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Thread: I need help

  1. #1

    I need help

    DavidNJ sorry to put my question to you in this thread but can't figure out how to send you a question or in my case a bunch of questions. I find your comments are very detailed and you seem to know a lot about HVAC, therefore my questions:

    I live in Virginia Beach, VA in a 24 yr old 2,850 Sq Ft ranch. It is a three bedroom with a room over the garage. My Trane Executive Heat Pump compressor died last Sunday afternoon. It was original equipment, so I know I was on borrowed time, but now I have to make some decisions. My requirements are I want the best equipment within a reasonable price range. I might be losing my job in the near future with the closing of the military command I work for, so not sure if that means relocation or retirement, either way I need to fix the problem. I want the rebate and lower bills and I want a quiet unit. My old HP is a 3.5 ton but I had recent duct work under my crawl space six months ago because of moisture from condensation issues and was told then that I most likely needed a 4 ton unit. Since the duct work, my wife has complained that she doesn't like hearing the air go on, she has sensitive ears. The duct guy took out what he said was excessive duct routes under the house and made simpler the installation, so I think that is why it has more force. The other thing, the HP does a pretty good job in the summer for A/C but in the winters which are fairly mild here, it doesn't really keep the house very warm and we don't like to push the thermometer up too much because we don't like to see the green light of the emergency energy booster go into action. I do have natural gas at my home for my fire place logs but that is all I use it for. So, my big question is if this was your home what would you choose for a unit and what types (two stage compressor; multi speed fans; electric HP only; Gas/electric hybrid; geo thermo; SEERs 15+??, etc, etc). I did not replace my return duct in my attic which is the same square fiberboard (4 insulation rated) I replaced in my crawl space. My new duct work is 8 rated. I also had the duct guy put three filters on the return duct and cleaned out the attic return. I was quoted on a Carrier Comfort 15 at $5400 installed (taxes etc included) if I just replace without any more duct work. This is before the tax savings. I haven't heard too many things good about Carriers and was thinking about TRANE or RHEEM but only know what seems to be consumer reports’ rating them as better. Can you help me? Thanks Ron in VA.






    Quote Originally Posted by DavidNJ View Post
    You buy a Carrier, Trane, York, etc. Same manufacture makes the furnace, condenser, coils, air handlers, thermostat, etc. Maybe the filter, ERV, humidifier are different, but all OEM something.

    In a hot water system you have a boiler, chiller, fan coils, pumps, valves, hydraulic separators, manifolds, and storage tank all made by separate companies. And the controls can be a nightmare. Many of the companies are small, foreign, and/or the contractors that work with them are commercial.

    If the house is where electricity is cheap and gas/propane/oil are expensive, getting a heat pump system doubles the complexity and limits the choices, especially for chillers.

    However, our house is in an expensive electric, average gas environment. And a combination of outdoor reset on the modulating boiler, load reset on the modulating chiller, Taco's variable speed delta T circulators, and Honeywell's T7351 thermostat may pull this off. Many have restrictions that have to be designed for, such as maximum temps in a fan coil blower and minimum water flows in a boiler or chiller.

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ronald839 View Post
    DavidNJ sorry to put my question to you in this thread but can't figure out how to send you a question or in my case a bunch of questions. I find your comments are very detailed and you seem to know a lot about HVAC, therefore my questions:

    I live in Virginia Beach, VA

    Nice place, Virginia Beach. My daughter lives there. We'll be visiting over the Labor Day weekend.

    in a 24 yr old 2,850 Sq Ft ranch. It is a three bedroom with a room over the garage. My Trane Executive Heat Pump compressor died last Sunday afternoon.

    Bummer. This is going to be painful.

    It was original equipment, so I know I was on borrowed time, but now I have to make some decisions. My requirements are I want the best equipment within a reasonable price range. I might be losing my job in the near future with the closing of the military command I work for, so not sure if that means relocation or retirement, either way I need to fix the problem.

    Makes the decision much harder. Choosing a system to get you through the winter is one thing. Living with a sytem for the next 15-20 years is a whole different level of consideration.

    I want the rebate and lower bills and I want a quiet unit. My old HP is a 3.5 ton but I had recent duct work under my crawl space six months ago because of moisture from condensation issues and was told then that I most likely needed a 4 ton unit.

    You've learned a lesson right there, whether you recognize it or not. Sizing of equipment is done by science, not by guessing. A Manual 'J' load analysis is the only way to accurately size the equipment.

