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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    Selection of Stages, VSB, ECM and More

    My wife and I bought a fixer upper just under one year ago. We have renovated top to bottom and had planned to replace the upstairs split AC/Gas Furnace next year. Well the compressor decided we would do it sooner. Last Saturday evening the compressor died and with the system being 15 years old decided against repairs and are looking to replace the mechanicals. All contractors have said the ductwork appears in good repair.

    Presently it's a 2.5 (10 SEER) Ton American Standard system with the aforementioned gas furnace
    (? BTU's). I've had 4 contractors out for quotes and they all recommend something different as well as presenting from builder grade models to high end American Standard units. The house is circa 1983 so it's not completely energy efficient in itself.

    Most have recommended a 16 SEER Condenser and 80% AFUE Furnace. They have also recommended single stage units. I worked in HVAC from 1985-90 while in College and it appears things have changed a lot. I live in the Upstate of SC which is an hour below Charlotte, NC. We have reasonable Winters and brutally hot, humid and long Summers.

    I like the attributes of the variable speed motors given during the Winter when the furnace comes on it's so hot is sometimes wakes me up. One contractor felt his Lennox ML180 Furnace with an ECM motor would help that problem without the full variable cost.

    My terminology may not be correct, but trying to decide on the best SEER, AFUE and type of blower system for my area. Also should I stay away from their base models such as Merit and go for Elite to help with warranty, etc.? It appears the American Standard and Lennox dealers have the best plan and ratings so will likely go with those brands.

    Thank you so much for your help.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
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    If you expect to get 16 SEER, the furnace needs an ECM inside, either constant torque or variable speed. Otherwise save your money and get a 14 SEER.

    The ML180 is bottom of the line Mexican made (if you care) furnace with PSC motor. For the constant torque ECM, you'd need the better and American made EL180E. Then your 16 SEER will really get what you expect.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by BaldLoonie View Post
    If you expect to get 16 SEER, the furnace needs an ECM inside, either constant torque or variable speed. Otherwise save your money and get a 14 SEER.

    The ML180 is bottom of the line Mexican made (if you care) furnace with PSC motor. For the constant torque ECM, you'd need the better and American made EL180E. Then your 16 SEER will really get what you expect.

    I had him redo the quote using the same XC14-030 condensing unit, this time with the SL280V Signature Series furnace. Surprisingly it was only $300 more than the original quote while giving me a supposedly better furnace. I asked about the condensing unit and he suggested sticking with it as it has proven to be a reliable and very popular unit. I also asked for pricing on extended labor warranties, do you recommend these? He quoted up to 10 years.

    The funny thing is our current house is 2700 ft. and built in 1983 while our other house was built in 2007 at 1800 sq. ft. , but the electric/gas bills are about the same. Guess you have to love those cathedral ceilings.

    This dealer has been the most professional and thorough of the group so I believe I will go with him. He also has good online reviews and as everyone has said, that is more important than the equipment.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2000
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    Indianapolis, IN, USA
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    XC14 and SL280V would be a nice system. If you are looking 10 years in the house, extended warranty might be wise, sad to say. Ask him who is backing it? Can any dealer service you or is it his warranty?

  5. Likes awraynor liked this post
  6. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by BaldLoonie View Post
    XC14 and SL280V would be a nice system. If you are looking 10 years in the house, extended warranty might be wise, sad to say. Ask him who is backing it? Can any dealer service you or is it his warranty?
    He didn't really say, I'll have to ask. I was surprised by the small price difference. This dealer has been really good to work with, professional, computer generated reports and responsive. He offered Armstrong at first, but I wasn't as familiar with that brand. I think this and added more blown insulation to the house will help.

    We bought the house from a 70-year old widower with custody of her 4-year old grandchild. Almost nothing had been done in the last 30 years. A lot of elbow grease and we're getting there. The worse by far was sanding 50 stained and polyurethaned cabinet doors to barewood. Now to degloss them, drill holes for hidden cabinet hinges, paint and rehang.
    You can't change location and in our case it's been worth the effort.

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