Carrier Comfort Zone vs Honeywell Envirazone vs ??
Here is the basic situation - we have a home which needs to be zoned in order to address hot & cold spots along with providing adaquate air flow in all areas. Saving fuel by only heating certain areas at certain times is not important to us. Thus, the zones will be:
- Main House
Objective is to address the following problems:
- Avoid stale air in basement (but keep temperature at same level as rest of house) by recirculating air when furnace / AC is in off cycle.
- Accomodate nearly a one ton afternoon solar gain in the Solarium when sun is out (total load for entire house is only 2.1 ton).
- Humidity is more of a problem than heat for us so want a zone controller which supports using the AC for dehumidification.
Furnace and AC will be replaced at same time. We are currently leaning towards going with a Rheem RGRM 2-stage Furnace w ECM Variable Speed & RARL 2-stage AC but are open to others.
Carrier's Comfort Zone II looks interesting as does Honeywell's Envirazone.
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
Success depends on the integrity, experience, knowledge and skill of the contractor.
Zoning of systems is frequently taken much, much too lightly. There are many who will install systems but few who really understand the science and design criteria to install a successful zoned system. Zoning an air system is NOTHING like zoning a water system. In fact, about the only two things they have in common is that they're both referred to a zone controls and they both have thermostats!!!
With air zone controls, both the equipment considerations (minimum output, minimum speed) as well as duct considerations (maximum airflow, airflow to each zone, over sizing of branch supplies, over sizing of main trunks, pressure drop through dampers) all must be taken into consideration and allowed for in the design. Failure to do so can result in premature failure of equipment components, noisy systems and higher energy bills.
Properly designed, a zone control system can and will perform flawlessly for many, many years on average and will provide more precise control of air temperature in areas of the home that are otherwise difficult to control.
So shop very, very carefully. If finding a good HVAC tech is tough, finding one who really and truly knows zoning using dampers in an air system is extremely tough.
The zoning duct design and equipment sizing was all completed by a friend who happens to be a senior instructor at the local community college and teaches advanced HVAC Design so he should know what he is doing.
Problem is that he refuses to state an absolute preference as to which brand to go with - taking the position 'as a friend I don't want to risk the friendship by recommending a brand which in the end your not happy with - all I will do is point out some pros & cons.' He then explained:
- Pro - when set up correctly keeps air moving in all zones at all times
- Pro - does a very good job of dehumidication by using 'Out Zones' for supercooling to keep the AC running longer
- Con - Costly
- Con - Modulating dampers are more complex to troubleshoot when things go wrong (and at some point they likely will)
- Pro - Damper control is a simple Open/Closed and thus far easier to troubleshoot when problems occur
- Pro - Since all dampers full open when Heating / Cooling not called for and blower running the basement receives a larger proportion of the air during these times
- Pro - Properly handles staging as well as supporting DHUM contact on furnace
- Pro - Reasonably priced and inexepensive to service / maintain
- Con - You don't have a 'single source' solution and hence you don't have the same level of support as you would with a solution like Carrier
He has also provided me with a list of 'good' contractors in the area to contact offering different brands of equipment but each has brand allegence to certain zone controllers (for example Carrier of course is offering Carrier Zone Control, Rheem is offering Honeywell, Lennox is offering Lennox, etc). I was hoping for some insight from someone without a specific brand allegence as to the pros & cons of the various controllers or if in the end (as long as installed correctly) they basically all work just as well as each other.
Basically just trying to sort out the Pros/Cons of each solution offered before selecting which contractor to contact!
have you looked into the carrier infinity zoning system ?
very user friendly...and most of all comfort...
I like the simplicity and pricing of the Honeywell zoning. It still comes down to the installing and servicing contractor. Someone as to verify that the design you trust is actually followed by the contractor. Will that be you? Get it in writing.
Kinda liked it till started talking cost.
Originally Posted by pauls heating &
Rheem (2 stage AC & 2 stage Furnace with ECM drives) with Honeywell priced at around $**. Carrier (2 stage AC & 3 stage Furnace with ECM drives) with Carrier Infinity priced at around $** ( with older Comfort II zone control). Don't see Infinity adding $** in value to the system - $** maybe.
Last edited by k-fridge; 07-27-2011 at 04:50 PM.
Reason: Remove pricing per OP request
You not allowed ot post pricing on here. Best ot remove it before the moderators do.
You can state in terms of percentages I believe. OS you could say that the Infinity cost about 30% more.
For some people, a little more comfort might be worth $. But most comfort comes from properly sized equipment and adequate and evenly distributed supplies and/or returns.
A low end Goodman single stage system can be far more comfortable than an oversized, poorly installed carrier system.
Last edited by k-fridge; 07-27-2011 at 04:50 PM.
Although liked the Infinity Controller was put off by the pricing.
Paying nearly 30% more for the complete system versus a comparable Rheem with Honeywell controller OR 20% more than a Carrier with the older Comfort II system is more than I can justify.
As for the designer, our company is currently replacing a heating/cooling system is a home where the systems were designed by someone of the same credentials as you've stated. Not saying anything about your friend but this chap had 3 mechanical systems in the home. 2-gas furnaces totaling 237,000 output Btu's when the entire home needs less than 70,000 Btu's; 4-tons of for just the upper zone (it's a split level house) when only 2.0-tons are needed. So we've abandoned the AC system in its entirety, replaced both furnaces with a single furnace, high efficiency heat pump and Bryant Evolution 3-zone system. Using a 355CAV 3-stage gas furnace in combination with the Evolution zone system means the homeowner need have no concerns over the system design as it will never, even with only one zone calling, over feed the duct systems.
Our original system (which worked ok) consisted of a 55,000 BTU furnace and two AC - a 1.5 Ton paired with the furnace and a seperate 1 Ton with it's own air handler to provide supplemental cooling to the solarium.
Originally Posted by skippedover
This was replaced by a single system with 100,000 BTU furnace and 3.0 ton single stage AC. Unfortunately we never told us until he was finished what size equipment he was installing - his firm had the best reputation in the area so we put our trust in him.
His 'upgrade' left the whole house damp whenever the AC ran, and when heating the inability for the ducts to carry the airflow from the new system (1450 CFM versus 800 with the old system) resulted in nearly a 10 degree difference between the coldest and warmest room.
The reason I got the friend involved with the design is that in addition to his 'credentials' he has helped out a number of people who have had similar problems with great success.