Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    20
    Post Likes

    Why is combo AHRI lists as SEER 14.0 seemingly NOT certified for sale in southeast?

    While researching various plausible combinations of various ICP/Carrier-manufactured condenser units when combined with the FV4C/FVM4X air handler, I discovered that there are some that seemingly satisfy the minimum 14-SEER requirement for sale in Florida, but appear to nevertheless be non-certified for sale in Florida.

    Specific example: Bryant 113A (specifically, 113ANA036BN**I) with Bryant FV4C (specifically, FV4CN(B,F)003L).

    According to the search results, the combo with AHRI certified reference number 9866871 is 33600BTU, has EER of 11.0, and SEER of 14.0. Nevertheless, when you view the actual certificate, it lists only states in the northern US.

    In contrast, the specific combination of Tempstar N4A336(A,G)LB** and FVM4X36***L is 33600BTU, has EER 11.50, and SEER of 14.0 Its AHRI certificate (9216686) states the SEER & EER, but has only boilerplate language about regional approval.

    At the end of the day, what actually determines whether or not a specific combo is officially acceptable for installation in the southeastern US? Does AHRI's reported SEER number triumph over all else, or are there additional factors that could cause a unit that seems to technically satisfy the SEER-14.0 minimum to nevertheless be non-approved?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    5,990
    Post Likes
    Maybe because the Tempstar meets the regional efficiency requirements with a 11.5 EER, whereas the Bryant says 11 EER. Guessing it’s not just the SEER rating alone.

    When rebates are involved as an example, they require a minimum SEER and...EER for straight A/C .

    For Heat Pumps it’s a minimum SEER and...HSPF not just SEER.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    40,306
    Post Likes
    Maybe because the unit is nominally a 13 SEER and requires the more expensive ECM air handler to qualify. And since crooked dealers could just slap the 13 SEER on a coil with old blower and call it a morning, they just don't sell "13 SEER" units in southern states.

    The SW region requires 14 SEER too but also a 12.2 EER requirement since they are so hot.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    20
    Post Likes
    Thread Starter
    The thing is, I was under the impression that EER applies ONLY to the southwest, and the southeast has ONLY a minimum SEER (of 14).

    As I understand it, the way the law was written works something like this:

    * If the condenser + air handler combo is listed in the AHRI directory and satisfies the minimum SEER requirement, it should (in theory) be automatically acceptable. This is what I'm trying to get someone to confirm.

    * If the condenser + air handler combo is listed in the AHRI directory, and that combo does not satisfy the minimum SEER requirement, it can not be legally installed.

    * The loophole: if the condenser + air handler combo is NOT explicitly listed in the AHRI directory, but the condenser itself satisfies the minimum SEER requirement when combined with at least ONE specific air handler that's listed in the AHRI directory, it's officially allowed absent explicit proof that the combo definitely would not satisfy the minimum SEER requirement.

    The loophole was required to avoid enabling manufacturers to weaponize the SEER requirement and use it as a tool to force total system replacements (if a manufacturer listed only one specific combination of condenser + air handler, then withdrew one of the two from the market, there would have been no legal way to substitute a different one when replacing a single failed component... even if, like ICP, the company had a dozen literally-identical models from a dozen brands that everyone KNEW had identical hardware, but were nevertheless not officially cross-listed by manufacturer business policy.) Likewise, it would have prevented someone from mixing a condenser and air handler from different manufacturers, even IF they WERE physically compatible (and plausibly had an acceptable or higher SEER) in real life.

    Put another way, installers are required to do due dilligence when verifying SEER-minimum compliance. If the directory says for a fact that a combination doesn't satisfy the minimums, it can't legally be installed... but if the directory says nothing about the combination, it's good enough for the installer to be able to demonstrate that the condenser COULD satisfy the requirement under at least ONE known scenario.

    From what I've learned, the only combinations that would truly be almost guaranteed to be dysfunctional -- regardless of legality -- would be a high-SEER condenser with a non-TXV air handler... or a non-adjustable TXV on the air handler of inappropriate size. From everything I've read, there's actually NO SUCH THING as an immutably-literal "3-ton air handler" (vs a "2.5-ton" or "4-ton" air handler), In reality, you have air handlers that are sold with a factory-installed TXV of a particular size that's certified by the manufacturer and listed with AHRI to work with certain condensers, and other air handlers that require a field-installed TXV & can easily handle a whole range of sizes (almost always, at least 0.5-ton plus or minus its nominal size, sometimes an even greater range if you accept reduced SEER/EER). But in reality, you have two fairly large baskets of capabilities at varying performance levels, only a few of which are explicitly documented and certified.

