Am I making a reasonable decision?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
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    14

    Hmm Am I making a reasonable decision?

    We're living in west central Florida, and we've decided to finally put in a new heat pump system. I've talked to about 7 contractors and we thought finally seem to have settled on one that I feel the most comfortable with. Though I'm still second guessing myself, and I want to be sure!

    We have an 1800 square foot home, and we tend to run the a/c generally mainly during the peak months (May, June, July, August, Sept). And, for heat, when it gets super cold, usually January-February, during overnights and the week or so when it's cold during the day. Otherwise we like having the windows open, enjoying the fresh air, etc.

    One of the dealers really has suggested the following Trane models for us:
    Oh, and they've all stated (with the exception of two guys off a truck) the 3 ton after going through our house. We had our ducts checked out/sealed and extra insulation blown in two years ago.

    Model 4TWR4036 w/15 SEER
    4TEE3f39

    This is, from what I read a Trane XR model.

    I have two different Trane people giving me two different opinions on this. One thinks that this model is essentially the 'same model' as the XL without the top outside on the condenser unit and won't perform any better. The other thinks the the XL model is better. He basically thinks that this is only slightly better in quality than an Amana that he likes to sell that has a full 10 year labor warranty.

    The one trane guy (in AC for 30+ years) says that this is the most that I need.

    However, either way, we've pretty much planned to get the extended labor warranty. Both already have 10 year parts.

    And, another dealer I have spoken to has really reccommended to me a Carrier model. Though he came off to me as selling this model to "all" his customers because he says it's such a good deal (apparently they've got some good carrier rebates for the model right now).

    Carrier Infinity 17.2 SEER
    25HNA936
    FE4ANF003T

    The carrier guy really emphasized the two speed condenser unit. He said that would really make it more like a 20 SEER. However, he also seemed to emphasize that most people keep their units on ALL YEAR LONG!

    I read we're not allowed to talk price, but what I want to know is, for someone who uses the air like I do (granted it does get darn hot here you know--we've got two seasons down here, summer and jungle I like to say) how much $$$ would I save over lets say 10 years if I seriously consider this other higher end model?

    I almost died last month, our electricity was like $230 for August! Granted our old unit, though supposedly a 10 SEER, had been serviced multiple times by a home warranty company and was pretty jerry rigged (don't know how that's spelled)!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Biloxi, Ms.
    Posts
    175
    I've been in business for 45 years and if you told me you had six (6) other companies give you a price, I would tell you to buy from one of them.
    I'm trying not to be ugly, but you need to check around for a company that your friends and neighbors trust. Make a decision!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    The South
    Posts
    2,126
    christy

    I am a numbers guy.

    all of these systems qualify for the tax credit.
    I will assume that three ton is correct size.

    1382535 Active Systems XR14 WEATHERTRON TRANE 4TWR4036C1 4TEE3F40B1 37400 12.50 15.00 36200 8.50 23400

    3519776 Active Systems XR15 WEATHERTRON TRANE 4TWR5036E1 4TEE3F40B1 37400 12.70 15.00 36200 9.00 23400 (better heating eff)

    1384031 Active Systems XL15I WEATHERTRON TRANE 4TWX5036A1 4TEE3F40B1 37400 12.70 15.00 36200 9.00 23400

    1169031 Active Systems PERFORMANCE 15 PURON HP CARRIER AIR CONDITIONING 25HPA536H30 FV4BN(B,F)005 36000 13.00 15.50 36000 9.00 21800

    1077118 Active Systems INFINITY 19 PURON HP CARRIER AIR CONDITIONING 25HNA936A30 FE4AN(B,F)005+UI 36400 13.20 17.80 36000 9.20 21000

    if price is the driving factor, then either Trane XR15 or Carrier Performance 15 "H" mdl as configured. For Trane the HW VP IAQ stat and Carrier Thermidistat for "dehumidify on demand" feature.

    IMO
    Good Luck!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    14
    Quote Originally Posted by ball a/c View Post
    I've been in business for 45 years and if you told me you had six (6) other companies give you a price, I would tell you to buy from one of them.
    I'm trying not to be ugly, but you need to check around for a company that your friends and neighbors trust. Make a decision!
    A couple of those were verbal, over the phone. So, I've only actually had four people come to the house. All of them gave us different reccommendations for different models/brands!

    The two installers I liked best, one is rated A+ by the BBB and has been around here for 25+ years (I know people who get their service through them) and the other is A rated too, but have been encorporated for a couple of years only. The A+ one is closer to us, and appears to be better with service from what I've read.

    My family and friends all have had very good experiences with Trane. I know two people who have had problems with the coils on Carrier...but they claimed now the carrier coils have been 'fixed'.

    I just want to know if the experts here agree that going with the XR is the best option of the three for us based on how I use the a/c. My DH does not care about having all the 'bells and whistles' he just wants something that cools, has a good programmable thermostat for when it's jungle season over here.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    FL
    Posts
    22
    I'm a HO who had the xr14 Trane heat pump installed recently near Sarasota Fl and your making the right decision in my opinion. I'm completely satisfied with my HP after researching various brands and dealers. Our last electric bill was 138., all electric home, 1832 sq ft. If you would like more details why it is the best choice, my e-mail is in the profile.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    14

    I think I love you Tigerdunes!!!! Thanks for the independent opinion and listing the models to check into. I double checked the performance on the models I had planned on getting and checked the performance for the XR15 and WOW, that is much better and more bang for the buck. I think it suits our needs perfectly. The original efficiency stats were WRONG that I was given by the first person who suggested the XR14 model! Grrr...! My preferred installer located one!

