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  1. #1

    What does the Trane ComfortLink II Communicating do?

    It's not clear to me what the Trane ComfortLink II communication does, and my potential contractors don't have much of an explanation (it makes the system more efficient - ok, but how so?). It seems to only exist in the top of the line XC95m furnace, XL20i AC, and XL20i HP. And only in the XL900/950 Thermostats (therefore apparently required).

    So could someone explain what benefit this feature might have?

    The XC95m/XL20i AC is obviously Trane's top of the line furnace/AC combination. But is the benefit of the ComfortLink II communication (whatever it is) lost when the XL20i HP is used with another furnace? It wouldn't seem to make a lot of sense to combine the most expensive XC95m furnace with a HP when the furnace is (should be) used so little (just in the coldest weather).

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Yuma, AZ
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    2,361
    Quote Originally Posted by SeekingHelp View Post
    ...The XC95m/XL20i AC is obviously Trane's top of the line furnace/AC combination. But is the benefit of the ComfortLink II communication (whatever it is) lost when the XL20i HP is used with another furnace? No. It wouldn't seem to make a lot of sense to combine the most expensive XC95m furnace with a HP when the furnace is (should be) used so little (just in the coldest weather).
    The furnace does not have to be top of the line. Trane now offers a module that will make any equipment communicating, but to a lesser extent. However the greatest level of benefits come with the top of the line Trane systems.
    "I have never let my schooling interfere with my education."
    Mark Twain
    More at: http://www.quotationspage.com/subjects/education/

  3. #3
    Do you have an more information on what the module is?

    And I still don't know how this communication helps anything. The Trane website isn't very helpful.

    For instance, the furnace without this feature is just as efficient as the furnace with it. So what good does it do me?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    West Monroe, LA
    Posts
    287
    The use of XL950 t-stat gives you away to remote access your home via smart phone, iPad, laptop etc... Anything with Internet access so you now see what is going on with your system when you are not there such as problems. This is a great t-stat as you not only can see all of the above listed, you can add locks, cameras, etc... To be used and seen from anywhere. Plus you can see setup/time of the system change setting and see how much system is running with detailed results of energy usage.

    As far as how effieicent it makes your system, you are right the equipment is the same no matter what t-stat you use as long as t-stat can control all the features of the system.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Palm Beach,Fl.
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    958
    Communication between the components makes it possible for the system to "learn" how to cool or heat at optimum efficiency and maximum comfort. It tailors itself to you and your home.

    It constantly takes information, indoor temp, outdoor, temp, humidity, staging, time of day, run time, and fan speed and makes minute adjustments to optimize operation. It keeps run time data and reports faults to assist with troubleshooting.

    Does it make it MORE efficient? No not really. But it does ensure that you get the most out of the SEER/AFUE rating. Its a comfort device that is software upgradable through Wifi internet and plans are to make it fully integrated with smart phones. So its full of useful features but it is expensive and won't add any efficency.

    Its like the difference between an old tube TV and a shiny LED flat screen. Its still a TV just ,you know, better.

    As far as combing the Furnace with a heatpump, that's known as a duel-fuel system. Essentially the furnace only operates when the heat pump can't keep up with the load so with 2 stages of heatpump and 2 stage to full modulating furnace heat you're always operating at 'just enough to do the job' which means better comfort with minimal utility consumption.
    Quote Originally Posted by k-fridge View Post
    The laws of physics know no brand names.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Portland OR
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    Efficiency and savings are two different things... Will it add to your efficiency... no, will it save you money... YES
    Efficiency - How much energy it takes to heat or cool at a specific indoor temperature and outdoor temperature etc...
    Savings - How much money you will save because of "smarter" operation

    The ComfortLink II/XL950 will learn how to save you the most, things like running the outdoor heat pump to a lower temperature so you are not using gas, switching to gas instead of the heat pump right before a defrost cycle so the house doesn't get uncomfortable, ensuring the furnace is modulating up and down properly so you have the best airflow for efficiency and comfort.

    The module that people are mentioning is a BAY24CRPAC52DA and it is a 24 volt interface relay that turns the XL950 into a 24 volt instead of a 3 wire communicating system.

