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  1. #1

    Any reason *not* to go with the high-efficiency models?

    Hi,

    Just wondering. Usually there are pros and cons to everything. So, when these great new ultra-high efficiency model furnaces are out, why would anyone want to get anything else?

    I'll guess there are trade-offs that make a certain lower efficiency units better choices for some circumstances. Can folks here chime in to help enlighten me?

    Thanks,

    Carl

    P.S., and how do I install one myself? (KIDDING! Humor value only. ;^) )

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl_b View Post
    ...
    when these great new ultra-high efficiency model furnaces are out, why would anyone want to get anything else?
    Cost! So do the cost analysis. But remember the higher end systems seem to get better rebates with maybe some add-ons you would do any way - better filter, UV lights (hmmmm, well I needed 2 for the rebate). Also, top end systems have much better warranties usually - now that can be worth something with $$$ ECM motors and all.

    Quote Originally Posted by carl_b View Post
    I'll guess there are trade-offs that make a certain lower efficiency units better choices for some circumstances. Can folks here chime in to help enlighten me?
    ...
    That all you getting? I'm talking about a HP system. Don't know where you are, but for me I couldn't justify a 95%+ furnace. Cost $$$$ more than a VS modulating 80% furnace, required a PVC pipe down my finished garage wall and, the biggie, required a hole through my brick outside wall with some PVC, ugly exhaust pipe on the side of the house.

  3. #3
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    When I first started posting here, I believed you would have to be an idiot not to have a 90+ gas furnace.
    The fact is, not everyone would benefit from that type of furnace.
    Warmer climates have short heating seasons, and the increased cost of a hi efficiency furnace may never be recovered.
    Then again, who knows what energy prices will do in the future.
    I remember gasoline at 32 cents a gallon.
    "Hey Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort." And he says, "there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice. - Carl Spackler

  4. #4
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    I did a retro w few years ago. Sold a 90% furnance and replaced all the ductwork. The existing ductowrk was 6" falling apart hills and dales. The customer came up to me the next spring and said his fuel cost went down - $40 a month (or was it 40% I don't remember. But the point here is he could have went for the most exspensive furnace (which he did not) and he would not have seen much of a savings w/o the ductwork. The reason for the retro was cracked heat exchanger then he told me about the duct work.

    Other high efficency jobs I have done were happy but not like him. The furnace is only as good as the whole system. Another one comes to mind where I recommended replacing ductwork also and there the savings they told me were a little, here the welds broken on the heat exchanger and rattled. They had uninsulated ductwork. He said he would do it. I was done there a year later still not done.
    Last edited by richvacr; 07-08-2009 at 08:20 PM. Reason: left something out

  5. #5
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    Richvacr, you post leads to what I have been saying for years. there is a product for every application and it is not always the most or least efficiency. It is the locale and the job. Back to your post. the furnace efficiency is only as good as the system. A great system and mid-efficiency is a better application than a high efficiency furnace and a lousy system. The system efficiency is more important than the furnace efficiency.
    I would do the following in the order listed.
    1. Tighten up the home first
    2. Fix, repair and update the duct system
    3. Install a new furnace

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by rbeck View Post
    ...
    I would do the following in the order listed.
    1. Tighten up the home first
    2. Fix, repair and update the duct system
    3. Install a new furnace
    Amen, Rich! As a HO with a fairly efficient house, I finally figured out that picking a new HVAC system was probably a comfort issue with a reasonable cost savings component.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by jerryd_2008 View Post

    That all you getting? I'm talking about a HP system. Don't know where you are, but for me I couldn't justify a 95%+ furnace. Cost $$$$ more than a VS modulating 80% furnace, required a PVC pipe down my finished garage wall and, the biggie, required a hole through my brick outside wall with some PVC, ugly exhaust pipe on the side of the house.
    Same here. I calculated a quicker payback with dual fuel that there was going to a 95% furnace. In my case hte cost increase was smaller as well.

    The higher SEER equipemnt is 2 stage, and more for comfort than savings in real world operation.

    THe higher end equipment is quiter and has longer warranties.

    The communicating equipment is pretty nice.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by carl_b View Post
    Hi,

    Just wondering. Usually there are pros and cons to everything. So, when these great new ultra-high efficiency model furnaces are out, why would anyone want to get anything else?
    Cost. Not everyone can afford these furnaces.

    And location. Florida homeowners don't need 95% AFUE furnaces.

    And your specific situation. As previously stated, one product does not fit all.

    In my case, I chose a 14 SEER heat pump a few years ago to replace a 21 year-old heat pump system. I would have never made up the additional purchase $$ with energy savings on a higher SEER system in the life of the equipment, even with utility cost increases taken into account.

    And "comfort" is a relative term.

    Am I comfortable now? Yes.
    Could I be more comfortable? Not really (well, if I have a glass of red wine I could).
    Could I be less comfortable? Of course.

    Take care.

  9. #9
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    go to www.hvacopcost.com and compare diiferent units and see which one fits better for you case.

  10. #10
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    Cost and if you don't care about a few decibles more noise. Even newer lower end equipment is still quieter than most 15+ y/o units.


    Gary brngs up a good point. It comes down to comfort. I think in some of my rants and prevous threads, I got too wrapped up is getting the perfect system, and forgot that ultimately, I was in fact comfortable, and while not perfect, the system was achieving it's primary goal.

    Now I probably could have accomplished the same with much less expensive equipment...and that more than anything else is probably what bothers me.


    Look at it this way. I drive a compact car. Would it be nice ot have a luxury car...sure... but I could buy and maintain 3 or 4 compact cars, especailly if used, for the cost of 1 luxury car. Both get me to my destination is a reasonable level of comfort.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by eloy View Post
    go to www.hvacopcost.com and compare diiferent units and see which one fits better for you case.
    I personally can never get these "calculators" to come even close to my actual costs. I recommend the Carrier web site (not necessarily Carrier) which gives a relative savings per $100 of bill for different SEER's and HSPF's.

    Quote Originally Posted by motoguy128 View Post
    ...
    Now I probably could have accomplished the same with much less expensive equipment...and that more than anything else is probably what bothers me.
    ...
    Motoguy, is that something that you can/should do anything about now. Maybe you can find some solace in my oft stated advise: "You makes your choices and you pays the price".

    Hope that issue doesn't come up every time you see a real cute lady.

  12. #12
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    In 1989 my dad bought a new Ford Taurus wagon. After a dozen recalls along with plenty of other issues, my parents traded it in on a '92 Camry. Problem solved. No recalls, car was simply better overall and I think cheaper too. It even towed a pop-up camper better with an engine 1/3 the size.

    Unfortunately you can't trade-in HVAC equipment like you can a car. You're stuck with it until the end of it's service life... or unless you move away.... so I suppose you CAN trade-in HVAC equipment. But that's a little like trading in a car because you don't like the tires and wheels that are on it.

    So do your research...and when you think you know what you want... stop... and research it some more to be sure. Then find a good contractor, and finally get it installed. I missed step #2 & #3.

  13. #13
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    When I started looking at options for my house I looked at everything from a simple 13 SEER AC (refrigerated cooling only) add-on to a full-blown 16 SEER HP system with new 95% gas furnace. It didn't take me long to see that adding a 13 or 14 SEER HP to my current 80% furnace was the most cost-effective solution by far. It was interesting to note that most of the contractors I talked to didn't see this right away or even propose this solution. I suspect that in most parts of the country (where both heating and cooling are needed), a 13 or 14 SEER HP dual fuel system with gas for second stage heat would give the most bang for the buck.

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