Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 13 of 15
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    7

    Question

    I live in the Arizona desert and am looking to upgrade the original 21 year old AC/furnace systems in my home. The house has 2 split systems with AC and gas furnaces. A heat load analysis has been done indicating that one system needs to be 4 ton, and the other 3 to 3.5 ton. I plan to stay in the house long-term, so I've been looking mainly at high-efficiency systems with dual-stage heating and cooling and variable blowers. I'm only looking at 80% efficiency furnaces due to the low heating needs. I plan on sticking with the standard 1" filters.

    So far I've gotten quotes on Trane, Lennox, and Amana, which seemed to be the most recommended brands based on my Internet research. Relative pricing ranks as follows: Lennox HSX-19 (highest), Trane XL19i (few hundred less), Amana RSG Ultron 16 (another few hundred less). These quotes were from established reputable contractors and I didn't see any reason to prefer one over another. So the choice comes down to the equipment. Since the initial cost differences are relatively small, my primary selection criteria are efficiency and reliability.

    Note that I've pretty much eliminated Carrier from the running due to the comments I've read about coil leaks.

    I'd appreciate any comments about these equipment options, or any other suggestions I should consider. Here are a few specific questions:

    - What payback period should I expect on these high-end systems? I've read other posts saying they'll never payback, but keep in mind that I live in area with lots of 100+ degree summer days.

    - There seem to be conflicting opinions on whether the refrigerant lines have to be replaced when upgrading from R22 to R410a. Is this really necessary? In my case replacement may be difficult since they run under the house. The quotes I have assumed that the existing lines are reusable.

    - Some posts say that the main benefit of the dual-stage compressors is humidity control and not efficiency. Is that true? Humidity control is not a big concern where I live. Improved efficiency and temperature uniformity are more interesting potential benefits to me.

    Thanks in advance for any info!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    6,316
    Welcome to the forum and thank you for asking a practical well-versed question.

    I have sold and installed all three brands of these 2-stage units within the last year so I have a good handle on them!

    First as far as differences on the three brands biggest is the design and materials of the condenser coils. Trane has all Aluminum coils there has been an increase in pre mature coil failures in recent. Amana & Lennox have also had condenser coil issues in the last few years but they both seem to have addressed the problem.

    As far as the 2-stage units they all three use the Copeland Scroll no advantage there.

    The efficiency ratings for each are different but they all produce about the same in the real world.

    The Lennox unit may be the easiest to work on the compressor and the Trane the worst. I feel that the Amana is better built as far as the cabinet and paint job then the other two.

    Amana has the better warranty especially in the equipment choices you have listed.

    Now to the furnaces Amana hands down period end of story. The Lennox UHV maybe slightly quieter but it will probably be indiscernible unless the unit is in a closet in the Living room or Bedroom.

    The Amana heat exchanger is the best will never fail and has a Lifetime unit replacement warranty if it does as does the RSG condenser if the compressor fails.

    The biggest problem I see for you is the line set! You state that 25' runs in the slab, which means it is horizontal, and this is the worst-case scenario to have. The problem with keeping the old line set is having old mineral oil trapped. The mineral oil in R-22 systems will not mix with the POE oil in R-410A. Oil will pool in any sag in the horizontal run of copper and there is not practical or effective way to remove it.

    It is possible that the copper is inside a PVC sleeve and can just be pulled out and new copper pulled in. At least it is like that in Austin were copper is frequently run in the slab.

    If you cannot replace the horizontal copper I would suggest going with a lower efficiency system with R-22 or consider the Trane XL1800 two compressor system, which still uses R-22 compressors.

    I really prefer the Amana line to the other two but you have to go with what fits your needs best.

    Now final point in my opinion 2-stage 2-speed units are all about comfort lower humidity and more even cooling than about efficiency. I say this not only as someone that sells allot of 2-stage systems but as the owner of a 2-speed system.

    Now as far as heating 2-stage is the only way to go again not for efficiency but comfort.

    Hope this helps and doesn’t confuse you more, so I will say this.

    If you can’t replace the line set I recommend the Amana AMV8 With an RCE condenser and CHP coil.
    If you really want 2-stage and can’t replace line set Trane TTZ/XL1800 if you can replace line set Amana RSG condenser.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    North Richland Hills, Texas
    Posts
    14,914
    classical,
    The XL19i is the replacement for the XL1800. It is an R-22 system with 2 compressors. Trane's system with the 2 stage scroll is the XL16i.