    As for being able to control all parts of your system via your phone/laptop... this is not available yet, only the Comfortlink(NOT THE ComfortLink II) is a Z-wave compatible with Schlage Link system, the upgrade (which will be downloaded over the internet capability of the XL950) will allow the XL950 to be a part of this system but no dates are announced yet. The Comfortlink Z-Wave thermostat is not a communicating stat, it is only a 24Volt stat.

    Here is a true XL20i heat pump with XC95M XL950 communicating system
    http://www.youtube.com/user/SkyHeati...14/IXnaWfkRfrw
    http://www.youtube.com/user/SkyHeati...13/sbyyx5fUD5E

    Both were installed by my employees.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by SkyHeating View Post
    Efficiency and savings are two different things... Will it add to your efficiency... no, will it save you money... YES
    Efficiency - How much energy it takes to heat or cool at a specific indoor temperature and outdoor temperature etc...
    Savings - How much money you will save because of "smarter" operation.
    If you define efficiency to be proportional to the energy it takes to heat/cool at any specific indoor/outdoor temps, then savings has to be directly proportional to efficiency because cost is directly proportional to the energy you use. i.e. you can't save money without being more efficient about the energy you use.

    If you are saying that the communication system allows the combined devices to run closer to their optimum efficiency more of the time (which is very plausible) than that's savings. Am I wrong?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Portland OR
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    Quote Originally Posted by SeekingHelp View Post
    If you define efficiency to be proportional to the energy it takes to heat/cool at any specific indoor/outdoor temps, then savings has to be directly proportional to efficiency because cost is directly proportional to the energy you use. i.e. you can't save money without being more efficient about the energy you use.

    If you are saying that the communication system allows the devices to run closer to their optimum efficiency more of the time (which is very plausible) than that's savings. Am I wrong?
    Yes and no... I hope I didn't confuse you because when a contractor mentions a specific efficiency they are discussing the AHRI numbers. A thermostat will never make those numbers better(at least not in the for seeable future) but it will make the equipment operate, as you said closer to their optimum efficiency and squeeze ever last BTU out of the equipment before switching to backup heating so they are operating more efficiently but not rated any more efficient so instead I used the term "savings". Does that make more sense or am I just rambling?

    Trane XL20i with thermostat
    SEER 18
    EER 12.5
    Cost per year to operate $850
    Trane XL20i Without thermostat
    SEER 18
    EER 12.5
    Cost per year to operate $900

    In the above example the "efficiency" is the same but the "savings" are different because the thermostat makes it operate more "efficiently"
    The above is just an example so the numbers are made up but thats what I was trying to show with my "savings" vs "efficiency" terms.

    In short get the XL20i heat pump, XC95 Modulating furnace and XL950 or TCONT900 thermostat :-)

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by SkyHeating View Post
    A thermostat will never make those numbers better(at least not in the for seeable future) but it will make the equipment operate, as you said closer to their optimum efficiency and squeeze ever last BTU out of the equipment before switching to backup heating so they are operating more efficiently but not rated any more efficient...

    In short get the XL20i heat pump, XC95 Modulating furnace and XL950 or TCONT900 thermostat :-)
    OK, I think we are on the same page per actual efficiency = actual savings.

    Now you've addressed my other question (which I appreciate). Why should I spend more to get the XC95 than say an 80% furnace when the furnace is just a backup that only gets used maybe 5-10% (let's assume) of the hours in the year? For instance, if my heating bill is $300 on an 80% furnace during the worst month of the year, then saving 15% for that entire month is only $45 per year. (In reality those 30 days may be scattered over 2-3 months, but it is the same difference).

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Posts
    11
    Quote Originally Posted by SkyHeating View Post
    Efficiency and savings are two different things... Will it add to your efficiency... no, will it save you money... YES
    Efficiency - How much energy it takes to heat or cool at a specific indoor temperature and outdoor temperature etc...
    Savings - How much money you will save because of "smarter" operation

    The ComfortLink II/XL950 will learn how to save you the most, things like running the outdoor heat pump to a lower temperature so you are not using gas, switching to gas instead of the heat pump right before a defrost cycle so the house doesn't get uncomfortable, ensuring the furnace is modulating up and down properly so you have the best airflow for efficiency and comfort.

