Furnace and AC for Seattle?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    2

    Question

    I want to install an AC unit and also would like to change out the old gas furnace for a newer less noisy one. I'm near Seattle (record temps 0 and 100) and the electric rate is 7 cents or so. Funace is in a closet in the center of the house - 2000 sq ft - in the family room. I'm leaning towards one contractor who suggests a 3 ton Trane XR11 AC and a Trane 80k 80% dual stage variable speed furnace. Also I have breathing problems so a new electronic air cleaner (old one is a couple decades old) will be installed with a Honeywell 8000 thermostat so the furnace fan will run the air cleaner periodically through out the day. Does this sound ok. He says a 90% won't pay back soon enough or a higher SEER for that matter. R22 or the new stuff. I'd like to keep the cost down somewhat as I need a hand full of cash to re-insulate the ducts as they are an inch of loosely attached wrap - some of it gone - and no sealing at the joints. Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    WYO
    Posts
    2,019
    Go with a 90% furnace,10 SEER ac for Seattle.How often do you run your AC there?
    never say never

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    146
    I'm also in the Seattle area. Given our climate, I'd strongly suggest you consider getting a heat pump instead of the gas furnace/AC combo. I had a 5 year old 80% gas furnace that I replaced with a 13.5 SEER, 8.6 HSPF heat pump and my monthly heating bills dropped from over $200/month to less than $100/month. That's for keeping a 2800 sqft house at 73F all winter long. I also installed an Aprilaire 5000 electronic air cleaner. This is a combination EAC and media air cleaner. The manufacturer claims it to be the best and Consumer Reports agrees. The other nice thing about it is you only have to replace the media filter once a year (the filter surface area is over 10,000 sq inches). I agree with your contractor about SEER rating. I barely reached $100 in electric usage for AC for the entire summer last year so a high SEER AC unit won't save you much money. But if you get a heat pump, a unit with a higher HSPF rating might be worth paying for - though higher HSPF and higher SEER ratings tend to go hand in hand.

    [Edited by go_redskins on 05-07-2005 at 03:45 AM]

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    2
    "Go_Redskins" - well, I asked my contractor why not a Heat Pump. He said why not? Guess my gasp at the price of AC was loud enough that he thought a HP was out of the question. Since I plan to live here for a decade or more it would definitely pay for itself. I'm still going for the 80% dual stage, variable speed gas furnace I think. By bumping up the SEER/HSPF on the HP it makes more sense than the 90% furnace since it won't run much especially on high? The contractor just bought a brand new house not far from me and tore out the new furnace that came with it and put in a 80% dual, variable and a Trane XL16 heat pump. I think I'll do the same.

    "Contractor" - I use two window ACs in the summer for 2 or 3 weeks steady each year. Plus many days cooling down the house just in the evening. I have an early getup - 3:45am - and I need to cool the family room and the master bedroom early before the house cools off naturally in the evening. I go to bed at 8:30pm or so and I'm not very heat tolerant.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    48

    wow....

    red, the number you shown surpised me.

    So how come I don't see more Heat Pump in the Seattle area? Come to think of it, Seattle does have the prefect temperture for a Heat Pump... PM me the name of your contractor, if you don't mind.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    28
    I live in Portland, OR. Last year I wanted to install an AC in my 1875 sq. ft. home. The contractor suggested a heat pump that they would add to my existing furnace. They installed a Trane 14xli. I have never regretted that decision. My heating bills last year were significantly lower as a result. It is nice to have the gas back up because you can switch to gas if it gets too cold. I think I ran the gas furnace maybe 3 days last year. I think that heat pumps make a lot of sense in the Northwest.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Seattle, WA
    Posts
    7,744

    Re: wow....

    Originally posted by lostdude
    So how come I don't see more Heat Pump in the Seattle area? Come to think of it, Seattle does have the prefect temperture for a Heat Pump
    Heat pumps are not that popular in Seattle in existing home replacements because A/C is almost not required so lots of people don't want the extra cost. And most older homes have gas and the owners are more use to higher supply temps then what heat pumps give out.

    Newer homes are a little different as the builder will offer heat pumps but most still go with some type of flame fuel for heating. Plus we have an unbelievable resurgence of radiant hot water heat here and owners will put money into warm floors 8 months out of the years so A/C for one month or so is a less priority to them.

    One of my builder friends is even building homes that use hot water heater for radiant heat..and he thinks it's new technology.

    Plus, in my experience, heat pumps will end up costing a major amount of repair sooner or later and that will offset the energy savings. Not in all cases but I see it alot. Just tell an owner the cost of replacing a 4 way valve or a rusted out suction line accumulator and watch their face.
    "The American Republic will endure until the day Congress discovers it can bribe the public with the public's own money.
    - Alexis de Toqueville, 1835

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