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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    70
    I am throwing this question out to this forum. (Thanks in advance!)

    I live in Minnesota (I can give more detials on the size of house, etc., if this is relevant). I am in the process of getting bids to replace furnace and AC. Also an issue I'd like to address is a problem of keeping our basement warm in winter.

    Contarctor 1: Fantastic referrals, very service-oriented, big company (75 years in business). Rep spent 2+ hours looking at system, looking at home (e.g., counting vents and returns on each floor), asking about concerns. Will do a heat calculation to confirm sizing. Proposed Bryant 90i (two-stage) with Puron AC (Model 550A, 13 SEER).

    Contractor 2: Small company (but over 20 years old), very low-key (perhaps because sales rep was on vacation, so a service tech came out). Rep quickly looked at existing furnace and AC, proposed replacing with same rated units, was through in under 30 minutes. Will bid a Ruud Modulating 90+ (and will also price the 2-stage at my request) and an R-22, 13-SEER AC unit (said he didn't trust the Puron units and that there would be no problems servicing R-22 into the future).

    As an engineer, I am enthralled with the modulating furnace. Seems perfect fo the frigid north. However, Contractor 1 (Bryant) seems to be willing to make sure they do everything right. Everyone says the installation is more imprtant than the unit... Also concerned about R-22 AC; would a repair 15 years out be insanely expensive?

    Please, your opinions. Go with one of these? Get more bids? Thanks, again!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Eastern PA
    Posts
    68,944
    Simply put; there is no actual comparison to the Rheem/Ruud modulating furnace. It is in a catagory all by itself.

    That does not make it a worth the cost benefit in all situations however. I like to refer to the mod as a freak of the industry, because it is not a furnace that I have a comparable model to do battle against But again; just because the mod has specific advantages does not mean it is going to be a noticeable difference in comfort.

    The other issue is that the mod furnace must be installed in a very particular manner and must use the fuzzy logic thermostat and controls in order to make it at all beneficial. I have seen and heard of more mods installed in a way that they are no more beneficial than a single or two stage furnace then those that are properly installed and set up.

    For extreme comfort in a home with problematic thermal/stratification issues, nothing on the market can compare to a properly installed and set up mod furnace.

    As for the service tech rather then a sales rep doing the quote; I have more confidence in the guy who has to work on equipment then the guy whose only connection to the equipment is his commision check.
    Government is a disease...
    ...masquerading as its own cure…
    Ecclesiastes 10:2 NIV


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    347
    It’s hard to say what the future will bring. The equipment manufactures are not making the stuff with r-22 in it. Doesn’t mean there won’t be r-22 to put in it. I personally would get at least one more bid, for similar equipment. Then decide on which company will do the best job for a fair price. My company is usually the highest priced company out but we sell more jobs a year than competitors on quality of work, service after the sale, reliability.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,196
    R22 equipment can be made until 2010. That's 4 long years, so yes, equipment manufacturers ARE making goodies with R22 in it. R22 will be available new until 2020 and longer in recovered form plus there are new gases that work in place of R22 out now. One has a newer version coming soon, don't know the details.

    If I were doing it, I'd go R22 myself.

    As for sizing, looks like neither did any heat gain/loss calc. Counting registers doesn't tell much.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    70
    Originally posted by RoBoTeq
    But again; just because the mod has specific advantages does not mean it is going to be a noticeable difference in comfort.

    The other issue is that the mod furnace must be installed in a very particular manner and must use the fuzzy logic thermostat and controls in order to make it at all beneficial. I have seen and heard of more mods installed in a way that they are no more beneficial than a single or two stage furnace then those that are properly installed and set up.
    So how do I assess whether this company can set up this great piece of equipment properly? Call the owner and grill him with any particular questions?

    I could call another Ruud or Rheem contractor for another bid, but it is hard to know whom to call...