    The module that people are mentioning is a BAY24CRPAC52DA and it is a 24 volt interface relay that turns the XL950 into a 24 volt instead of a 3 wire communicating system.

    As for being able to control all parts of your system via your phone/laptop... this is not available yet, only the Comfortlink(NOT THE ComfortLink II) is a Z-wave compatible with Schlage Link system, the upgrade (which will be downloaded over the internet capability of the XL950) will allow the XL950 to be a part of this system but no dates are announced yet. The Comfortlink Z-Wave thermostat is not a communicating stat, it is only a 24Volt stat.

    Here is a true XL20i heat pump with XC95M XL950 communicating system
    http://www.youtube.com/user/SkyHeati...14/IXnaWfkRfrw
    http://www.youtube.com/user/SkyHeati...13/sbyyx5fUD5E

    Both were installed by my employees.
    Hey Travis/SkyHeating, thanks for the videos of the XL20i and XL950. I am looking at those exact two items combined with the XC80 instead of 95 since it is in my attic. You seem to have experience with the ComfortLink II so could you answer these questions?

    Trane lists "communicating" XL16i models on their website but my contractor stated that only the XL20i will work with the XL950 control now. Is that the case?

    The XL20i heat pump I'm looking at will replace an old AC-only outdoor unit. My contractor stated that they will not need to run additional wiring to it for the communication to system to work properly, but implied that it would have been needed for the XL16i. Does that make sense?

    Third and final question: can you do an install in East Tennessee next week?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Palm Beach,Fl.
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    958
    The Communicating XL16i was discontinued right around the time the XL20i came out. Communicating systems generally operate with fewer control wires than conventional systems. A conventional 2 stage heatpump would need at least 6 wires while the communicating XL20i only needs up to 3.
    Quote Originally Posted by k-fridge View Post
    The laws of physics know no brand names.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Rochester NY
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    4,721
    Quote Originally Posted by SeekingHelp View Post
    If you define efficiency to be proportional to the energy it takes to heat/cool at any specific indoor/outdoor temps, then savings has to be directly proportional to efficiency because cost is directly proportional to the energy you use. i.e. you can't save money without being more efficient about the energy you use.

    If you are saying that the communication system allows the combined devices to run closer to their optimum efficiency more of the time (which is very plausible) than that's savings. Am I wrong?
    Nicely put.

    Besides some wonderful features for comfort and control, communicating takes the emergency brake off the furnace. Most furnaces have emergency brakes pulled up 1/2 way, making them much less efficient than their ratings. Some due to gross oversizing, other improper design issues, or bad installation.

    Communicating stats (carrier at least) do some really amazing things and can catch some of these issues too. Contractors are forced to be more careful with design and install because the furnace will catch them up.

    I would never recommend anything but a communicating furnace, except for geo which hasn't caught up with current furnace technology. That new Trane sounds really cool, please tell us how you like it.
    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.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Portland OR
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkberry View Post
    Hey Travis/SkyHeating, thanks for the videos of the XL20i and XL950. I am looking at those exact two items combined with the XC80 instead of 95 since it is in my attic. You seem to have experience with the ComfortLink II so could you answer these questions?

    Third and final question: can you do an install in East Tennessee next week?
    There are two reasons I don't install many XC80 furnaces... First my distributor in Portland sucks and has to factory order them because I am the only company in my 4 state area it seems that installs an XC80 and XL20i communicating system. The videos I showed were of the XC95M simply because at that time the rebate was not on the XC80 furnace so it was not cost effective. I just finished an XL20i and XV80 with XL950 stat this week and am putting in another XC80 and XL20i with a 950 next week. The customer with the XC80 didn't mind waiting a month for the furnace.

    Can we do an install in TN next week... Yes just pay the airfare for my employees I assure you they are smarter than I am ;-)
    Check out my YouTube channel - http://www.youtube.com/user/skyheating1 We have customer testimonials, product reviews and more!
    Like us on FACEBOOK if you like our advice here!

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