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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    11

    Carrier infinity 96 (MVB) or ICS?

    I am getting a new infinity furnace for use in combination with a heat pump. I have a choice to upgrade to the ICS for some extra money. Given the number of duct runs on my main and upper floor, the ducts will match the CFM of the furnace uncomfortably closely (e.g. there will be a chance for too high static pressure). I plan to run the blower constantly in combination with some kind of media air filter (hepa with fan, or merv 11 or 13) and an HRV or ERV. I have allergies and hope that the circulating air will help. My question is: Will the ICS furnace offer any advantages other than precise temp control (a feature that is lower on my priority list than, say, saving the amount it would cost to upgrade to the ICS)? Does the ICS offer any other features? Will it cost more in the future to maintain if something breaks?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    The South
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    2,213
    daytona

    what is your location?

    if you are definitely going dual fuel, I see nothing wrong with the Infinity 96-two stg. If not dual fuel, then yes the Infinity ICS.

    what's the price difference between the 96 and ICS? should be very small and inconsequential.

    either way, you will need the Infinity controller.

    IMO

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Central New Jersey
    Posts
    253
    The Infinity ICS (MVC) has a high, medium, and low stages. The MVB only has high and low stages. The cost to upgrade is probably less than 5% of your total cost. The three stage valve may be more expensive to replace than the two stage valve. You will covered by a parts warranty for the first 10 years, so it is not a big factor in the decision.

    The three stages a more comfortable. The Inifinity controller will use the medium stage depending on the indoor and outdoor temperatures.

    If you think you are going to have static pressure problems, than I think you need to avoid any type of restrictive filter. A Merv 11 or 13 filter may not work. You should get a 4 inch media filter if you plan to run your fan 24/7.

    Which heat pump are you going to pair with the Infinity furnace?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    1,127
    There are two considerations here (well three if you include the price difference, but that is not a very big factor - agree with tigerdunes). The 96 is up to several points more efficient in the lower stages, but the ICS wins on range 40 - 100 percent of capacity, versus 65 - 100 percent of capacity. Heat pump or not, running at a lower capacity is likely to keep your home more comfortable. In addition, since it will be running at a lower CFM than the 96 is capable of a good bit of the time, it will definitely be quieter if your ducts are marginal.

    Maintenance costs are unlikely to be any different between the two models.

    So I would say that the three stage is better for your needs (speaking as someone who just bought the 96 and am happy).

    If you can wait until later this year (probably fall), Carrier is making major updates to their high end stuff. Both furnaces and heat pumps and both are worth waiting for.

    York is also updating their high end furnace with a communicating stat and the result may be clearly better than current ICS. Worth looking at, more efficient AFUE wise than either of the Carriers you are considering, and better range 35 - 100 percent and 100 effective stages rather than three.

    The new Carrier line may hopscotch the York furnace, and certainly will with the inverter based heat pump.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    11
    does the fact that it can run at 40, 60, and 100% affect the speed of the fan? I thought both the 96 and the ICS had variable (e.g. more than 4) speed blowers?

    With regard to the heat pump, I am considering 25HPA536, 25HPA6, or HNA9. My house can be quite humid, so I'm looking at whichever will provide the best dehumidification (though if I can avoid the 19 seer unit, I'd like to - it's pretty costly).

    The install is a bit of an uncommon one. The furnace room is in the basement, and the total sq ft of the house is just over 4k. However, 1500 of that is in the basement, which will not be connected to the duct work. (a requirement to make it fireproof so it can be a legal suite). Instead, I plan to have electric heat in the basement.

    Will the humidity still be manageable even though the downstairs is not part of the duct system?

    Also, I live in Vancouver, BC, Canada. We get a lot of rain. Is an HRV or an ERV better? (with an eye to keeping humidity down). I want to connect the HRV/ERV to the return of the furnace.

    Thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    1,127
    Quote Originally Posted by daytona89 View Post
    does the fact that it can run at 40, 60, and 100% affect the speed of the fan? I thought both the 96 and the ICS had variable (e.g. more than 4) speed blowers?
    It does, and they do. Furnace efficiency is predicated on the proper amount of airflow for the BTUs burned. Thus each stage will have an optimal CFM (cubic feet per minute) or fan speed for each stage. I mentioned the added range of the ICS (40% versus 65% for the ICS) not only for the added comfort of the longer heat runs possible, but also because that lower stage has a lower speed.

    Here's an example based on a 60K BTU size. The 96 on low stage will 500 CFM. The ICS on low stage will run at 410 CFM. That almost 20 percent reduction can be a pretty big difference in duct noise depending on your ducts. Of course, it will need to run longer, but that is an advantage. No difference in actual energy usage (if the AFUE is the same).

  7. #7
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    Mar 2006
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    The South
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    for those Infinity pros on this forum, doesn't the HP step on and really eliminate the first stage on the Carrier Infinity ICS furnace?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    If you post the proposed model numbers, the pros may be able to help figure that out. You could dig up the specs and do it yourself even. But I think it is unlikely that low stage on the ICS would be unnecessary. Depending on your home and furnace installed, low stage could carry you down to perhaps 5 degrees. Standard HPs don't have much capacity down there.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    11
    I posted the numbers for the heat pumps offered. Basically it comes down to the 16 seer 1 stage, the 16 seer 2 stage, and the 19 seer unit. Is there any benefit with going to the 2 stage unit? It is marginally cheaper somehow than the 1 stage unit.

