inside units should be replaced to have a properly matched system.

    15 SEER, 12.5+ EER, 9 HSPF
    best matching VS air handler
    full BTUs in both cooling and heating for your rated size
    R-410a refrigerant(same as Puron)
    scroll compressor preferred
    electronic demand defrost preferred
    thermostat with "dehumidify on demand" feature
    staged backup heat strips
    new and correctly sized refrigerant lineset
    10 yr warranty on parts and compressor

    you want a thorough inspection of your ductwork system. size, overall condition, supply and return lines, insulation qualities, leak test, etc.

    any hot/cold spot issues in your home should be addressed.

    My personal recommendation is Trane/AmStd, Rudd/Rheem, and Carrier/Bryant.

    Depending on your location, I would not purchase a new system that did not have electronic demand defrost.


  8. #8
    I genuinely appreciate the general specs or requirements list!

    I would have not thought about dehumidify on demand as it is such a dry climate as it is. I'm in a rain shadow and "high desert" (3050 altitude), so maybe I need a humidifier? Or nothing.

    Or was the main point that I should have the proper thermostat that supports all the features of the system, such as "dehumidify on demand", for proper and complete operational control? Hmm. I think that may have been the point.

    The general whole house load calc should be performed next week. And I will make sure inspections are performed on ducts to verify the six things listed.

    Many thanks!!!
    This forum is very helpful.

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