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  1. #1

    Upgrade or stay put

    I recently moved into a home that has 2900 sqft, single level built in 1984. The interior was gutted about 2 years ago and remodeled, including new plumbing and low e glass windows. As soon as I moved in, I upgraded both the inside and outside electrical panels.

    The 2 items I have let are the A/C unit (or perhaps Heat pump here in Orlando) and attic insulation. I know the attic insulation is R19 so I would like to upgrade to R30 with blown in insulation.

    The A/C unit, air handler and coil unit are Rheem with a 10 seer rating on the outside unit. I assume it's single speed only. It was built in January 1999. It seems to be working ok and I plan to have a service performed on it this weekend.

    Considering the unit is 9 years old and only a SEER of 10, should I upgrade to a 14 SEER unit? I am also trying to get a feel on Trane vs Carrier vs ?, and there does not seem to be a consensus on a superior brand.

    Thank you for your input.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    The Twilight Zone
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    I would increase/improve insulation first and foremost. This investment pays back over the life of the home.

    As far as replacing the system to improve efficiency, this almost never pays for itself over the life of the system if rates remain contant. If the system is beyond repair, different story. If your electric rates have increased dramatically, payback time may be reasonable.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    The Twilight Zone
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    Double Post.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Cedar Grove, Wi-Sheboygan
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    I would suppect that as long as the upgrades that have been done already were done the right way and if you were to add more insulation into the attic and upgrade to a new system at least a 14 seer maybe even a 2 speed AC with a VS blower on the airhandler most any brand you pick will work just as good as the next brand. What really matters most is the installation of the new equipment. Carrier/Bryant are the same equipment, American Standard is good as well, Me having a bias opinion I would go with a mid line Carrier/Bryant equipment. But of course this all depends on your budget will limit you in how much $$$$ you have to spend. Get several estimate's and do your homework on the brands your interested in purchasing, ask the installers/contractors to perform load calc's to make sure your home is properly sized will help ensure your comfort after your equipment is installed.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Posts
    205

    I'm sorta in the same boat as you Taylor

    These guys gave this advice:

    1) Keep up your maintenace on the A/C (yearly tuneups, filter change, condenser clean, yada yada)

    2) Start getting ready for the change over by learning as much as possible about units, installer,etc

    3) Let it ride until your unit begins to nickle and dime you to death and then get that old one out

    4) Remember, its all about the installation (as I have learned) and not the brand of unit.

    5) Bookmark this page and read and learn.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    The Twilight Zone
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    Quote Originally Posted by RomulanSpy View Post
    These guys gave this advice:

    1) Keep up your maintenace on the A/C (yearly tuneups, filter change, condenser clean, yada yada)

    2) Start getting ready for the change over by learning as much as possible about units, installer,etc

    3) Let it ride until your unit begins to nickle and dime you to death and then get that old one out

    4) Remember, its all about the installation (as I have learned) and not the brand of unit.

    5) Bookmark this page and read and learn.
    Outstanding advice from an extraterrestrial.

    Take care.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
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    67,722
    Add your insulation first. This will save more money then a SEER upgrade.

    At 9 years of age. Only replace it if yoou find the improvements have made it too oversized to keep your humidity down to a reasonable level.
    Even then, you may want to consider a whole house dehumidifier before a unit change out.

    You can use the home owner version of hvac calc to see if bring your attic up to R30 will lower your load enough to use a smaller A/C.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    415
    Get an energy audit. Make sure to air seal before adding insulation. Insulation and air sealing have the best ROI. Do a new load calc after upgrades, you will need smaller sized equipment. Brand of equipment makes no difference. Do it correctly and you will enjoy years of comfort and energy savings.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Dallas
    Posts
    16

    Add TXV valve

    You can also talk with your service professional about the possibility to replace the metering device with a TXV valve.
    It will cost you some money, but it will increase the SEER rating from 10 to 11.5 .. 12

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2001
    Location
    DFW
    Posts
    684
    There are several things you can do that have a reasonable pay back period.

    Replace conventional bulbs with CFLs, but only if they are not on a dimmer, motion detector, light sensor or other electronic control.

    If the refrigerator is more than 10 years old, the pay back for a new one can be as short as five or six years.

    Even with low-e glass, solar screens on west facing windows can be quite effective.

    If you ducts are in your attic, have them tested and any leaks fixed.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by ericrocks View Post
    with a TXV valve.
    It will cost you some money, but it will increase the SEER rating from 10 to 11.5 .. 12
    It might only increase it to a 10.5

    Some 10 SEER units show no increase in SEER by adding a TXV.

    On a 9 year old 10 SEER, but the time he pays for the TXV, and hard start kit.
    He won't get his money back before he needs to replace the system.
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Cedar Grove, Wi-Sheboygan
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    A question on those TXV valves, What is there purpose and if a person were to have one installed on there AC OD unit or ID unit which ever one it goes on are they able to be reused on a new euipment when a upgrade is made?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
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    67,722
    They are a metering device. There job is to correctly meter teh proper amount of refrigerant to the coil base on coil pressure and temp.

    Would you want to have a used radiator installed in your new car.
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