I've been doing some reading here and decided to sign up since
I am doing early research into replacing my existing system and I am trying to determine what the best balance would be between cost and features. I am trying to get some information to have some idea of what I should be looking for before having somebody come out and give me estimates. At least while I have time as an option when deciding on what to do.
17 years old
80k BTU York Diamond 80 Furnace
3 Ton York Condenser (SEER 11)
2000 sq foot
2 floors + unfinished basement.
Here is what I am looking for in a replacement
2. Improved temperature balance between 1st and 2nd floors.
3. Less noise from the Furnace. Most of the noise is from the burners and draft inducer.
4. Same or less noise for A/C.
I'd like to improve efficiency on the A/C and air handler (ECM blower motor), but I don't think improving the furnace efficiency is on the table since using anything other than the shared b-vent may be problematic.
Problem with the current system:
During cooling season the temp difference between 1st and 2nd floor is 3-4 degrees plus one more degree difference for the master bedroom. Placing a fan at the bottom of the stairway during cooling season reduces the difference to 1.5 degrees between the 1st and second floor. The fan probably does not move much is any cold air upstairs and I think it is mostly preventing convection. I have not taken any measurements during the heating season, but the master bedroom is noticeably colder than the rest of the house. The problem with the master bedroom is that it is larger than the other rooms, has more windows, and has probably same amount of supply air as the other bedrooms.
Possibly zoning with 2 or 3 zones. Maybe Carrier Infinity since it is integrated, right? I'd rather have a one vendor solution if possible. Or is the Infinity system potentially overkill and overspending. I really have no idea what the cost difference is between the different systems. This year we had a very wet spring and although the temp was lower than the A/C set point some dehumidification was need since the humidity was way to high. I had to turn down the thermostat just to make it comfortable, cooler with but still with high humidity. This might be one of those instances where getting something like the Carrier Infinity is probably worth it.
I may be doing some other improvements before replacing the furnace to see if that helps the improve the situation in the master bedroom, such as low-e windows. My current system is working fine with the exception of the problems noted. I hate to replace something that isn't broken, but with the potential of a tax break that may not always be there, plus potentially lower utility bills may be enough incentive.
I know there is more information needed to give a fully informed opinion, but what would be a good choice when trying to balance cost vs. features? Zoning adds significantly to the cost? I'm thinking of going with Carrier or maybe Trane. Are things like 2 stage heating and cooling worth it? Variable speed blowers?