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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    47

    York Stellar Plus to Trane XL16i? Worth it?

    We have 1 5-ton and 2 3-ton york Stellar plus units that are around 7 years old, backed up with an Energy Kinetic System 2000 oil furnace. Things are set to switch to oil at around 40deg F. In our area of PA, PPL dereg and oil skyrocketing has us wondering if we should upgrade / change.

    We would like some opinions... Our first option is Geothermal (we have plenty of land for a closed loop).. our hvac vendor seems totally against doing these? Not sure why....

    The option they proposed is replacing the York Stellar Plus 12 SEER with
    2 Trane XL16i 4-ton and 1 Trane XL16i 5-ton at 17 SEER. And, of course, adjusting the switchover point to oil down to around 30 deg F.

    Question:
    1. Is switching from the 7-yr old stellar plus to the newer Trane a good move? from efficiency/cost/longer term?
    2. If we are going to spend $XXK+ to replace air-to-air systems, is a geothermal covering 12 ton worth considering? cost-unknown?

    thanks
    Last edited by dzenzel; 06-25-2008 at 10:31 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
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    66,749
    A. Remove pricing, its not allowed on this site.

    I'm not a brand basher. But, you don't want the Trane 16i heat pump if your looking to save on your heating bill. They have low heat output compared to other brands, and compared to Tranes XL15 heat pump.
    So I would say to consider another model or brand.

    Geo is worth considering.
    If your contractor is against it, he may have no experience with it.
    in that case get estimates from contractors that have experience with geo.
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
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    47
    Any suggestions on where to find a geothermal contractor in our area (SE Pa, Quakertown, Allentown)?

    Do you think that keeping the single stage york units and just setting the switchover point is a reasonable first step vs. replacing systems yet?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
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    New systems won't be any cheaper 5 years down the road.
    But I don't think you'll save enough replacing 7 year old air to air units with air to air.
    I would set them lower.
    But weather or not, they are wired to bring on aux heat while defrosting will determine if you like using them at lower OD temps.
    Those Stellars will give you more heat then Trane 16i's at lower temps.

    Also, is your energy kinetic, a boiler or hot air furnace?
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    DC Metro Area (MD)
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    3,350
    If you don't have a variable-speed blower on those Energy Kinetic units, then I wouldn't recommend over 13/14 SEER as it's harder to get the high SEER rating without one. Additionally, I wouldn't recommend a dual-stage system without a variable-speed blower.

    Just looked up XL16i heat pump ratings. The 5 ton has no matchups above 15 SEER, and the 4 ton has no matchups above 15.75 SEER. Where did 17 SEER come from? Not too uncommon with higher-tonnage units.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    47
    The numbers came from the sales pitch/hvac vendor.

    I think I'm going to mess around with configuration of the existing system(s) first this season, before replacing (I think I can stay on HP much longer than cutting off at 40F to oil). The oil is boiler with water-based coils in the air handlers from the HP today, single speed fans.

    Sounds like ROI is not going to be that great...with the config suggested at this point as a replacement....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
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    If you have hydro coils in your air handlers above the heat pump coils. Then you should NOT be locking out your heat pumps at any temp above 10*F. Possibly lower depending on other factors.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Posts
    47
    Interesting, so then the heat pump should be OK with outdoor air above 10F and the HP Lockout can be lowered down that low.....?

    Obviously Oil when below 40 was "warmer feeling", but if the HP can handle things much lower than 40F outside, that is definitely what I will try first.....I believe the external unit cutoff dip-switch/jumpers can go down to zero.

    With the york unit, it must be all or nothing down to the cutoff temp, from what I understand, so if I understand you, for our area, I might be able to just do that for now.... lower the cutoff and rely less on the full oil.....

    thanks for the info.....

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
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    You can run both the heat pump and boiler at the same time.
    At 20* outdoor temp, the heat pump most likely won't handle the load. But by letting it run, you use less oil, since its still providing heat. And thats heat you don't need to burn oil for.
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