    Since the duct work, my wife has complained that she doesn't like hearing the air go on, she has sensitive ears. The duct guy took out what he said was excessive duct routes under the house and made simpler the installation, so I think that is why it has more force.

    If he didn't do the load analysis first, (Manual 'J'), then he guessed at the Manual 'D' duct design and screwed it up. The system should be as quiet as a library and obviously, it isn't. Duct sizing is predicated first on the Manual 'J' load calculation, then followed by the Manual 'D' duct design. Duct design, properly done, takes into account the needed airflow for the equipment size, the desired resistance to airflow (static pressure), the length of the longest run, the amount of supply and return air needed for each room based on Btu's and/or CFM (Cubic Feet Per Minute) and speed of the air or velocity in FPM (Feet Per Minute). If he didn't do Manual 'J', he couldn't possibly design a duct system for your home. If you want it done correctly, you wasted your money and will now have to pay to have things redone.

    The other thing, the HP does a pretty good job in the summer for A/C but in the winters which are fairly mild here, it doesn't really keep the house very warm and we don't like to push the thermometer up too much because we don't like to see the green light of the emergency energy booster go into action.

    The capacity in Btu's of a heat pump begin to diminish below 47F outdoor temperature. Once the Btu capacity falls below that needed to keep the house temperature at set-point, you must have some auxilliary heat to supply the needed Btu's. Or you could have a much larger heat pump sized for heating or multiple heat pumps with a total capacity for heating. Generally the heat pump is sized for cooling and auxilliary heat of some source is used to keep the place warm.

    I do have natural gas at my home for my fire place logs but that is all I use it for. So, my big question is if this was your home what would you choose for a unit and what types (two stage compressor; multi speed fans; electric HP only; Gas/electric hybrid; geo thermo; SEERs 15+??, etc, etc).

    It all depends on how much you're prepared to pay and how long you intend to stay in the home. If you're gone in a year, I'd recommend a hybrid heat 1-stage HP with 1-stage, highe efficiency gas furnace. That gets you the 25c Tax Credit (expires December 31, 2010 so get right on it) and gets the heat on without the need for electric resistance heat $$$$$. If you're going to be in the home for more than 5-years, I'd highly recommend a multi-stage HP with multi-stage gas furnace. The 25c Tax Credit is the same, the purchase price is higher but the comfort level is considerably higher as well. Add in some nice IAQ products and you'll have a very nice system, PROVIDED it's properly sized (Manual 'J' required, Manual 'D' required).

    I did not replace my return duct in my attic which is the same square fiberboard (4 insulation rated) I replaced in my crawl space. My new duct work is 8 rated. I also had the duct guy put three filters on the return duct and cleaned out the attic return. I was quoted on a Carrier Comfort 15 at $5400 installed (taxes etc included) if I just replace without any more duct work. This is before the tax savings. I haven't heard too many things good about Carriers and was thinking about TRANE or RHEEM but only know what seems to be consumer reports’ rating them as better. Can you help me? Thanks Ron in VA.
    Again and again, Manual 'J' required, Manual 'D' required. Do NOT accept any quote that doesn't incude those two design minimums. Doesn't matter who the manufacturer of the equiment is, if they don't put the science into the job, you're gambling with your money because they're guessing. You already gambled and lost once. The duct repairs made your system worse with the installers "infinite wisdom and years of experience". Your live-in reporter has already informed you of that mistake. Don't make the same mistake again. Find the right contractor and you'll be removing the gambling aspects. You'll also pay more for the system. You won't get a great system, installed by a great company and do it on a beer budget. This is going to cost if done properly. But how much did you just gamble and lose, effectively throwing it into the ocean? If you want to do that, send it to me. I accept a donations.

    Geo-thermal is an excellent solution, qualifies for a 30% Federal Tax Credit for the entire job cost and can heat your home down to the coldest temperatures with little or no auxilliary heat. But it's only recommended currently for homes where the purchaser will be the occupant for 10-years or more. So if that fits into the picture, investigate it but again, Man-J, Man-D. My standard recommendation white papers are attached. Good luck, happy shopping and I hope you've learned your lesson about gambling in this industry. It's the one where the 'house', yours, always loses!! Share the attachments with your wife so she can help you manage the purchase. Seems like she's got more than a slight interest in the outcome and you wouldn't want to make ANOTHER bad decision now, would you?
    Attached Files Attached Files
    If YOU want change, YOU have to first change.

