Packaged or split, R22 or 410A, variable speed or no?
Wow are there a bunch of brands and contractors out there for heat pumps! My wife and I hope you all can help us narrow our decision. We are looking to add air conditioning, and reduce the oil bill.
Our house is a 1949 cape cod with an 1100 sqft 1st floor, 700 sqft 2nd floor . We have an oil fire hot water boiler supplying 1st floor radiators, and 2nd floor baseboards. There is no air conditioning. There is an attic. and 30" crawl space, and one area where duct work could be run between the attic and crawl space (a common closet space). We've had 7 contractors come by; each with different advise. So far the best options appear to be:
1) A packaged heat pump for zoned to handle the whole house
2) A split system sized for the whole house with air handler in the attic
3) A package unit for the first floor, and a split system for the second.
Most contractors are pushing 13 seer R-22 systems without variable speed. It's very humid in Hampton Roads, Virginia and we need more advice on the pros and cons of these configurations, refrigerants, and variable speed fans.
variabke speed fans, good idea. R-22????? I wouldn't want it or advise anyone to install any system with R-22 refrigerant at the present time. The ban on R-22 goes into effect in 2010, if you put in an r-22 system now, once the ban is in place, any warranty replacement of parts or equipment that would normally cost you nothing will cost you something since most manufacturers are phasing out R-22 systems right now. R-410a is a long term replacement for R-22 and I would advise that you get estimates for the R-410a refrigerant.
The price of R-22 has tripled in the last few months and R-410a has fallen to about the same price as R-22. Most equipment manufacturers sell both the R-22 and R-410a equipment to their dealers at exactly the same price, so there should not be any major increases in estimates.
A package unit for the 1st floor and split for the 2nd floor sounds like a good idea. Check warranties on the equipment offered, check out the contractors, get references (call them). Do not rush into a big job just because it might be a little uncomfortable. Take your time and get the facts.
Out of 7 contractors, did one seem to better address your concerns and do a load test to find out the exact size unit you need? I'd take the advice of the contractor you choose. That said: The variable speed blower will be more comfortable without the feeling of the air blowing on you, less noise, lower speed decreases humidity.., the package unit will show some ductwork outside if that is an issue, R22 won't be made for much longer so could be an increase in future service calls (wouldn't make my decision on that though).
Humidity control is best handled by the contractor doing a Manual J calculation. Without that, it's just a shot in the dark if it's sized right. To large and it'll short cycle and not dehumidify to your liking.
Originally Posted by accutrol
R22 Compressors will still be made, as will all other parts.
The ban is new systems won't be made that use R22.
the "ban" will not be a big deal at all because its a phaseout. no point in stickin with the old stuff and think about the enviroment
I would suggest an r-410A system with variable speed blower. As stated before the variable speed systems control humidity better and are more efficient. I've been installing r-410a systems for three years now. They are nice. The temperature of the air out of the registers in winter is much warmer than the r-22 systems. R-22 systems will be higher to maintain in the future if it develpos a small leak. The refrigerant price will be similar to the change in the automotive industry a few years back when they cahnged from r-12 to r-134a. A package system in the lower level and a split system on the upper level would IMHO be the best system(s) to install. With the continued increase in energy costs, I would consider installing as high a SEER rating as you can afford. Typically, here in cenrtal VA we are installing 14 - 18 SEER equipment. However, ask information about the HPSF (Heating Performance Service Factor) also. Look fora minimum of 9.0 and ask the contractor how much experience they have with r-410a systems. There are many things when dealing with r-22 that were acceptable in the installation of the equipment that r-410a systems will not tolerate. You DO NOT want an in-experienced installer.
Good thing your first R410A customers didn't get this same advise.
Originally Posted by mblanks
I apologize for the way that sounded. The point that I am trying to make is that r-410a requires special precautions and training. We had training on r-410a systems before switching to those installations. I hear sooooo many horror stories on forums like this one of installers not installing dryers with new installations, not pulling appropriate vacuums (500microns) using existing line sets with new equipment and taking a chance on mixing the mineral oil with the POE oil. Installers leaving the line sets open to atmosphere for long periods of time and using blow through techniques, that my suggestion is that at the very least check the companies understanding/training in the r-410a applications. BEST PRACTICES is my concern.