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  1. #1

    Should I replace 10 seer with 16 seer in Western PA?

    My house was built in 2004 and is about 1900sqft. The builder put in a Duncan 10 seer contractor heat pump. I bought this house in 2007. Since then I have had to replace the defroster switch twice, and now the circuit board burned out on one connection so that that fan always runs. I can get it repaired for about $, but I was considering going up to a 16 seer unit in hopes of lowering my electric bill. I don't know what the manufacturer is, but my repairman can install the unit and coil for $. I understand the seer rating is for air conditioning, but I live in Western PA and need the heat more than AC. I have been searching trying to find advice, but what I find is all dealing with Southern states and A/C. So I am going out to you all, the experts, to help me decide if I should repair or replace. Any advice is greatly appreciated. A side note, we don't plan on being in this house forever, but probably for the next 5 years at least, but it could be 10 years.

    Thanks
    Last edited by beenthere; 04-30-2011 at 11:20 AM. Reason: prices

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    25,918
    Since you aren't planning on being there for a long time, I would go with a less expensive unit.
    Last edited by jpsmith1cm; 04-30-2011 at 08:33 AM. Reason: Spell check

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    SW FL
    Posts
    6,428

    Hmm Ball Park ... Direction

    Quote Originally Posted by txasylum View Post
    My house was built in 2004 and is about 1900sqft.

    The builder put in a Duncan 10 seer contractor heat pump.
    I bought this house in 2007.

    Since then I have had to replace the defroster switch twice, and now the circuit board burned out on one connection so that that fan always runs. I can get it repaired for about $, but I was considering going up to a 16 seer unit in hopes of lowering my electric bill. I don't know what the manufacturer is, but my repairman can install the unit and coil for $xx00. I understand the seer rating is for air conditioning, but I live in Western PA and need the heat more than AC.

    A side note, we don't plan on being in this house forever, but probably for the next 5 years at least, but it could be 10 years.

    Thanks
    IF one anticipates savings ~ $300 / year with an upgraded system,
    What are your real incentives and budget evaluation?

    http://www.hvacopcost.com/

    http://www.energysavers.gov/your_hom.../mytopic=12330
    Last edited by beenthere; 04-30-2011 at 11:21 AM. Reason: prices
    Designer Dan
    It's Not Rocket Science, But It is SCIENCE with "Some Art". ___ ___ K EEP I T S IMPLE & S INCERE

    Define the Building Envelope and Perform a Detailed Load Calc: It's ALL About Windows and Make-up Air Requirements. Know Your Equipment Capabilities

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,586
    Look at all the numbers. SEER, EER, HSPF, heating capacity, electric rate...

    Sometimes high SEER heat pumps have an HSPF not much more than a cheapo so while you think you are saving lots, in the winter you aren't. And since PA is a good heating climate, that's key. Also look at heating output. Make sure if you buy a 4 ton heat pump, you get 48,000 BTU of heat at 47 out.

    Odds are, in your area, super efficient won't pay you in energy savings in a reasonable time the considerable extra you will pay for it. The tax credit and many utility rebates require 15 SEER. That's likely good enough.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    SW Wisconsin
    Posts
    5,031

    Want to preserve or increase unit's existing SEER Rating?

    Quote Originally Posted by txasylum View Post
    My house was built in 2004 and is about 1900sqft. The builder put in a Duncan 10 seer contractor heat pump. I bought this house in 2007. Since then I have had to replace the defroster switch twice, and now the circuit board burned out on one connection so that that fan always runs. I can get it repaired for about $, but I was considering going up to a 16 seer unit in hopes of lowering my electric bill.

    I don't know what the manufacturer is, but my repairman can install the unit and coil for $. I understand the seer rating is for air conditioning, but I live in Western PA and need the heat more than AC.

    I have been searching trying to find advice, but what I find is all dealing with Southern states and A/C. So I am going out to you all, the experts, to help me decide if I should repair or replace. Any advice is greatly appreciated. A side note, we don't plan on being in this house forever, but probably for the next 5 years at least, but it could be 10 years. Thanks
    You're not going save much upgrading on heating & you don't need it in Western PA for air conditioning.

    The best investment is achieved by doing a home energy audit & reducing heat-loss/HT-gain.

    Also, a real good H-Vac Tech can usually improve the efficiency of your existing system.

    Published SEER Rating savings is established under set temperature & lab conditions, in real world conditions temp conditions number of unit cycles per hour result in a wide variation in actual SEER performance.

    IMO we should stop selling on the basis of published SEER Savings; in real world conditions they are not consistent enough to use. Instead, look at the EER Ratings.

    Want to preserve or increase unit's existing SEER Rating?

    If you want higher SEER, it needs longer runtime cycles, a 1 to 3F differential RM-TH, with half degree incremental settings, along with a slightly undersized unit will help increase the SEER performance & the Human Comfort Zone. With a RH below 50% the (HCZ) could be achieved within up-to a 3F swing; say from On at 77 & Off at 74F.

    Oversized equipment with narrow RM-TH setpoint differentials of a one degree with a cooling anticipator result in very Short run cycles; resulting in existing SEER Ratings dropping into a bottomless pit.
    Last edited by beenthere; 04-30-2011 at 11:21 AM. Reason: prices

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Rochester NY
    Posts
    4,763
    What Darrell said. Get an audit and look at the numbers.

    Or you can guess. Or you can get the cheapest equipment you can find hoping energy prices go down instead of up, or that people buying your home don't ask about energy bills or equipment quality.

    When people ask me to look at houses they are considering, the equipment tells a lot. I tell them to suspect an equipment cheapskate has probably been a cheapskate elsewhere.

    It's a lot to consider. Good luck.
    Which makes more sense to you?
    CONSERVATION - turning your thermostat back and being uncomfortable. Maybe saving 5-10%
    ENERGY EFFICIENCY - leaving your thermostat where everyone is comfortable. Saving 30-70%

    DO THE NUMBERS! Step on a HOMESCALE.
    What is comfort? Well, it AIN'T just TEMPERATURE!

    Energy Obese? An audit is the next step - go to BPI.org, or RESNET, and find an auditor near you.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Philadelphia PA
    Posts
    2,198

    Hey txasylum

    If you have learned anything from these posts/ site, it is that the equipment is only half the issue, The ductwork and the home's building envelope is a real contributor to your savings potential.
    With a home built in 04', the insulation and sealing should not be a concern. Unfortunately the duct design is!!!!!!
    So you'll need someone to evaluate the duct
    Even better would be to get a copy of the construction plans used for the permit as your starting point.
    If you are lucky enough to have a decent duct system then the equipment does go to center stage. If not then you are really going to be disappointed with what you need to spend and the payback.
    Wish I could be of more help, but you need to see it to really understand
    You have got to learn from other people's mistakes! Because God knows you don't live long enough to make them all yourself !!!!!!!!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Rochester NY
    Posts
    4,763
    Gen,
    Good points all. One thing, you might be surprised by thermal bypasses and soffits open to exterior walls and other crazy things you can find in recently built homes. Creative "design features" often mean gaping holes in innerstitial spaces.

    I hope people don't think that because their homes were built recently that they probably don't have deficiencies that are low hanging opportunities for improvement.
    Which makes more sense to you?
    CONSERVATION - turning your thermostat back and being uncomfortable. Maybe saving 5-10%
    ENERGY EFFICIENCY - leaving your thermostat where everyone is comfortable. Saving 30-70%

    DO THE NUMBERS! Step on a HOMESCALE.
    What is comfort? Well, it AIN'T just TEMPERATURE!

    Energy Obese? An audit is the next step - go to BPI.org, or RESNET, and find an auditor near you.

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