I am a HO in Lancaster, PA with the need for some of the sage advice of this forum. My current system is a 4 ton Carrier HP (38YH048-3) and a Carrier AH (40QBS049-3). The back-up heat is from an Opus water storage system (to reduce electicity costs), and the air distribution is in two zones, controlled by an Enertrol system. The house is approximately 3,800 sf.
The system was installed new when we built the house in 1990, and has provided a very satisfactory level of temperature and humidity control.
Our one problem with carrier was with a "defective" inside coil that sprung a leak about 39 months after installation (36 month warranty), and we had a lot of trouble getting Carrier to acknowledge that the construction of the coil was at fault. I swore then that I would not buy another Carrier product. (I've mellowed a bit on that point.)
Our service technicial (original installer) tells me that the accumulator is leaking, and that with the age of the system it would not be wise to repair the leaking accumulator. So, we are now in the process of looking at alternatives for replacement of both the inside and outside units of this split system.
Several points have surfaced that seem clear to me:
1. We can change over to a system that uses 410A rather than R22 coolant.
2. We can increase the SEER rating of our system significantly from about 7-8 to 13-16.
3. Adding a variable speed fan in the air handler will improve efficiency in cooling and in dehumidification.
Several other points are less clear:
1. Will a multiple speed or multiple stage compressor add to the efficiency of the unit, when used with the two-zone Enertrol air distribution system?
2. Is there any value at all in a UV germicidal lamp in the air handler?
3. Is a simple replacement of the outside unit with a similar size and efficiency Carrier unit a realistic alternative, or am I just asking for more trouble?
Sorry about the length of this post, but I'm trying to give all the information that might be needed to provide guidance on this decision. Thanks for any help you can give.
I would get a second opinion on the cost of the repair. If everything else is in good working order, I don't see why he suggested a complete new system.
I know that the new system is going to be more efficient. But, you need both figures to be able to make an informed decision. (repair VS. replacement)
14 year old 38YH
I would not replace a relatively reliable system or outdoor unit just because of a leaking accumulator. Leaking accumulators are very common, especially with the 38YH series; however, you should be able to have a new accumulator installed for a few hundred dollars. I was with Carrier for 25 years & accumulators were one of best selling parts from the parts department. Carrier has corrected its problems with the accumulators now ; however, an accumulator does sweat much of the time & can still rust through & cause a leak after a awhile. The only manufacture that I know of that has not had accumulator problems is Trane. The accumulator on the Trane Climatuff compressor is located inside the compressor shell & not subject to the elements.
At 14 years old,needing a accumulator,is time to think about replacing.The decision is Yours!
1.$X to repair now
2.What's the rest of the system look like,indoor and outdoor unit,inside and out.
3. What is the repair cost as a % of the new system?
4.What are the energy savings ,per year of the new system?
5.Does the new system come with a 5 or 10 years warranty?And how much might you spend on repairs in the next few years?
How will you feel if you spend $X now,and next year it needs a comprssor or coil,for 2.5 times todays repair?What % it that of a new system?
I don't know your zoning system,but seriously doubt that it can take full advantage of the ,variable speed air handler and two stage compressor.I'd look at getting the Infinity Zoning System,with the two stage compressor,and variable speed indoor unit.
I can give you personal testimony as someone who installed a system that you are looking at.
We installed a Carrier complete top of the line Infinity including an infinity furnace (58 CVA) and w/ 410A refrigerant( 2-speed condenser (38TDB), carrier electronic air cleaner, and humidifier and ultraviolet lamp. I cannot say enough positive about the system.
This Carrier top of the line system is very competitively priced with the high end equipment with Lennox, Trane and American Standard. The design of the Carrier system is unmatched by any manufacturer. There is a rebate right now too.
The selling and attractive point of this system is three fold when comparing it to other systems.
1. Humidity control is superb, unsurpassed by anything else in the residential market. While the Infinity system may seem like a system with unnecessary frills, it isn't. Because when you control the humidity, you reduce your costs and increase your comfort. How many times have you heard "It's not the heat, it's the humidity"? No other system lets you control the humidity like this system does.
2. This system is whisper quiet, unobtrusive and it cools and heats very evenly because of the 2 stages. You cannot hear it running hardly at all. The system is designed to run in low speed (or low stage) as much as possible. This multiple staging eliminates blasts of hot and cold air, reduces temperature differences between rooms and it does so many other things that you will just have to experience for yourself. In heating, this means even, quiet warmth. In the cooling mode it means better humidity control. Since the system runs almost continuously in the A/C mode, it dehumidifies better than a single stage system. This enables you to set your thermostat slightly warmer in the summer. With a humidifier installed you can set your thermostat cooler in the winter too--reducing your costs and increasing your comfort.
