Ft. Worth Buyer looking for expert opinions on system
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  1. #1
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    Jul 2008
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    Ft. Worth Buyer looking for expert opinions on system

    Alrighty. You all probably get these types of questions often, but I do appreciate your input. I'm currently building a 4600 sq.ft. home in Ft. Worth, TX, and have recently been quoted several options from the builder's HVAC folks. The system will consist of 2 seperate a/c units. Here are my options from low to high (pricing excluded of course):

    1. 14 SEER: Goodman Condenser & Goodman Furnace and Coil w/ 10 year warranty.

    2. 14 SEER plus: include a Honeywell F100 media filter and Honeywell T8000 Touchscreen Thermostat.

    3. 15 SEER Amana plus: same as above, but adds a Amana Variable Speed Furnace w/ lifetime replacement warranty.

    4. 16 SEER Amana plus: same as above, but adds SSX 16 High Efficiency 410A Condenser.

    Are the upgraded options worth it? Would I be better off getting the lowest system, and just upgrading later down the road? In terms of SEER rating, what can I expect my energy bills to look like, and would it be worth getting a 16 SEER over a 14 SEER system? Any and all suggestions are appreciated, as well as, any questions I should be asking the HVAC contractor about (ie. duct work, insulation, ect.). Thanx!
    Last edited by ftwrtbuyer; 07-24-2008 at 03:16 PM.

  2. #2
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    May 2007
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    DC Metro Area (MD)
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    Question: are you keeping the furnace or replacing it, or do you not have a gas furnace?

    If you are replacing the furnace or using an air handler with one with a variable-speed blower then, in your area, I would go for the Amana ASX16 with the same thermostat and air filter. That would be a nice system. Otherwise, I would go for the 14 SEER Amana ASX14.

    I would get the highest efficiency you can afford now so you don't have to upgrade unnecessarily down the road.

  3. #3
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    I'm no expert so please feel free to ignore my opinion.

    First question are you looking at heat pumps or just A/C units?

    I just had the Amana ASZ16 heat pump and AMV8 variable speed furnace. I would highly recommend them based on comfort and quiet alone. I dont know that you'd really see a payback going from 14 SEER to 16 SEER. It all depends on your electric rates. Where I am at, electricity is only $0.0797/kWh so a payback would take a while.

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanHughes View Post
    Question: are you keeping the furnace or replacing it, or do you not have a gas furnace?

    If you are replacing the furnace or using an air handler with one with a variable-speed blower then, in your area, I would go for the Amana ASX16 with the same thermostat and air filter. That would be a nice system. Otherwise, I would go for the 14 SEER Amana ASX14.

    I would get the highest efficiency you can afford now so you don't have to upgrade unnecessarily down the road.
    I'm building this thing from scratch, and have nothing currently. But from what your saying, option 4 would be the best choice. Keep in mind, I'm def not above getting a better SEER system later on down the road...19-23 (when they become more affordable of course )

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by badtlc View Post
    I'm no expert so please feel free to ignore my opinion.

    First question are you looking at heat pumps or just A/C units?

    I just had the Amana ASZ16 heat pump and AMV8 variable speed furnace. I would highly recommend them based on comfort and quiet alone. I dont know that you'd really see a payback going from 14 SEER to 16 SEER. It all depends on your electric rates. Where I am at, electricity is only $0.0797/kWh so a payback would take a while.
    Is that normal to combine a heat pump system w/ a furnace? I thought (novice speaking) that the proper set up was A/C w/ Furnace or Heat pump w/ air handler...I can def. ask the HVAC contractor about the possibility of a heat pump system. Do those work well though w/ the TEXAS heat, cooling-wise?

  6. #6
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    Don't worry about dual fuel in your area when you don't use the heat much. I'd go for one or the other. In my opinion...

    Ask for the indoor model numbers.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by ftwrtbuyer View Post
    Alrighty. You all probably get these types of questions often, but I do appreciate your input. I'm currently building a 4600 sq.ft. home in Ft. Worth, TX, and have recently been quoted several options from the builder's HVAC folks. The system will consist of 2 seperate a/c units. Here are my options from low to high (pricing excluded of course):

    1. 14 SEER: Goodman Condenser & Goodman Furnace and Coil w/ 10 year warranty.

    2. 14 SEER plus: include a Honeywell F100 media filter and Honeywell T8000 Touchscreen Thermostat.

