HP Sticker Shock - How do I decide which?
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    5

    Unhappy

    Ok, dead Apollo system and after much reseach/talk I've decided to go with a heat pump. VERY hard to get guys to come out and work up an estimate. Got first estimate today and it knocked me out.

    Trane XL14i Seer, 1.5 Ton, R-410A, 4TWX4018A1000A
    2 Ton air handler: 4TEP3F24A1000A
    (house is approx 1000 sq feet, probably "average" insulation for a 1987 home, in central North Carolina, with windows facing south that are very well shaded in summer.)

    The sales rep started with a lower level system, but when I saw the HSPF factors I was sorely disappointed and we moved to the classier model. Trane's website brags "up to 9.85" for their XR14, but when you look at the 1.5 Ton units its actually only about 7.0! Even the system above is only 7.35!

    My problems:
    1. I want an energy efficient system, especially on the heat side, but I don't want to spend so much that it takes 10 years to make back what I spent to go more efficient. I have no way of figuring that out.

    2. I have no heat, December tends to get cold, and I'm finding it amazingly difficult to get someone to come to the house. Half the people I've called about this haven't even called me back! No kidding! One that I had a great reference for had his wife call to tell me he can't come because he's too busy.

    3. I have no idea what anything costs. The 2 guys I've spoken with don't give me any idea what ballpark we're in. They ask me what I want, but don't let me know what the difference in price is. I had NO idea we were talking as much $$$ as the final number that I was handed. And now I have NO idea what percent of that number is due to replacing the ductwork, labor, etc., and what percentage is the actual hardware. No idea if reducing the system to an XR14 or XB13 would be a good call or a bad one.

    How do I make a judgement call when I don't know what things cost and what the different feature sets will save me over time?

    HELP. By the way, I plan on staying in the house for the foreseable future. I know you guys can't tell me costs (sigh), but can you suggest what level Trane system (the 1.5 tons is most likely just right, I mean which model). For one person, in a small house, who hates being cold, has had no trouble living with a 1.5 ton 18-year-old air conditioner. And can manage to borrow the money if necessary, but it's a big deal to do so.

    Thanks in advance for your patience/expertise. Please pardon the ranting; I'm quite stressed out over this decision.

    -Rifkin

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    33,827
    Super SEER is pricey, especially with Trane. Payback? In a 1.5 ton unit, L O N G time! When you put a 14 SEER Trane on a standard air handler, efficiency will be lower.

    You might look at other brands although many are about as low as the Trane. Wonder why that is? Rheem's RPMD18 has 8.25 HSPF with std blower and 8.6 with variable speed. The Carrier YRA18 can be up to 8 with some air handlers though others much lower. Tempstar's TCH18 can do 8.2 with VS blower, though standard blower much lower. York, Lennox, Amana, Goodman all are barely above 7 in 1.5 ton.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    North Carolina
    Posts
    5

    Question Trane XB13 vs XL14i vs Ruud 12

    Thanks - the "LONG time" helps. I'm in no financial position to increase up-front money that won't benefit me for many years. Also, my understanding is that a heat pump's life expectancy is only about 12-14 years anyway (told to me by a contractor).

    I just downloaded my electric and gas bills for the last year:
    Worst electric bill was July: 67.03
    Worst gas was January: 130.41
    Total gas + electric in past 12 months: 1181.67

    So my best estimate is that each increase of 1% efficiency saves me only $12 per year. So maybe I shouldn't worry about efficiency so much. Again, we're talking 1.5 Ton.

    LINGERING QUESTIONS:
    1. Ok, so if I go with the RUUD 12 or the Trane XB13, is that likely to heat my house even if occassionally I wanted 73 degrees? Would the Trane XL14i likely save me 10% or more on my utilities over these two?

    2. Is my concern about getting parts 10 years from now for the RUUD 12 justified?

    3. Does a 2-speed air handler make sense when I was fine with one speed before? Do I need to get one to insure I can keep humidity down?

    Thanks so much for answering, I'm a little calmer now :-)
    If you know anyone who does excellent installation in the Raleigh-Durham area of NC, I'm more than open for suggestions.

    The reason I'm focused on Trane is that everyone here seems to be a Trane dealer. One man came out and did a nice job of checking out the house, and he really wants to put in a 12 SEER Ruud. I worry about putting in something that's being phased out - will I be able to get good service and parts in 10 years? Also, he then refused to give me an estimate because I wanted to get other quotes. He told me it would be a waste of his time to figure it all out if he was underbid - wants to wait until I have 2 other quotes and then wants me to tell him what those quotes are. I liked him a lot (seemed very knowledgeable and thorough) right up to that part of the conversation.

    I'm more concerned about heat than ac. I need to be able to be warm in the winter, and I don't want prices to skyrocket because I've switched to electric. Also, I want to be able to be sure the system can keep me warm, up to 73 or 74, if that's what I need at the time (like when my 87 year old mother or 91 year old father visits - he wears sweaters when its 80 degrees!).

    Thanks again,
    -Rifkin

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Location
    Vancouver Canada
    Posts
    996
    Don't worry so much about effieciency, doubt at this time if you will be able to find much available below 13 SEER. Payback, unless your utilities are extremley high is often not possible during the lifetime of the equipment. I would go with the Ruud system if you are confident with the installer. Heat pumps do tend to give a bit of sticker shock if you haven't priced one before. Cost of equipment, especially with American STandard/Trane is very high. If all you are concerned with is having the temps at 73-74 occasionally just make sure you have enough aux heat (heat strips) to achieve that in the coldest weather and you should have no problems.
    "Go big or Go Home"

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Kingsport, Tennessee
    Posts
    649

    Dead Apollo

    A reputable dealer should be able to calculate the savings of each model for you. Weather data is available, electric rates are known, heat loss/heat gain calculation can be done on the house. You can then make decision whether high efficiency model with high HSPF will be worth it. Trane makes heat pumps like the XL16i that has some of the highest HSPF ratings available. Trane is usually a little more expensive to buy for the contractor, but not all that much. {a few hundred bucks} Some Trane dealers get a little carried away with their pricing! Try to get some more Trane quotes as well as on other brands. You know, putting in a new Apollo would be much cheaper. It would give you the same warm air you have experienced in the past. Your heating & cooling costs are relatively low, but its your money & your decision. Try to get a dealer to figure your savings for you with different models & your decision will be easier.

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