    I've been a lurker for the last several days here, and been a little chicken to post. But, so glad I did because you pointed me in the right direction. Our family has had such good experiences with the tranes in the past, I hope it continues! Thanks so much!

    I'm going to have to send my MIL here, she's got a Rudd that came with her new home in her subdivision...it's only 4 years old and she's had to have service on it three times!



    Quote Originally Posted by tigerdunes View Post
    christy

    I am a numbers guy.

    all of these systems qualify for the tax credit.
    I will assume that three ton is correct size.

    IMO
    Good Luck!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    The Twilight Zone
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    2,964
    Quote Originally Posted by pchristy View Post
    We have an 1800 square foot home, and we tend to run the a/c generally mainly during the peak months (May, June, July, August, Sept). And, for heat, when it gets super cold, usually January-February, during overnights and the week or so when it's cold during the day. Otherwise we like having the windows open, enjoying the fresh air, etc............



    The carrier guy really emphasized the two speed condenser unit. He said that would really make it more like a 20 SEER. However, he also seemed to emphasize that most people keep their units on ALL YEAR LONG!

    I read we're not allowed to talk price, but what I want to know is, for someone who uses the air like I do (granted it does get darn hot here you know--we've got two seasons down here, summer and jungle I like to say) how much $$$ would I save over lets say 10 years if I seriously consider this other higher end model?

    I almost died last month, our electricity was like $230 for August! Granted our old unit, though supposedly a 10 SEER, had been serviced multiple times by a home warranty company and was pretty jerry rigged (don't know how that's spelled)!
    You should see a fairly significant reduction in energy consumption with a new 14 SEER over your old 10 SEER. I'll estimate a 30% reduction during the months that you use your a/c compared to the same months from last year, all other things being equal.

    A 2-stage condenser is good for humidity removal in climates with long summers. It has been said on this site many times that dual stage is more for comfort than energy savings. In cooling mode, a dual stage condenser will save operating $$ as long as it is running on first stage because it has a higher EER on first stage compared to second stage.

    Based on the description of your a/c usage, you may never recover the additional purchase $$ of a 2-stage system over a 1 stage in reduced operating costs over the life of the system.

    If you can afford a 2-stage, go for it. If not, a single stage should do just fine.

    Best to you.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    The Twilight Zone
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    Dual stage a/c

    Here is a recent discussion on the subject of dual stage a/c:

    http://hvac-talk.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=372792

  9. #9
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    Sep 2009
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    14
    Quote Originally Posted by gary_g View Post
    Based on the description of your a/c usage, you may never recover the additional purchase $$ of a 2-stage system over a 1 stage in reduced operating costs over the life of the system.

    If you can afford a 2-stage, go for it. If not, a single stage should do just fine.

    Best to you.
    Thank you--I took the time and did the calcs for the 2 stage systems I was quoted--and determined it would take me 28 years to make up the cost difference and break even!

    So, I guess I have my answer!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    14
    Well, now I have another question--hope it isn't stupid!

    I was reading up on their website--they talked about 'everclean'--what exactly is that? It looked like some kind of filtering system?

    Also, is the installer going to 'bring up' filters? What brand to use is another question that I have. Our old filter only fit 18 by 30 by 1. I see people talking about 4 and 5 inch filters...how would those fit?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by pchristy View Post
    Also, is the installer going to 'bring up' filters? What brand to use is another question that I have. Our old filter only fit 18 by 30 by 1. I see people talking about 4 and 5 inch filters...how would those fit?
    The 4 and 5 inch pleated filters require a separate media cabinet before the air handler (indoor unit). If you have the physical room for it, it is highly recommended that you get one. They provide good particulate removal with minimal pressure drop across the filter. They are typically changed once or twice per year compared to changing a 1" filter once per month.

  12. #12
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    Sep 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by gary_g View Post
    The 4 and 5 inch pleated filters require a separate media cabinet before the air handler (indoor unit). If you have the physical room for it, it is highly recommended that you get one. They provide good particulate removal with minimal pressure drop across the filter. They are typically changed once or twice per year compared to changing a 1" filter once per month.
    Thanks again for the information. I am guessing then there may not be enough room! He didn't mention it to me at the time. I guess I'll find out. I don't know if in my situation that long duration of a filter would work. I usually change the 1 inch filters more frequently because I have three cats who even with combing do shed a lot during the summer.

  13. #13
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    Jun 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by pchristy View Post
    Thanks again for the information. I am guessing then there may not be enough room! He didn't mention it to me at the time. I guess I'll find out. I don't know if in my situation that long duration of a filter would work. I usually change the 1 inch filters more frequently because I have three cats who even with combing do shed a lot during the summer.
    If you can't get a 4" media filter, I would use a MERV 8 pleated filter. No higher than MERV 8 because they start to get too restrictive. NaturalAire Standard MERV 8 pleated filters made by Flanders are about $8 for a 3-pack at Home Depot.

    Take care.

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