    I strongly agree with classical about the refrigerant line issue. If the lineset cannot be replaced, I would recommend sticking with an R-22 system.

    I'm kind of partial to the near 50%/100% capacity and airflow split of the XL19i over the 67%/100% capacity and 80%/100% airflow split of the 2 stage scroll systems. The lower first stage capacity gives you longer run times for greater comfort.

    As far as quality of the brands go, I have always been partial to Lennox and Trane when it comes to building good machines with good fit and finish. At least thier top line equipment, both of them make builders grade stuff that I refuse to sell.
    I never have been impressed with Amana products at all, but I havn't seen but one that was less than 6 years old. I cut my finger removing the blower access panel on a 2 year old Amana furnace last week, so my first impression was bad.
    If more government is the answer, then it's a really stupid question.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    33,921
    One thing to look at is exact SEER of the system you need. Some of these super SEER units get that 19 SEER only in small sizes. When you get to the bigger sizes, SEER is considerably less. One recent example was a HO comparing the Carrier Infinity 18 against a 14 SEER single stage. The "18" actually rated out at 14 SEER in the size he needed removing efficiency from the equation. Those 2 stage models are STEEP, I tend to wonder if the big buck premium for them wouldn't be better off spent on insulation, window tint, something else with a good payback and reduced heat gain.

    As for furnaces, all 3 use the White-Rodgers Intell-ignition system. I can't say I'm fond of the reliability in the past though hopefully by now, W-R has the bugs finally out of it. I have the Trane XV80 from the good old days of American components and haven't touched it other than pulling a bird out of the flue. We've had virtually flawless reliability out of the Trane heat exchanger since it came out in 1992. Amana has a good rep, no Lennox to speak of around here so don't know how theirs holds up.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    7
    Thanks for the helpful info so far! I will heed the advice about the lineset, that makes sense. Any other input is still appreciated.

    Here's one new question. If I do step down to a single stage compressor, is it still worthwhile to get the variable speed blower? My understanding is that the benefits of the variable blower are more even air distribution, quieter operation, and about a 1 SEER efficiency gain. Is that correct? Do the same benefits apply even if the compressor is single stage?

    Thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    6,316
    You pretty much have it nailed on the VS; another main benefit is improved humidity control. I realize humidity is not a major concern for you however if your home is very tight it can be especially with higher SEER equipment.

    One feature Amana has that the other two don't is their top of the line two stage thermostat. You can run the fan continuous and set the humidity level on the t'stat. If the humidity rises above the set point it will shut off the fan. What this allows you to do is run the fan cont. for improve filtration and more even temps in the house with out raising the humidity.

    Unless things have changed neither Lennox nor Trane have this function. In addition Amana uses 5Seasons IAQ products and they are superior to anything Lennox or Trane has currently.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    7
    Classical,
    Thanks again for your input. Interesting that you should mention the thermostats. I was just looking at that today. Lennox offers their SignatureStat which looks pretty nice. Trane appears to offer a clone of the Honeywell VisionPro, which looks like it has about the same capabilites as the Lennox. Both offer humidity control as well as outside temp display which are nice touches. I can't find much info on the stats offered by Amana, but the Amana dealer mentioned he could install the Lennox or Honeywell stats with an Amana system also. Any recommendations?

    A related question: If the fan is manually set to run contiuous or intermittent, will it run at full speed or at a slower (quieter) speed? Is this a feature of the stat?

    Thanks!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Northern Virginia, Fairfax County
    Posts
    641
    Originally posted by johnson
    A related question: If the fan is manually set to run contiuous or intermittent, will it run at full speed or at a slower (quieter) speed? Is this a feature of the stat?

    Thanks!
    When my blower is set on continuous, it operates at a slow, quiet speed. I cannot make it go faster. The dealer says that is the way it is designed. This is all Trane equipment XV-80 gas furnace, XL19i A/C, and TAYSTAT302c, 2 stage programmable.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    6,316
    I would not install one brand high t'stat with another brand VS. The boards read a signal (can't think of the proper name at the moment) that is specific to each software program. The motors are all GE but each manufacturer writes its own software.