    So the blower motor on this hypothetical 60k btu unit can't be slowed down past 500 CFM (even if it detects high static pressure)?

    How will the following filters affect the furnace's performance:
    Honeywell F500; Aprilaire 22xx; Lennox Merv 16?

    Also, which is best for my area, a heat recovery ventilator, or an energy recovery ventilator? My goal is to make the house feel less stale, and to hopefully reduce humidity (it seems to be overly humid winter and summer. Today for example, it was 49% RH @ 17 deg. Celsius when I left for work.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
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    The efficiency of your HP doesn't say anything about how big it is, nor how big your furnace is. You need to either post the model numbers or the size.

    You don't really want to slow the fan below the optimal requirements for heat exchange. Otherwise you will decrease energy efficiency, and may damage your heat exchanger. Some furnaces do have a small range of adjustment possible.

    If you are talking about circulating constantly speeds, the Infinty is at a disadvantage here over say the Lennox SLP or the York modulating furnace. The circulating mode cannot be set below the low stage CFM, or 500/420 CFM depending on which Infinity 60K we are talking about. OK for most people though, I admit I am not so happy with that lack of adjustability.

    The way variable speed motors (ECM) are designed, they hold the required CFMs no matter the static. If you have high static conditions, they can actually use more energy than a standard PSC motor. If the pressure is too high, you could burn them out, however most will shut down before that point. Certainly the Infinity does. By the way, the Infinity calculates current static for you and you can display this. It also uses a change in static number to tell you exactly when your filter needs replacing (if you are using the standard media filter). Pretty cool.

    What is your interest in other filters? Do you have a health issue? Your furnace won't last longer with electronic or more restrictive filters, in fact you may shorten its lifespan.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Central New Jersey
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    253
    Quote Originally Posted by tigerdunes View Post
    for those Infinity pros on this forum, doesn't the HP step on and really eliminate the first stage on the Carrier Infinity ICS furnace?
    I was hoping one of the Pros would answer this question. I would like to contribute how I think it works with the Infinity controller. Please don't flame me if I get it wrong. I don't own a dual fuel system.

    From what I have read, you can set a heat pump and furnace lock out with the Infinity controller. Let's say you choose 40 degrees for the furnance lock out, and 35 degrees for heat pump lock out. In the band between 35 and 40 degrees, the heat pump will fire up in its first if it exists second stage to satisfy the call for heat. If the heat pump cannot satisfy the demand (I think it may be time based), then the Infinity furnace will fire up in the low stage. The documentation for the Infinity controller states the furnance will operate in the low stage for a minimum of 10 minutes (time can be programmed in the menu) before moving to a higher stage. A temperature demand of 5 degrees or more forces the furnace to go to the high stage immediately.

    The lock outs can also be set to the same temperature. In this case the heat pump and furnace should never respond to the same request for heat. So I think the furnace will always start in the low stage when the heat pump is locked out, except in the cases where the demand is greater than 5 degrees.

    So I don't believe the low stage of an Infinity furnace will be stepped on by the heat pump when using the Infinity controller. If it did, then there would no reason to ever have an Infinity furnace as part of a dual fuel system.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Derwood, Md
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    142
    Quote Originally Posted by daytona89 View Post
    I posted the numbers for the heat pumps offered. Basically it comes down to the 16 seer 1 stage, the 16 seer 2 stage, and the 19 seer unit. Is there any benefit with going to the 2 stage unit? It is marginally cheaper somehow than the 1 stage unit.

    So the blower motor on this hypothetical 60k btu unit can't be slowed down past 500 CFM (even if it detects high static pressure)?

    How will the following filters affect the furnace's performance:
    Honeywell F500; Aprilaire 22xx; Lennox Merv 16?

    Also, which is best for my area, a heat recovery ventilator, or an energy recovery ventilator? My goal is to make the house feel less stale, and to hopefully reduce humidity (it seems to be overly humid winter and summer. Today for example, it was 49% RH @ 17 deg. Celsius when I left for work.
    I have the AprilAire 2400 series and it has barely a performance effect on the Infinity.
    I have two systems one with a two stage AC and one with a one stage AC and prefer the two stage AC because it run at a lower speed on the first stage and it does a better job with humidity control. You should be fine with the 2-stage 16 in your climate.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Cedar Grove, Wi-Sheboygan
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    I've got the Infinity ICS 60K with the Infinity Controller and for the last week we've been in the single digits and the last couple days been in the negatives li,e this morning we were -8*. I generally keep my stat set at 69* and run my blower 24/7 in low speed to keep the air moving thru out the house. Even with the low OD temps the furnace has been running low fire and am quite comfortable and both the upstairs & downstairs are within 2* temperature wise so it's very comfortable no matter where you maybe in the home. Since the furnace has been installed, my bills for the winter have hovered around the $160-$185 mark for the cold portion of winter, and during the shoulder seasons I'm lucky to break a $100 a month.

    the filter rack I have a 4" merv 11/12 and there's no problems to speak of. If your going straight AC I'd get the 2 stage Performance 16 paired with the ICS and you'd be golden equipment wise and should be very comfortable all season long no matter the OD Temps. I never open my doors or windows no matter the weather and let my equipment keep my indoor environment comfortable all year long, besides that what's the point to open the doors and windows only to have the equipment get the ID temps to the settings making your equipment work harder than necessary. I've been running this Infinity for about 5 yrs now and no problems whatsoever, though I make sure my filters are clean when necessary and check everything out on a regu,ar basis and have yet to encounter any problems.

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