3. The integration of various components is beautifully coordinated with the Infinity Control--humidity, air flow, staging, filtration, ventilation (if installed) are controlled with this one unit. The control is simple, intuitive and very clear. This control even tells you when the filter needs to be changed. What other system can do that? Nada.
We have had this system for two years and it performs FLAWLESSLY.
I don't know whether one big system with zoning dampers or two systems would be right for you. See if you can find a Carrier "peace of mind dealer". He can tell you. Zoning with dampers can be complicated so you really need someone that knows what they are doing. Make sure of this no matter who you go with to install it--very important.
There seems to be a trend in the residential market toward zoning instead of multiple systems with larger homes. Most contractors that I talked to did not want to fool with it for a residential system.
Finally, you should seriously consider the EAC and UV lamp. When you clean the filter cells on your EAC for the first time and see the stuff it catches, you will wonder why you didn't have one before. The uv lamp kills bacteria, mold, viruses on your cooling coil. Where do bacteria, viruses and mold grow? Where it is dark and moist right? You should see the black funk that grows on cooling coils that is circulated by the blower. It literally cakes onto your coil. Millions of mold particles, bacteria, etc. NASTY and unhealthy. Since we have installed the EAC and uv lamp, my wife and I have not been sick even ONCE with bronchitis, colds or flu in over 2 years. What more can I say? Consumer reports tested the Carrier EAC in 2002 and it was rated among the best. Install one and you will know why. I would advise against a media filter. I think that they are too restrictive to the air flow. Although the carrier media filters are the least restrictive ones made. Decide for yourself.
Don't take my word for it on this system. Check out these two sites. One tells about the uv lamp. The other is about furnaces and air conditioners. Carrier is tops. I did over a year of research before buying. We couldn't have done any better.
If money were no object, we would have gone with the Carrier geothermal system. It will heat your water and heat and cool your whole house with SEER ratings close to 23. The Carrier geothermal system seems tops too compared to others.
If you want to save money on hot water, consider installing an Aquastar 240FX instantaneous water heater. We have one and love it.
Questions? email me
Nice job describing the system!Of course it's my favorite one,love the Infinities!
As far as zoning ,the new Infinity Zoning System,has it all,head and shoulders above others, like you described the Infinty without zoning compared to others.
Can we use your post in our advertising??
Sure you can use it!
It is all true. Every word of it.
United Technologies makes fabulous products. Carrier Infinity is no exception.
I just wish I could decide if I should add a heat recovery unit to increase the SEER rating, lower the head pressure, reduce the load on the compressor and get free hot water 9 months a year (New Orleans). What do you think?
We love our system.
Consumersearch.com is an unbiased objective source of information. They "review the reviewers". They highly recommend it also. Your customers don't need to take my word for it, they can confirm it on this site too.
I didn't realize that, in my zeal to tell you about the Infinity system, that you have a heat pump. I installed a gas furnace.
Nonetheless, the technology is quite similar. In fact, the Infinity heat pump (outdoor unit) is identical to what I have with some tweaks on the electronics and a reversing valve. The difference for you would be a fan coil instead of furnace. It seems to me that you could use your back up system with dampers as you have now. A licensed hvac contractor with a good company can tell you. Your damper and duct system presently could be replaced with the Infinity contol zoning too. This is apt to be quite expensive, however.
You could go with the "if it's not broken, don't fix it" school of thought too. You could replace an apple with an apple and change out your heat pump and fan coil with a similar Carrier one stage heat pump and variable speed fan coil. You could still get up to 12-14 SEER with this setup. You wouldn't have quite the moisture removal though.
Have you looked into a geothermal system? Those are really nifty. You wouldn't need backup anything with this system except in very rare circumstances. These systems are the high end of the high end. They have a lifespan of 25 years or more. Brace yourself though, they aren't cheap. You can get a desuperheater as an option on these systems that will heat your water too. I have seen SEER ratings up to a whopping 27 on these systems. Trane makes them, Carrier does too. The Carrier ones seem to be better engineered with higher SEER ratings.
The question is, what is the status of your back up and zoning now? Have you replaced the compressor yet? Do any of these components I mentioned need to be replaced? 14 years old--? What are your operating costs now? The answer to these questions (and your budget) will govern the correct choice for you.
Your options seem to be:
1. Keep what you have, change out the accumulator.
2. Change out the heat pump and fan coil (variable speed on one or both) and leave the zoning alone.
3. Change out the heat pump, fan coil and zoning with variable speed equipment or the dinosaur single speed equipment.
4. Get a geothermal system with zoning.
You can get bids on all and decide for yourself what is best from a cost/benefit analysis.