    The Lennox Signature stat is nice but most I have installed customers found complicated to operate. The Vision Pro is very limited in function for humidity control but has nice large screen and easy to program. The Amana stat model # 1213431 is easier to read and program than Signature almost as easy to program as Vision Pro and has better features.

    On any VS motor the fan speed is determined on how it is setup and the setup is done inside the furnace at the board. Continuous fan speed should be slower and quiet how slow depends on brand and how it is set up.

    Every brand has its strong points and its weak points. Personally I have sold and can still sell any brand I wish; most can if they want to. Over the years I have sold roughly equal amounts of Amana and Lennox and I mostly sell high-end equipment.

    In my house I have Lennox because at the time that is what I was primarily selling and it is what best matched what I wanted to accomplish in my home. I have a 94% eff. furnace VS 2-speed condenser and four-zone damper system.

    I have been very pleased with the performance of the system but there have been problems. The compressor failed bad batch from Copeland rare problem. The condenser coil failed not a rare problem.

    Over the years I have had the least problems overall with Amana (period of bad condenser coil oxidation) and the product is IMO currently the best they have ever built. I am not crazy about the corporate coil direction but have not had any problems with them.

    For me AM/Std- Trane has been cheapening their products for the last few years and Lennox has apparently been addressing their quality issues.

    Choose the product that best fits your needs and the contractor that you feel will do the best work and addresses your needs and desires.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Tucson AZ
    Posts
    55

    Where in the AZ Desert are you?

    If you were not in Phoenix I would stay away from Lennox. Just my opinion but I am in Tucson and there are no Lennox distributors here. I can't begin to tell you what problems this arises from this! Need parts? Today? Tomorrow? Next WEEK? I don't know how they are elsewhere but in Tucson??? I agree with the other posts as far as replacing the line-set as well as possibly looking at single stage A/C units especially in the 3-1/2 system. I don't know where these other dealers are and I don't know what you have found out about Carrier coils? All I know is The Infinity Control has no competition!

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Ft.Worth,Tx
    Posts
    4,584
    I would agree with classical and Mark. The best would be variable drive with 14i or 16i.R-22 systems...Trane
    But,why would you install a new system and not want to use better filter system?

    Perfect Fit-Trane
    Air-Bear-Lennox
    Aprilaire-Amana

    As for the brands, they all will produce the amount of btu's needed to condition the space.Savings can very by the way that they are installed. Ask for some references on jobs that each company has done.
    And another note sayco bob is right same here in Texas with Lennox if you need a parts, next week,14 days from factory, and you spend alot of time talking to phone while customer is [hot] and wondering why he bought Lennox.
    "Everyday above ground, is a good day".
    "But everyday that you have made a difference in someones life, may insure you stay above ground a little longer".<aircooled>

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    6,316
    Hey 53 Amana no longer sells Apriaire products. They have upgraded to 5Seaons product line much higher quality better designed and built.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    7
    Thanks so much to everyone who is contributing to this thread. I really appreciate the info!

    A few followup questions:

    To aircooled53:
    I was shying away from the media type filters simply because of the $50-$75 replacement cost that I've seen. Is that accurate? I don't have allergies, so I assumed the standard filters would be adequate. Since I'm the novice here, let me turn the question around: Why would I want to install a better filter?

    To sayco bob:
    I am in Tucson. The Trane dealer raised the point about no local Lennox distributor. The Lennox dealer said that Lennox parts were available next day from Phoenix, and Trane doesn't have a local distributor for residential products either. I wan't viewing this a a significant factor in the selection between brands. Regarding Carrier, I read several posts on this board that mentioned coil leakage. That's my only source of info. Can you please elaborate on why you suggested I consider single-stage systems?

    Classical:
    Thanks for the info on the stats. I can't find any info online about the Amana stats. Can you point me to something that talks about that model # 1213431, or at least a picture of it?

    Thanks!


    [Edited by johnson on 06-06-2005 at 02:30 AM]

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Comfortech Show Promo Image

Related Forums

Plumbing Talks | Contractor Magazine
Forums | Electrical Construction & Maintenance (EC&M) Magazine
Comfortech365 Virtual Event