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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Western Washington State
    Posts
    6

    Confused Anyone had experience with heat pump/Rinnai air handler hybrids?

    We're replacing a '60s era gas furnace and older hot water heat (gas). We expect to go with a hybrid system--heat pump and gas furnace--and a tankless hot water heater. In the last year or two Rinnai came out with an air handler that works in concert with their tankless water heater to provide home heating. We expect to rely on the heat pump nearly year 'round to heat our home (Western Washington has mild winters). Since we expect to install a Rinnai tankless anyway, we like the idea of using the Rinnai for backup heat (in place of a new gas furnace). The contractors here have no experience with these systems. The contractors who already install Rinnais are happy to consider their air handler, but I'd like to hear from someone who has used these systems.

    We're looking at a Trane XL14i or XL15i for the heat pump side of things. Any insight into how well the Rinnai air handlers work and how well one will work in concert with the Trane heat pump? Since these are new, what about their quality, reliability and efficiency? Also, are these good enough air handlers to utilize the efficiency of the heat pump? Any insight would be great.

    Regards,

    Jeff
    Last edited by formerfarmer; 08-02-2008 at 01:11 AM. Reason: to improve clarity

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,302
    When you get into high SEER, best to have a matched air handler otherwise who knows what SEER and capacity you would get. Especially critical with a heat pump, a mismatch could mean seasonal refrigerant level adjustment. Either go with a 3rd party air handler that does ARI rate its products or better yet, use a Trane VS air handler with a hot water coil above it.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    53
    I would vote for the Trane air handler with a water coil on the supply side. You wouldn't need the electric heat strips for back up. I've seen this done many times, and it works great.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Western Washington State
    Posts
    6
    S_Helton and BaldLoonie, thanks for your replies. The VS Trane air handler w/water coil sounds like a great solution and addresses all my concerns except one. The Rinnai handler communicates with the water heater to shut off the house heat (temporarily) when there is in-house demand for hot water (e.g., shower). That is, it prioritizes the hot water use, giving first priority to home hot water needs. Is it possible to achieve the same result with the Trane air handler/water coil combination?

    None of the contractors here that I've spoken with have experience with getting the Trane handler to communicate with the Rinnai tankless in this way. Any insight?

    Regards,

    Jeff

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
    Posts
    68,311
    According to the install instructions. The Rinnia air handler does not come with a DX coil. So you would still need to get a case coil from Train, or what ever brand you need.
    The instlla instructions don't show it having the HP coil mounted on teh return, just on teh supply. You may have to have your interested contractors verify with Rinnia that it is ok to mount the HP coil on the return side of the blower.

    No, a Trane air handler won't regulate water flow during domestic water calls.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Office and warehouse in both Crystal River & New Port Richey ,FL
    Posts
    18,836
    Builder in our area had a bad experience,air handler didn't have much ASP,for the high tonnage down here.Contractor should have known better.

    So just check the fan chart.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Western Washington State
    Posts
    6
    Thanks again for all the helpful information. My thinking has really changed because of the work on this forum. It seems pretty clear that the Rinnai handler is a less than stellar idea. I plan to inquire about the Trane heat pump (most likely a XL15i) with a matched air handler and water coil to supply backup heat. My goal is to really focus on HP heating and absolutely minimize the use of the tankless heater/water coil. Any suggestions on how to best reach that goal?

    I'd like to be informed when putting this idea to the contractor, and my novice thinking says "maximize BTU output at low temps" to keep the backup system off-line. The load calc shows heat loss of 32,000 at a winter design temp. of 23 degrees (1300 sq. ft., 1920's bungalow w/more windows than I can count). A Trane XL16i has more BTU at lower temps (on the order of 29,000 at 22 degrees, I think). That's approx. 3,000 more than the XL15i. Given calculation uncertainties, etc. is the extra cost of the XL16i going to buy me much in the way of keeping the backup off line? On the other hand, might the mild climate here really maximize the dual-mode compressor?

    Regards,

    Jeff

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
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    68,311
    What air handler are you using to get that heat rating from a 16i???
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  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Western Washington State
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    6
    I'll apologize now if I messed up: this is all new to me. The air handler is 4TEE3F49A1.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
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    Forgot to ask. What size 16i?
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Western Washington State
    Posts
    6
    I'm already out of my depth . . . . The contractor verbally said 2 or 2.5 ton HP with a 2.5 or 3 ton handler, but I didn't get specific system info after the load calc was done (there's no contract yet, just generalized proposal). So, the handler I noted is the one he talked about . . . I just assumed it fit the system.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Ft.Worth,Tx
    Posts
    4,584

    Thumbs down It's ALIVE!!!!!

    Trane with Rinnai air handler. Nope ; NOT a heat pump match .

    Stick with what manufactures have tested and works well together on there systems,when you FRANKENSTEIN a system you get what you built..

    IT"S ALIVE !!! But for how long?
    "Everyday above ground, is a good day".
    "But everyday that you have made a difference in someones life, may insure you stay above ground a little longer".<aircooled>

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    7,405
    Quote Originally Posted by formerfarmer View Post
    I'm already out of my depth . . . . The contractor verbally said 2 or 2.5 ton HP with a 2.5 or 3 ton handler, but I didn't get specific system info after the load calc was done (there's no contract yet, just generalized proposal). So, the handler I noted is the one he talked about . . . I just assumed it fit the system.

    Hi farmer,

    Where in Western WA?

    If you are still accepting proposals for your project please shoot me an email. I think I have some better ideas for you. I agree with the others that this mixed system is asking for trouble.

    my email: josh at accutemphc dot com

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