Reasonable, or Can O' Worms?
Here is what I think I want: to retire one old 3.5T Intertherm A/C outdoor unit and relocate a 3.5T Trane XL-12 to replace it from the other half of the house. The Trane would be replaced with something a bit smaller than 3.5T. Is it terribly abnormal to ask to swap an A/C rather than just plug in a new one?
Here is why I would want to:
1) The Intertherm is so old we cannot ID its actual model but based on motor size I am told it would correspond to a "light" 3.5T capacity. Any replacement would be more efficient.
2) The Intertherm is sized correctly, and the Trane is oversized in its present location.
3) The Trane would be replaced with something modern, lower capacity, and better suited to the ductwork which exists. That would solve a problem with duct velocity and excessive noise.
While I have not done Manual D calculations, I have added up the sum of the cross section of the ducts leaving the plenum. It is around 400 SqIn for the Intertherm half of the house, and around 300 SqIn for the Trane half. The number of supply outlets is about proportional. When we installed an A-S (Am.Std.) VS air handler, it originally was set for 1400 cfm on both sides, on the smaller ductwork it made too much noise (some ducts beyond 600 fpm, and it is flex) and I reset to 350 cfm/ton or about 1200 cfm. Getting down to 1050 cfm would be more comfortable still, from a mechanical and noise point of view.
I know that Manual J is the classic Grade-A method of determining sizing needs, and I would plan to have a room-by-room Manual J done before taking action, to verify that downsizing is proper. At first I only did whole house Manual J load using HVAC-CALC, and it tells me 4.5-5.0T is sufficient (vs. 7.0 presently). But I am pretty sure what the room-by-room Manual J will say, as logging data on that AC tells me it runs no more than 73% of the peak hour on genuine hot summer days. I am expecting Manual J to tell me the design load is either 2.5 or 3.0 tons capacity for the current Trane half of the house.
This is near Houston where hot summer days are pretty much all alike. I worked for the utility looking at load patterns and have learned that once you get to the days of 75F low and 95F high, that is the full summer load. May 21 was officially 96F, to give one pre-Memorial-Day example. As I remember HVAC-CALC recommends 94F design temperature. That's where we are right this week.
Tentatively this project is planned for around the end of summer. If finances dictate, maybe postponed from that so long as the Intertherm keeps working.
So... does this sound reasonable to a professional? Any other steps I should take before pulling the trigger?
Thanks for all the things you professionals teach us homeowners!
[Edited by perpetual_student on 06-16-2005 at 07:38 AM]
Sounds reasonable to me, also sounds like you have done your homework. Good luck on the installs.
"Go big or Go Home"
How old is the Trane system? I'm assuming the systems cover different part of the house?
That Trane unit
>>How old is the Trane system? I'm assuming the systems cover different part of the house?
The Trane is about 4-5 years old, it cools the Southeast portion of an L-shaped floorplan. The Intertherm cools the NW portion which is larger. That unit is such a relic I have to suspect it dates back to the 1989 construction of the house, *all* printed label information has faded into oblivion.
[Edited by perpetual_student on 06-16-2005 at 07:47 AM]
If you'd like to get very close to knowing the rated capacity of the Intertherm, go to your condenser and get any info you can off the compressor nameplate. If we're talking 1989, chances are good the plate is metal and spot welded to the top of the compressor dome. If it's a Copeland, I have tons of Copeland info on my other computer, but it'll have to wait till I get to Ft. Worth over the weekend to log on. I'm in the middle of a move.
I also have info for Tecumseh but if it's an obsolete model, that might be more of a challenge. Bristol...hmmm. Anyway, post that info here if you can and likely someone here can help out.
Otherwise, sounds to me like you have a game plan. I hope it includes installing thermostatic expansion valves on both systems, if you don't have them already. Give yourself that dehumidifying edge.
Building Physics Rule #1: Hot flows to cold.
Building Physics Rule #2: Higher air pressure moves toward lower air pressure
Building Physics Rule #3: Higher moisture concentration moves toward lower moisture concentration.
Copeland compressor info
I hope Shophound is still reading this thread. The compressor is a Copeland and the identifier on top is:
Is this sufficient info to identify sizing? Thanks for any help.