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  1. #1

    Please help me choose a system

    Iíve been lurking here for the past few weeks trying to learn as much as I can about working with local firms to replace my furnace / heat pump / A/C. Iíd appreciate any guidance or feedback on the system quotes Iíve received.

    Iím in Pittsburgh, PA. My house was built in 1945 with an addition completed in the mid-80ís, before we owned it. Square footage of the original structure is 22x25, with a basement (half of which is un-heated/cooled garage), a first and second floor. The addition is 18x25. Total sq footage of heated / cooled area is 1825.

    The current furnace is a 1980ís era York, and I think itís like 120,000 or 150,000 BTUs. Weíre very interested in high efficiency and conserving gas and electric resources.

    The details for the two providers are:

    Provider A:
    - TRANE dealer
    - Had printout of house dimensions from the local tax assessment web page, so in-house measurements didnít need to be taken.
    - FURNACE: TUH080 3 Stage Variable speed; 95% efficient sized at 80,000 BTU.
    - A/C / Heat Pump: XL16i 2 Stage A/C with 2 Stage Heat Pump, sized at 36,000 BTU.
    - Recommends using existing air filter (April Aire?) but would replace humidifier to better suit the variable speed blowers.
    - Includes 10 year parts and labor
    - Mentioned that they do a lot of commercial business, and a lot of new residential developments

    Provider B:
    - CARRIER dealer
    - Also had printout of house dimensions from the local tax assessment web page, so in-house measurements didnít need to be taken.
    - FURNACE: Carrier Infinity 58MVC080 3 Stage Gas Valve with Variable DC Motor; 96% efficient sized at 80,000 BTU.
    - A/C / Heat Pump: 24ANA724 17 SEER sized at 24,000 BTU; Heat Pump is 2 Stage Infinity
    - Recommends using existing air filter and humidifier
    - Includes 5 year parts, 1 year labor; optional 10 year parts and labor can be purchased.
    - Does some commercial and a lot of residential

    Both provided options for single stage A/C units, but Iíve only shown the higher SEER rating units here. Both will provide programmable thermostats.

    I believe the TRANE has an AC motor and the CARRIER has a DC motor; the CARRIER dealer explained that this would be much more efficient. I have no idea as to how these compare. Does this make a difference in noise or energy efficiency?

    Both have positive ratings at the BBB. One has many many positive Angieís List entries, with a few negative experiences; the other has one positive entry and no negative entries.

    Iíve read skippedoverís awesome post (here http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=177271) but Iím still not sure how I know anything about how good the installers are or how Iíd find that out.

    I hope I havenít posted anything inappropriate here, and Iíd really appreciate any help. Iím really hoping to make a decision in the next few days and keep going back and forth between these two firms.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    623
    Well first off, the trane WILL also have a dc variable speed motor, he probably just did not explain it, so there is no difference there. One thing that is disturbing is that there is a 1 ton difference in your bids. Now they appear to be both 2 stage units, and most manufacturers dont offer half sizes such as 2 1/2 ton for example. Someone has not properly sized your equipment, judging by your square footage, a 2 ton is way too small especially on low stage. That being said square footage alone is not the way to size equipment, A manual J calculation would need to be done. How much of the square footage is actual living space, and also deduct any square footage in the basement, I could be off base on the 2 ton being too small.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    67,898
    Seems both are sizing by rules of thumb.
    Get other estimates.
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    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,074
    Sizing seems funny. If 1800 sq ft can cool on 2 ton, sure doesn't seem like it would need 80K 95%. Those furnaces want to move a lot of air to be efficient so if you don't have the duct system for it, could be noisy.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Southeast michigan
    Posts
    93
    imo if your doin a good load calc. theres alot more that goes into it than just square footage windows doors and things like that. have them come out and measure the house.

    On the installation side of things ask questions how many years have they been installing? what and how many certifications do they have? Ill probably get nailed on this one but Are they drug free . basically ask about the people who will be doing the job? most companies shouldnt have a problem asking these questions.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Posts
    623
    Quote Originally Posted by knott View Post
    imo if your doin a good load calc. theres alot more that goes into it than just square footage windows doors and things like that. have them come out and measure the house.

    On the installation side of things ask questions how many years have they been installing? what and how many certifications do they have? Ill probably get nailed on this one but Are they drug free . basically ask about the people who will be doing the job? most companies shouldnt have a problem asking these questions.
    yeh, about the sizing vs square footage, that has been mentioned. Do you think if they are on drugs, they will tell the customer that LOL. I guess if they are high at the time they come out, anything is possible.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Southeast michigan
    Posts
    93
    iwas workin with this kid once who got high everyday at lunch. when he came back from liunch to drill the holes for the vent he didnt pay to much attention to the water heater and there went a water line it does happen from time to time

  8. #8
    Thanks for all of your feedback!

    I had received 2 quotes in addition to the ones above, but have disqualified them for a variety of reasons. Of those quotes, one did not provide the sizing or model numbers, the other quoted 60,000 BTU furnace and 36,000 BTU A/C Heatpump (this was also a Carrier dealer). So it looks like the consensus among these three quotes is for multi-stage furnace, heat pump and A/C at 80,000 for the furnace and 36,000 for the A/C.

    Without the basement portion, total living area is 1550.

    Regarding the certifications, both are recognized by their respective dealers - Trane comfort specialist + NATE badge on their web site; Carrier Authorized dealer + NATE badge.

    Both of the people that visited are the owners of their businesses. One has been in business for > 1 generation, the other taking over from other owners in the 1980's.

    The TRANE dealer walked us through a binder with customer testimonials and the TRANE certifications for his staff. He seemed to be pretty hands-on, and really proud of his business and employees, which made us feel comfortable. He used some program on a laptop to do whatever sizing he did and generate the quote. He did NOT walk thru the house to examine vents and such aside from looking at the furnace, A/C unit and one room that doesn't get a lot of air.

    The Carrier dealer had a better emergency access plan, and I've gotten good word-of-mouth from others on this firm. He did walk thru the house and comment on some changes that could be made. His warranty is not as good as the other dealer's, but I can purchase the extension to make it equivalent.

    Thanks again for your comments and any further guidance!

    fin

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    75
    Quote Originally Posted by finster5 View Post
    The TRANE dealer walked us through a binder with customer testimonials and the TRANE certifications for his staff. He seemed to be pretty hands-on, and really proud of his business and employees, which made us feel comfortable. He used some program on a laptop to do whatever sizing he did and generate the quote. He did NOT walk thru the house to examine vents and such aside from looking at the furnace, A/C unit and one room that doesn't get a lot of air.

    fin
    I know when I was in the process of receiving a quote from Trane I received a similar presentation especially with the laptop. Although it was "impressive" a load calculation was not done nor did they review the ducts.

    If I were you I would keep looking. Look for a company that will take the time to do a manual j and manual d calculation of your house. The ones that do that will be better suited for you.

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