First of all, let me start by saying I'm new here and have been reading some very valuable information on the site so far. I really look forward to some informed replies, and thank you all in advance for taking the time to share your thoughts and opinions with me.
Alright, I live in a 30 year old house that has original units. We are going through the processes of getting these replaced here shortly. The house, as I said, is 30 years old. The windows aren't the best, and the insulation isn't the best. They aren't poor, but could stand some improvements in the near future, which we are planning. The house is tri-level with 1900 sq. feet on heated/cooled living space.
Currently, we have Rheem units in the house. The furnace is a 125,000 BTU unit, and the existing heat pump is a 2 1/2 ton unit. Again, it's a heat pump, but the heat pump function is either no longer working or not built into the current thermostat.
We have had some quotes done on replacement units. Two through Rheem contractors (I'm a brand loyalist, so when I see the previous units lasting 30 years, they get a few points in the beginning) and one through a Carrier contractor. The quotes came back in a wide range of prices. If you request, I can break them down further with more specific details, but for now, I'll touch on the general areas of the quotes we are considering with a few follow up questions.
We are pretty much considering two quotes. The first is from one of the Rheem contractors, and that is for a 90,000 BTU, 90+%, modulating furnace with a 13 SEER 2 1/2 ton heat pump. The second is for a 75,000 BTU, 90+% 2-stage furnace with a 13 SEER 2 1/2 ton heat pump.
I guess first of all, any thoughts or comments on those? Secondly, some specific questions:
1) Should I still look at a heat pump, or go straight A/C? We live in north central Illinois, where the summers can get to 95+ degrees for 3-4 weeks at a time, and the winters can get to -10 to 0 degrees for 6-8 weeks at a time.
2) Is a 2-stage furnace a little bit of a waste without getting a variable speed blower? And what other advantages does a variable speed blower bring?
3) If going with a heat pump that will use electricity up until temps drop to around 35 degrees, is the extra cost of the modulating or 2-stage furnaces a little bit wasted?
I'll start with that, and I'm sure more will follow, and I'll continue to check up on replies. Again, thanks for any and all information that you provide.