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Here and there
    Posts
    4,804
    As robo says go fot the best folks to install it !!!! My mod will only do as well as it is installed. His goodman can do better if set up right
    i belong to peta ... people eating tasty animals. all my opinions are just mine.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Eastern PA
    Posts
    68,944
    With the mod, and there are others here who are more up on this furnace then I am now, I would ask if the thermostat that is required for full modulating efficiency is being quoted as well as subtleties like; Where in the duct will you be locating the "leaving air sensor". Questions like these will let the quoting contractor know you are learning about this system and will require it be installed properly.

    The other side of this issue is this; will you noticeably benefit from a mod furnace or do you just want the neat technology? If the latter, I can understand and appreciate
    Government is a disease...
    ...masquerading as its own cure…
    Ecclesiastes 10:2 NIV


  8. #8
    contractor #2 inexperienced. most of your advanced contractors have already moved toward r410 systems. also contactor #2 will be the first to down grade every engineered advancement in a/c mostly becuase most residential companys like simplicity over and above anything else. they will tell you r410 a is no good, zoning system are not very reliable and so forth which are false statements.
    bryant system is a better quality system than ruud. i would go back to contractor 1 and get him to bid you modulating furnace which is probably better known as a variable speed gas furnace.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    70
    Originally posted by RoBoTeq
    The other side of this issue is this; will you noticeably benefit from a mod furnace or do you just want the neat technology? If the latter, I can understand and appreciate
    Of course, I am enamored with the technology, but I do think my home will benefit. We have a two-story with a finished, walk-out basement. The vents in the basement run through the slab, under the floor (transit heating?). Even if we run the fan continuously, the basement stays 5-10 degrees cooler. One theory is that the furnace on-off cycle is too short to heat up the vent run under the slab, so not enough heat is delivered. Under these conditions, the modulating furnace should benefit comfort. Do you agree?

    P.S. I'd rather solve this problem simply and inexpensively, rather than, say, retrofitting a zone system or installing a separate furnace for the basement.

    Thanks for the suggestions, I'll get a list of questions together to ask about the install. Since you seem to be a Rheem/Ruud guy, what do you think of the AC choice? I see they do make the new AC units with R-410A.

    [Edited by jeff-4 on 01-28-2006 at 05:44 PM]

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    70
    Originally posted by airworx
    bryant system is a better quality system than ruud. i would go back to contractor 1 and get him to bid you modulating furnace which is probably better known as a variable speed gas furnace.
    Thanks for your opinion! The Bryant unit is their top-of-the-line, variable fan furnace but only two-stage heating, not fully modulating.

    I'd really like to hear a Bryant person tout their product's advantages...

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Posts
    46
    What is the difference between a fully modulating furnace a variable speed, two stage furnace?

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Location
    Eastern PA
    Posts
    68,944
    Jeff, from what you are describing as to the conditions of your home, I agree that the mod furnace...properly set up with the proper thermostat...will benefit you from a comfort standpoint.

    I used to rep Rheem/Ruud but have been repping for another brand for the past six years. I was on board with Rheem/Ruud as a contractor when the mod was first made available and installed the first one in Maryland. I think it is a great furnace (for a freak ) and the closest thing to a perfect furnace in that it will operate at the lowest possible heat and blower speed nearly constantly to keep your home comfy without having to cycle on and off.

    As for the Bryant comments, I have nothing against Bryant, but not only is Bryant no better then any other comparable furnace on the market, Bryand has nothing to compare with the Rheem/Ruud mod. Then there is the matter of Bryant still using the clam shell heat exchanger.
    Government is a disease...
    ...masquerading as its own cure…
    Ecclesiastes 10:2 NIV


  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,196
    This chart shows the heat loss of the house as it gets colder out. It also shows the output of a 2 stage furnace, in this case a Bryant/Carrier 355/MVP. The 3rd line shows the output of a Mod going from 40% when it will cycle to 100% on the coldest day. The output of the Mod nearly perfectly follows the needs of the house. No feeling warm as the furnace runs and cold when it cycles off. Just perfect, steady warmth, like a car heater can do. Only this is automatic.

    I'm not afraid of R410a, like many I am used to R22 and see no reason at this point not to stay with it. Rheem/Ruud certainly has R410a machines available if someone desires. Most brands still have many more R22 units out.


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