    If you are waiting for the 'other guy' to change first, just remember, you're the 'other guy's' other guy. To continue to expect real change when you keep acting the same way as always, is folly. Won't happen. Real change will only happen when a majority of the people change the way they vote!

  4. #4
    Skippedover thanks a bunch for your inputs. I had thought that I had the ducts installed by a professional and he has a duct company and works with other HVAC contractors, so will contact him to get the Man-J and Man-D as I know he did explain how he did the caculations. I think one issue might be the boots that he had to install. He did tell me that he couldn't find the same boots as my old ones and had to modify and I noticed after the job that the boots near the registers seem smaller. So, maybe my problem might be in the boots. What do you think and can that be fixed without redoing all the ducts if they were sized correctly?

    Thanks

    Ron

  5. #5
    Checked with duct contractor and you were right, he didn't do a full up Man-J/D but did do some numbers on flow rates and room registers. He put in 13 six inch lines to 2x14 inch registers and 6 four inch lines to 2x14 inch registers. Don't know how this works out to the 3.5 ton unit I have as original. I have it turned off now because the compressor is shot. I also had one contractor talk about an Envision Water Furnace (GEO) unit that I am waiting for the official quote but might be about $ which with a 30% Govt rebate, make it around $ and seems that that is close to the Gas/Elect HP hybrid. Seems that a elect only HP at the 15/16 SEER will run about $. So for the expense, I think my pay back for a Geo right now might be a good investment even if I unfortunately have to move as it will show lower utility bills for me or a new owner. Thanks


    Quote Originally Posted by skippedover View Post
    Again and again, Manual 'J' required, Manual 'D' required. Do NOT accept any quote that doesn't incude those two design minimums. Doesn't matter who the manufacturer of the equiment is, if they don't put the science into the job, you're gambling with your money because they're guessing. You already gambled and lost once. The duct repairs made your system worse with the installers "infinite wisdom and years of experience". Your live-in reporter has already informed you of that mistake. Don't make the same mistake again. Find the right contractor and you'll be removing the gambling aspects. You'll also pay more for the system. You won't get a great system, installed by a great company and do it on a beer budget. This is going to cost if done properly. But how much did you just gamble and lose, effectively throwing it into the ocean? If you want to do that, send it to me. I accept a donations.

    Geo-thermal is an excellent solution, qualifies for a 30% Federal Tax Credit for the entire job cost and can heat your home down to the coldest temperatures with little or no auxilliary heat. But it's only recommended currently for homes where the purchaser will be the occupant for 10-years or more. So if that fits into the picture, investigate it but again, Man-J, Man-D. My standard recommendation white papers are attached. Good luck, happy shopping and I hope you've learned your lesson about gambling in this industry. It's the one where the 'house', yours, always loses!! Share the attachments with your wife so she can help you manage the purchase. Seems like she's got more than a slight interest in the outcome and you wouldn't want to make ANOTHER bad decision now, would you?
    Last edited by beenthere; 08-29-2010 at 08:51 PM. Reason: prise

  6. #6
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    Hmmm. That seems a tad low for a full geo system with earth coupling. Make sure everything is included and make sure he's certified (IGSHPA) and has some experience under his belt. Again, he should do a full Man 'J' and Man 'D'. The other part, about the boots and registers; that's Manual 'T' information. We most often emphasize 'J' because it's a rare company that would follow 'J' and ignore all the rest. But 'D' gets mentioned a lot for situations like yours. Good luck.
    If YOU want change, YOU have to first change.

    If you are waiting for the 'other guy' to change first, just remember, you're the 'other guy's' other guy. To continue to expect real change when you keep acting the same way as always, is folly. Won't happen. Real change will only happen when a majority of the people change the way they vote!

  7. #7

    Thanks again for your help

    I am weeding this down some more and want to know your comments on Florida Heat Pump (FHP Geo systems) and Water Furnace (Envision). Cost is more as you mentioned and it looks like 16.8 for FHP and 22 for Envision. From the reviews online it seems that Envision is a better unit but that is a huge price jump. Also thinking of a TRANE XL20i. Don't know if it is worth the gas option for the furnace or not on this unit but would like your opinion. The comfort is a point but cost for the use of the new HP's seem to be better now for heating than the past. Thanks again for your help, it has been invaluable.

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