    Worst-case, if the government decided to REALLY clamp down in the future and require field tests documenting that a new combo came at least plausibly within range of satisfying higher SEER minimums, someone with a relatively new 3-ton air handler (equipped with TXV) that was 12-13 SEER when combined with its original condenser could almost always replace the condenser with a 2.5 ton 16-18-SEER unit, then replace or adjust the TXV enough to bring the combo's real-world performance high enough to plausibly scrape a performance-tested minimum SEER of 14-15 SEER. Manufacturers want people to THINK that any combo not officially certified by them is guaranteed to perform miserably, break, or be illegal... but the real-world situation is a lot more 'gray', especially when combining air handlers with a slightly-undersized condenser. They just know that most people who shop for new systems aren't going to spend weeks doing exhaustive research and shopping for a new air conditioner the way they'd plan out a new PC (or semi-custom gaming/performance notebook). ;-)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    3,555
    Post Likes
    Why are you wasting your time with this? Just buy an approved match up and be done with it. Why do you need to buy the bottom most Carrier unit, is it $25 less than the approved match up?

    Do you really think the gov't is coming after anyone? All the gov't does make foolish laws, then the other side finds a way to undermine them. It's an absolutely ridiculous game. They make rules, and NOBODY enforces them. Do you really think the EPA or DOE send field agents out to find people breaking their laws? It's all a big game, and the consumer pays for them to play their game. SEER ratings SHMEAR ratings, it's one huge joke and the American consumer is the butt of that joke...

    Please tell me what the difference is between most single stage 16 SEER models and their 14 SEER models? A couple rows of coils?
    So, why do mfgs spend all of that money to keep separate assembly lines to make the different SEER units? A 14 SEER model matched with a txv and high efficiency blower will perform at the same EER efficiency as an 18 SEER, and in some cases better. I find some 20 SEER models with 13.5 EER and some good 14 SEER match ups get 14 EER. It's a friggin joke. The SEER ratings are all a fabricated hoax to get the consumer to spend more money. The increased cost of a 16 SEER single stage unit over a 14 SEER will likely break even in utilities at the 15 year mark.

    Manufacturer's should produce 3 units, a single stage, a 2 stage and a variable speed, period. There's no need for 10 different models. There are differences in the performance of these products.
    Last edited by mgenius33; 10-03-2019 at 04:15 PM.
    "The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing" Socrates

  6. Likes joemach liked this post
  7. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    20
    Post Likes
    Thread Starter
    Partially, because at this moment, I have literally no idea how much the price spread is between the lowest unit and the more expensive ones, so I'm covering all of my bases and researching all the units that can possibly be used with it all the way down to the bottom one. If it literally is a difference of $25, obviously I won't bother with the bottom one. If it's a difference of a few hundred dollars, the bottom will get quite a bit more scrutiny.

    To be honest, I've come to the conclusion that everybody's present-day units are shit and garbage likely to develop unit-killing coil leaks within a few years. I picked the air handler with the features I demand and won't live without, but as far as I'm concerned at this point, the condenser is a throw-away consumable that's likely to die before the warranty ends anyway, so it's not worth spending a cent more on than I absolutely HAVE to. Ergo, I've been busy at AHRI's site systematically checking every single condenser compatible with the Carrier/Bryant/Payne FV4C and Tempstar/Day&Night/Heil FVM4X to pick 3-4 of each brand:

    * the cheapest one that will work

    * the middle one likely to be the most quiet at 125hz and 250hz (the frequencies most likely to penetrate the concrete roof down to my bedroom)

    * one or two higher-end ones that are higher-SEER and/or quieter... giving special preference to models with single-row coils over multi-row (more repairable), and more circuits over fewer (with more circuits, I could conceivably deal with a future fatal leak by just having that whole circuit closed off & have the TXV and blower adjusted to treat the condenser like a de-facto 2.25-2.5 ton coil until I felt like finally replacing the condenser).

    Honestly, I wish I could just get installers to say, "here's our supplier's web site, here's our mark-up, have fun and get back to us when you decide exactly what you want" so I could agonize over options without annoying them. I really hate dealing with situations where I have to keep asking someone for prices, because in those situations I feel like I need to know precisely what I want before I ask for the first price at all. Unfortunately, that means I also get stuck spending hours investigating potential scenarios I might have dismissed instantly had I known in advance how much of a potential difference in price I was talking about.