    3. 15 SEER Amana plus: same as above, but adds a Amana Variable Speed Furnace w/ lifetime replacement warranty.

    4. 16 SEER Amana plus: same as above, but adds SSX 16 High Efficiency 410A Condenser.

    Are the upgraded options worth it? Would I be better off getting the lowest system, and just upgrading later down the road? In terms of SEER rating, what can I expect my energy bills to look like, and would it be worth getting a 16 SEER over a 14 SEER system? Any and all suggestions are appreciated, as well as, any questions I should be asking the HVAC contractor about (ie. duct work, insulation, ect.). Thanx!

    The most important part of any HVAC system is the house it goes in.
    I also live in Fort Worth.
    I have 4,000 sq. ft. of conditioned space and it only requires one 2 ton heat pump to cool the whole house.

    Put the air handler and duct work in conditioned space.
    Add shade for all of the windows in the summer. Avoid East and West facing windows as much as possible.
    Air seal the house! - control infiltration.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ftwrtbuyer View Post
    Is that normal to combine a heat pump system w/ a furnace? I thought (novice speaking) that the proper set up was A/C w/ Furnace or Heat pump w/ air handler...I can def. ask the HVAC contractor about the possibility of a heat pump system. Do those work well though w/ the TEXAS heat, cooling-wise?
    Cooling wise, the heat pump will work just as well as an A/C unit.

    And in Missouri, where I am at, the furnace is required to backup the heat pump when temps get below 20degrees. If you are in fort worth, I'd think you might need some sort of auxiliary heat for those 4 or 5 nights a year when it gets really cold. If you could get by w/out auxiliary heat, then definitely dont spend money on an unneccessary furnace.

  9. #9
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    So from what i'm gathering...I should probably go with option 1. for now, and upgrade the HVAC system down the road. I'll def ask about a heat pump sytem with an air handler. I'll try to get some model numbers from the contractor too, and repost that info. Thanx too all so far who've replied!

  10. #10
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    can your electric company help you decide if going from SEER 14 to SEER 16 would have a reasonable payback period? I'm really not familiar with your rates down there.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ftwrtbuyer View Post
    So from what i'm gathering...I should probably go with option 1. for now, and upgrade the HVAC system down the road. I'll def ask about a heat pump sytem with an air handler. I'll try to get some model numbers from the contractor too, and repost that info. Thanx too all so far who've replied!
    Since you plan on upgrading down the road with a higher-efficiency multi-stage unit....

    Amana ASZ14 14 SEER heat pump (should get 15 SEER with v/s)
    Amana AEPF variable-speed air handler with auxiliary heat backup
    Honeywell TH8320/8321 or YTH9421 (better dehumidification by slowing down blower) VisionPRO thermostat
    Honeywell F100 media air cabinet

    Looks like they only plan on adding v/s if you go with option 3. Depending on your utility rates, a heat pump might be a better option than a gas furnace. For your climate, a heat pump makes sense.

    The key here is proper sizing and installation. Get a load calculation in writing.

    Also, the SSX16 is a Goodman/Amana Distinctions product and not the premium Amana product, so if going this route, I'd make sure it's the ASX16 or ASZ16. The Goodman is only dual stage in the 5-ton size.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ftwrtbuyer View Post
    So from what i'm gathering...I should probably go with option 1. for now, and upgrade the HVAC system down the road. I'll def ask about a heat pump sytem with an air handler. I'll try to get some model numbers from the contractor too, and repost that info. Thanx too all so far who've replied!

    Out of curiosity, what do you do for heat right now? Do you not have a furnace?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by RyanHughes View Post
    Since you plan on upgrading down the road with a higher-efficiency multi-stage unit....

    Amana ASZ14 14 SEER heat pump (should get 15 SEER with v/s)
    Amana AEPF variable-speed air handler with auxiliary heat backup
    Honeywell TH8320/8321 or YTH9421 (better dehumidification by slowing down blower) VisionPRO thermostat
    Honeywell F100 media air cabinet

    Looks like they only plan on adding v/s if you go with option 3. Depending on your utility rates, a heat pump might be a better option than a gas furnace. For your climate, a heat pump makes sense.

    The key here is proper sizing and installation. Get a load calculation in writing.
    I'll ask about a load calculation. Thanx for the suggestion on a set up as well...I may simply be stuck w/ what they offer...but I have yet to actually speak w/ the HVAC guy...They simply emailed me my options...

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