I live in Houston, and am looking to replace both upstairs and downstairs systems in my 16yr old house. I tend to be very humidity-sensitive... 50% RH at 73F the other night, and I was still sweating in bed, under very light covers and a ceiling fan on high.
I'm in the process of getting proposals from several local contractors who I think are pretty knowledgeable (and we ARE doing a Manual J), but I'm getting different opinions about humidity control.
One school of thought seems to be to go for top-of-the-line AC equipment (say Trane XL20i & XC80, or Carrier Infinity) to get maximum humidity control from the HVAC. The other approach is to go with single-stage cooling + VS furnace (Trane XL15i & XV80) plus a whole-house dehumidifier such as the Ultra-Aire XT150H or equivalent Honeywell DH150.
The cost to me is virtually the same either way (dehumidifier option maybe 5% more expensive). Going in, I was really expecting to go the whole-house dehumidifier route, but one of the contractors I'm talking with is pretty insistent that I'll be happy with the XL20i, and argues that it'll be cheaper to operate, more reliable in the long run (less stuff to break down), and quieter.
So what do you guys think?? If the cost is ~equal, go for maximum humidity control via the HVAC system, or go with the VS furnace + whole house dehu?
Should I be worried about noise with an attic-installed XT150H?