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    20
    Post Likes
    Thread Starter
    The main differences (among ICP's middle and lower-end condensers) I've found:

    Most of ICP's 3-ton compressors draw 13.6A. Some draw 14.1.

    Most of their condenser fans draw 1.1A. A few draw 1.4, and a couple draw 0.9, 0.75, or 0.5A.

    Condenser noise blankets lower the "average" noise rating by 1-2dB... but seem to actually make lower-frequency noise (125hz-500hz) LOUDER. As a practical matter, a 10dB difference correlates to approximately a doubling in perceived volume (6dB doubles air pressure, 3dB doubles power... but in the real world, 3dB and 6dB are mostly just theoretical differences).

    Their really low-end units have 2"-spacing coil guards. Their better units have 3/8" coil guards (which also seem to be available as an option for most of them). Their better units have slat grilles with solid corners. Their best units have the same metal as the better ones, but with a nicer color scheme.

    Their cheapest condenser is almost always their loudest... but their other lower-end condensers seem to often be quieter than many of their higher-end condensers, ESPECIALLY at the lower end of the frequency spectrum. With respect to higher frequencies, they seem to have a general cadence moving from bottom to top where SEER increments by one, and noise increases by 5-10dB. Move up another model, and the SEER remains constant, while the noise drops back down almost to what it was in the unit two models down.

    I'm still trying to figure out what general feature clump is supposed to distinguish a Bryant 10X series condenser from a 11X series from a 12X series. There really doesn't seem to be much of a coherent progression among them, and they seem to just jump all over the place with respect to current draw, noise, and coil rows/circuits. Ditto for Tempstar's N4A vs NXA families.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, Oh
    Posts
    7,131
    Post Likes
    The difference between seer levels is generally in the 100s, not 10s. Just an FYI.

    I’m glad to see you are looking into swapping out that rooftop for a split.

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2019
    Posts
    20
    Post Likes
    Thread Starter
    Yeah, I had a couple of installers come by today who agreed that the conversion would be fairly straightforward & easy. I was on the wall over it before, but you helped nudge me in the right direction :-)

    One of the installers today came up with a fantastic idea to save a lot of money by eliminating the need for a roofer altogether. His idea was to just remove the lid from the doghouse, cut away the top 2 feet of the doghouse with an air saw so it's only a foot tall, run the new refrigerant lines and condensate line through the roof hole presently used by the supply duct (then out horizontally through the doghouse side), then put the lid back on top. Once that's done, if I feel like it needs additional waterproofing, I can go a step further and waterproof the whole thing with a few coats of silicone elastomeric roof membrane. The condenser itself can go on the same metal rack the existing unit is sitting on, so the roof won't have to be changed at all.

    He also pointed out that moving the air handler inside should make a big difference in my electricity usage, SEER notwithstanding, simply because my old system had to suck and blow air through a pair of metaphorical cocktail straws... a pair of 12" diameter holes that were barely legal back in 1981 for a 2.5-ton system, and outright inadequate in 2019 for a 3-ton system (tolerated, just because it would have been cost-prohibitive to enlarge them since they were formed in a concrete slab, but definitely not good). Also, the new system will keep all the ductwork entirely inside the air conditioned space, while the old one sent it on a 6-foot detour through a leaky metal box under the beating sun protected by nothing more than a half-inch of the cheapest fiberglass insulation Bryant could line the inside with.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    SW FL
    Posts
    9,501
    Post Likes
    SEVERAL 113A combinations on __ PAGES 24 TO 36

    https://dms.hvacpartners.com/docs/10...PDS113A-10.pdf

    OR 116B
    https://dms.hvacpartners.com/docs/10...PDS116B-02.pdf


    BRYANT = CARRIER

    SPECIFIC Selection: Review with the A.H.J. in your locale
    ………………….. BUILDING DEPARTMENT

    FBC Section EC
    https://codes.iccsafe.org/content/FE...rgy-efficiency
    Attached Images Attached Images  
    Designer Dan
    It's Not Rocket Science, But It is SCIENCE with "Some Art". ___ ___ K EEP I T S IMPLE & S INCERE

    Define the Building Envelope and Perform a Detailed Load Calc: It's ALL About Windows and Make-up Air Requirements. Know Your Equipment Capabilities

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •