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  1. #1
    We are building a new 2700 sq ft, 2 story home. 1st story, 1500 sq ft, 2nd story is 1200. We are looking at "two RUUD 3 ton 13 seer split systems complete with ducting, controls... etc. OR upgrade to 14 seer.

    It is $480 more for the 14 seer. We want to know if it is worth the money to upgrade.

    We live in northern CA - N. of Sacramento. It is HOT (105+ in summer). We want the most efficient, reliable system for our $$

    Does anyone have an opinion?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    230
    6 tons for 2700 sqft. sounds too high for a new construction. Did anyone perform a heat load calc?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Derby City
    Posts
    3,955
    As you can gather, there is a great deal of emphasis placed on the competency of the contractor as well as the equipment. We do not discuss pricing on this site, only the contractor quoting the equipment and systems can provide you with his or her justification, i.e. pros and cons re: warranty, efficiency, payback, features, etc.

    We place major importance on proper sizing. If the systems are not properly sized, then you toss attempts at efficiency out the window. Make sure there has been a Manual J load calculation performed, (on each zone) and that load calculation is reflected in the size recommendations.

    I think you will find this to be pretty much boilerplate advice from this site, when it comes to your new equipment choice. Place at the very LEAST an equal amount of importance on the contractor as you do the equipment.

    Be sure all of your questions are answered to your satisfaction, and don't hesitate to come back to this site for help. There are many here that are more than willing, but at the same time, we are hesitant to second-guess someone that is involved in the process first-hand. If we observe something that screams incompetence, then several of us are not shy about pointing that out.

    In fact, you may hear from a professional from this site, that is in your area, and can better relate to the geographical demands involved. All the best, John.
    Everyone has a purpose in life..........even if it's to be a bad example.

    Seek first to understand, before seeking to be understood.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    435
    I would opt for a variable speed air handler and maybe a 2 stage compressor setup. If setup correctly it will run at something under 100% cfm. on either low speed or small compressor for those times you don't need full out cooling, and will maintian a good dry environment. Not only does this provide a cool quiet discharge, help reduce humidity but will switch to high when max capacity is required!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,042
    I am going to dance around the dollar and cent portion of the question (talk of pricing is forbidden on this site). What I can say is what I would do if I were you. Assumptions:
    -hot climate with a long cooling season
    -high electric rates (California)
    -building a house for yourself (suggests you intend to stay in this home for a long time; very different than if you're just replacing a dead unit and you plan to sell in two years)

    Based on those assumptions, I'd go to at least 14 SEER, and maybe higher.

    I believe you're also in a pretty dry area. If that assumption is correct, make the contractor promise to measure the CFM of the system (how much air it moves through the ducts) once it is installed and guarantee that it will deliver at least 450 cfm per ton. Systems in desert climates get capacity and efficiency gains if they run more than the usual 400 cfm/ton. Anywhere else, having that much airflow would sacrifice the system's ability to dehumidify, but in the desert, that's a non-issue.

    The manual J calculation is critical. I would agree that 6 tons sounds like too much; either nobody did a proper calculation, or you're building what will be an energy INefficient house.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    burlington county n.j.
    Posts
    9,641
    if you are planning on staying in the house, energy costs and cooling loads are high i would suggest the highest efficiency properly sized system you can afford. you are going to live with it for the next 20 yrs. i doubt utility rates are going down, higher efficiency now will pay back more later.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Bakersfield, CA
    Posts
    209
    I would strongly encourage you to buy the HVAC-Calc program featured on this site and spend a few hours performing a load calculation.

    I live in Bakersfield, CA which is very similar to Sacramento's weather. My 3139 new home comes in at 4.5 tons based on the calculation. The original plan called for 6 tons. I'll be installing a 5 ton unit.

    You might be surprised at the results of a thorough heat gain calculation. You might also surprised how many contractors profess not to believe in the calculation, or at least refuse to perform a calculation.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    3,157
    As you can gather, there is a great deal of emphasis placed on the competency of the contractor as well as the equipment. We do not discuss pricing on this site, only the contractor quoting the equipment and systems can provide you with his or her justification, i.e. pros and cons re: warranty, efficiency, payback, features, etc.


    I live in your area and probably work for the contractor that is installing your system if it is a new residential area.

    I would seriously listen to everything Mr Loyd has said . I know the quality of the work that you will be getting. I would not spend the extra money, and be sure to save for the repairs you will be needing in 5 yrs or so

    If I am correct , the same contractor that is doing the hvac is also doing your rain gutters , downspouts and all of the other sheet metal around the house

    BTW this is the biggest hvac residential contractor in N Cali

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    3,157
    http://hphaa.com/services/installation/installation.htm

    I would call this guy if I were you and see if he will come to your area


    is that allowed?

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Posts
    1,042
    I don't know if it's allowed or not (no comment!). It's a great site, though- a compendium of good information for homeowners who need to know more. I don't think I've ever seen so much of that in one place before. It's only failing, if you are to point people to it as a reference, is that it is written for a dry climate. Still, bravo.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    230
    Originally posted by wyounger
    I don't know if it's allowed or not (no comment!). It's a great site, though- a compendium of good information for homeowners who need to know more. I don't think I've ever seen so much of that in one place before. It's only failing, if you are to point people to it as a reference, is that it is written for a dry climate. Still, bravo.
    What do you mean by "dry climate"

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Posts
    460
    Originally posted by tbsunflower
    It is $480 more for the 14 seer. We want to know if it is worth the money to upgrade.
    No one wants to talk about the price because of the site rules, but there is certainly one way to look at this that shouldn't offend.

    All else being equal (proper sizing and operation, etc), a 14 SEER system will save you around 7% on your annual cooling costs over a 13 SEER, so this is a straight break-even point analysis and it really depends on how big your house is and how hot the climate is.

    So, if you spend $500/year on A/C, then you'll save $35/year and the break-even point is in 14 years.

    If you spend $250/year, then it's 28 years and the system will likely die before you recover the cost.

    If you spend $1000/year, then you recover it in 7 years, etc.

    It's a little even more complicated than this, though, because you could invest your $480 instead and it would earn almost $25/year at 5% and so you have to factor that in to how much you save. It's tough comparing systems with such a close SEER rating. 12 or 14 SEER vs 10 is a much bigger difference.

    There are some side issues as to whether the systems both use R22 or R410A, as R22 is going away eventually and will slowly get more expensive, variable speed vs. non-variable (one is more efficient and more comfortable but might be more expensive to repair), etc.


    [Edited by JoeSix on 08-05-2005 at 05:40 PM]

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    3,157
    What do you mean by "dry climate"

    I would call a dry climate something like 103 degrees out and little or no humidity . a climate like the central valley in california or arizona

    I would consider a humid climate one like Texas or Florida
    where the temps are 90 degrees and the humidity is 80%

    When considering a system here in cali we dont have to consider removing the humidity to achive comfort like other areas do

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