Need advice on VS furnace opportunity
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    31

    Need advice on VS furnace opportunity

    I recently had a Trane HVAC system installed in my home. The incorrect furnace was installed (supplier and dealer share blame) and since the dealer has to remove and replace the single stage/speed 95% furnace they have offered to upgrade me to a 3-stage 100k max BTU XV95 (I only see 2-stage on the Trane website) for an additional, not insignificant, charge. This offer came about because the force of the air from the registers, when combined with the new ducting, is significant and I expressed some comfort related concern to the salesman and installers. There is no additional labor charge because the switch must be made regardless. I’m tempted but I can’t decide if the VS is worth the up charge. Just how much nicer is that 3-stage VS furnace? I’d love to list the price for this equipment upgrade but realize pricing is against the forum rules.

    *Location: Southern CA
    *2,500 sq ft 2-story home with high vaulted 2-story ceilings in 1/3 of downstairs.
    *36x14 return downstairs and 25x14 return upstairs
    *5 ton single speed 13 SEER Trane condenser, sized more for cooling

    Really appreciate any and all feedback.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    New Orleans
    Posts
    1,012
    You do realize that you are not buYing a car? You can't really test drive a furnace before you install it. You can research web sites that will have customer critiques and satisfaction surveys. Both Trane and carrier are very dependable brands and I don't think their will be a very big difference in your overall comfort. But at least you and the contractor came to a agreement I will commend you on that.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    983
    Variable speed blower is definately worth the added investment. 100K BTU for Southern Cal. seems pretty extreme to me though. I have a 2600 sq. ft. tri-level home in MT and I'm going from a 100K to a 90K, modulating furnace this spring. It seems to me like that furnace is way oversized. Did anyone perform a load calc. to verify that's what size furnace you need?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    31
    Quote Originally Posted by keeplearnin View Post
    You do realize that you are not buYing a car? You can't really test drive a furnace before you install it.
    Yeah the 120k btu XR95 was installed in error. They said if I want to go VS they have no problem installing it since the incorrect furnace has to come out. This was their unsolicited offer. Needless to say I'm very happy with their service on the mix up.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    31
    Quote Originally Posted by big sky hvac View Post
    Variable speed blower is definately worth the added investment. 100K BTU for Southern Cal. seems pretty extreme to me though. I have a 2600 sq. ft. tri-level home in MT and I'm going from a 100K to a 90K, modulating furnace this spring. It seems to me like that furnace is way oversized. Did anyone perform a load calc. to verify that's what size furnace you need?
    The furnace is certainly more than I need but we needed the 5 ton blower and this is the lowest btu option (from what I'm told). I don't know what the 1st and 2nd stage btu ratings are but I'm thinking it would be more comfortable, quieter, and obviously more efficient than 100k single stage/speed all the time. I doubt the furnace would ever kick into the 3rd stage. Just looking for confirmation I suppose.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    southern california
    Posts
    535
    Hi neighbor , you are in my backyard. It is possible that first stage is setup for a hybrid system, first stage heat pump, second stage low fire gas, third stage high fire gas. it has been awhile since installing a Trane furnace so I am just speculating. You probably need the airflow for cooling ,so the larger furnace is a wise choice. Unfortunenately , the heating value is way out of proportion for our climate zone. The days of forced air heating are numbered with the Title 24 and netzero homes in the upcoming future. Pushing air thru a duct is very inefficient way of transferring energy from one location to another. The ecm blower motor is the best bet for energy reduction when using a forced air system. The home must have good ductwork design to take advantage of this technology.

  7. #7
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    Jan 2011
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    31
    Thanks very much for the responses. I've decided to go with the XV. Will the Honeywell Focus Pro TH6000 series t-stat work with the XV95 or will I need to upgrade that as well?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    southern california
    Posts
    535
    The thermostat you have will work just fine.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Montana
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    983
    Quote Originally Posted by rmrc View Post
    Thanks very much for the responses. I've decided to go with the XV. Will the Honeywell Focus Pro TH6000 series t-stat work with the XV95 or will I need to upgrade that as well?
    If you're going to go with a multistage furnace, you should go with a multistage thermostat. This will help you get the most efficiency out of your new furnace. You can get the Focus Pro 6000 in a multistage, but I would recommend a Honeywell Vision Pro IAQ thermostat. Very nice touchscreen thermostat, very easy to program and only requires 3 wires in the wall. You can also use it to control a heat pump or humidifier.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    31
    Thank you for the t-stat recs.

    Big Sky- wouldn't the IAQ be overkill for a multistage furnace and single stage AC with no other components? Wouldn't the 8320 or 8321 be more than enough for my simple hvac setup?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    983
    Quote Originally Posted by rmrc View Post
    Thank you for the t-stat recs.

    Big Sky- wouldn't the IAQ be overkill for a multistage furnace and single stage AC with no other components? Wouldn't the 8320 or 8321 be more than enough for my simple hvac setup?
    Putting a 100K furnace in a 2500sq. ft. southern cal. house is overkill. I know why you have to, because you need a 5 ton blower for your A/C. Yes, the 8320 will work, but it depends on how many wires you have in the wall. The Vision Pro IAQ offers more flexibility because it only requires 3 wires to control everything. With the 8320, you'll need a minimum of 5, if you want it hardwired you'll need 6, if you want the outdoor temp. sensor you'll need 8. They both do the same thing, only the Vision Pro IAQ offers more options. So, to answer your question, I would say no it's not overkill at all. I install a lot of IAQ stats for multi-stage furnaces with single stage A/C's.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    southern california
    Posts
    535
    Being that I live in southern california, homes here are not constructed the same as back east. R-13 for walls and R-30 for ceilings are the minimum. There are a million rules out here and Title 24 is extremely complicated. The average walls are constructed with R-19 and ceilings almost always have R-30. I would agree that the heating size is high but cooling is where one can get into sizing problems. The Goverment dictates everything if this is truly a new structure.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Posts
    31
    big sky and acwizard-- Thank you both VERY much for your comments. Since I have the Focus Pro 6000 I'm guessing I have only three wires but I'll have to take a look when I get home. And, Big Sky brings up a very good point about skimping on the t-stat. I also like the recirculate feature of the IAQ.

    My home was built in 1986 and is nowhere near as tight as the newer construction we had in WI a couple years back. My attic insulation is only the pink stuff that's 4"-6" thick at the most. By today's standards I'm sure it's horrible and at some point we will address it. So many things to do, not enough money to do them all at once. The 24 year old Carrier died so that came first.

    I know the furnace is overkill for socal and this is the reason I took the dealer up on the multi-stage with VS blower upgrade. I doubt it will ever fire in the high stage but the VS blower should provide a lot more comfort than single stage/speed furnace (what I've gleaned from reading this forum). Hopefully I understood correctly.

    It always sucks trying to learn something entirely new under the 12/31 time crunch for the tax credit. You guys have answered all my questions so thanks again for the help.

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