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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    46
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    Advice on Lennox System in New House

    I need advice on which unit to upgrade to. My brother is having a new house built in North Carolina. Main floor, top floor and a basement that is aproximatly 4200 sq.ft. The builder is contracting the HVAC out and I was told the system must be Lennox as that is their preferred supplier.

    Currently they will have one system with two zones for the main floor and upstairs. Then a second unit for the basement. The units will be Merit 14ACX Air Conditioner and ML180 Gas Furnace.

    Since he wants to keep this house over 10 years I'm thinking it makes sense to upgrade to a higher end system but I don't know anything about Lennox and which are the reliable models. From my researching I've found the following.

    Apologize for all the questions but I'm told we can only decide during the design stange and no changes are permitted. So once I'm there I would have narrowed down my options and it would decide right away without questioning my decision.


    1) I want to add a de-humidity control system
    Lennox has two systems.
    Humiditrol - Whole-Home Dehumidifcation System & The Whole-Home Dumidifier
    Both have terrible reviews... so I don't know which one to get. Also would I get TWO systems? One for mainfloor and upstairs and second for basement or just one upstairs?

    2) Upgrading the Merit 14ACX system to either the Elite XC16 or Signature XC21. If sticking with Merit I read the 14CX is a much better built system and gives 10 years vs 5years warranty.
    I keep reading the variable systems don't work with Nest thermostat and are not as reliable long term. So I'm thinking on sticking with the Two-Stage.
    Except if you recommend one stage for reliablity then Maybe the EL16XC1

    3) Upgrading the Gas Furnace from ML180. Now here is where I need some advice as I know nothing about gas furnaces coming from Canada we have heat pumps only. Is it worth upgrading the a higher effiency burner? two stage? variable? How is the reliablity on those units?

    If I stay in the Merit ML180E has a Torque Motor or I jump into the Elite EL280E or Signature SL280V (I think this models needs a communicator)?


    Summary (These are the options I found on the website but there is probably more)
    Option A
    14ACX with ML180
    Option B
    14CX with ML180
    Option C
    XC16 with EL180E

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Southold, NY
    Posts
    27,288
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    The installing contractor is more important then the name on the box’s.
    2 story’s 2 systems.

    Is that a 160K BTU Furnace?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Athens, Ohio
    Posts
    7,313
    Post Likes
    Don’t choose ANYTHING until you have a load calculation in hand. Brand means nothing, the installation means everything, duct design included.
    AOP Rules: Rules For Equipment Owners.

    Free online load calculator: http://www.loadcalc.net/


    There = not here. Their = possessive pronoun. They're = they are
    It's = contraction of it is. Its = the possessive form of it
    Too = also. To = expressing motion. Two = 2
    Then = after that, next. Than = indicates a comparison.
    Questions should end with a question mark "?" Statements end with a period "."

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    6,789
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    Says the Merit 14ACX can achieve up to 16 SEERS depending on indoor matched selection. Ask them for a AHRI number to prove your getting a matched system.

    There are rebates and Federal Tax Credits for installing energy star rated matched systems meeting a minimum SEER and EER.

    Without a AHRI matched system your only guessing what the SEER and EER will be.

    Say you need to register the system to get the 10 year compressor and parts warranty, don’t know where you got 5 year warranty if your referring to the 14ACX. All unit mentioned look to have the basic 10/10 warranty once registered.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    SW FL
    Posts
    9,992
    Post Likes

    Heat Gain & Loss Calc = Priority

    Quote Originally Posted by tilhasbb View Post
    I need advice on which unit to upgrade to. My brother is having a new house built in North Carolina. Main floor, top floor and a basement that is aproximatly 4200 sq.ft. The builder is contracting the HVAC out and I was told the system must be Lennox as that is their preferred supplier.

    Currently they will have one system with two zones for the main floor and upstairs. Then a second unit for the basement. The units will be Merit 14ACX Air Conditioner and ML180 Gas Furnace.

    Since he wants to keep this house over 10 years I'm thinking it makes sense to upgrade to a higher end system but I don't know anything about Lennox and which are the reliable models. From my researching I've found the following.

    Apologize for all the questions but I'm told we can only decide during the design stange and no changes are permitted. So once I'm there I would have narrowed down my options and it would decide right away without questioning my decision.


    1) I want to add a de-humidity control system
    Lennox has two systems.

    Humiditrol - Whole-Home Dehumidification System & The Whole-Home Dumidifier
    Both have terrible reviews... so I don't know which one to get.

    Also would I get TWO systems?
    One for mainfloor and upstairs and second for basement or just one upstairs?

    2) Upgrading the Merit 14ACX system to either the Elite XC16 or Signature XC21.

    If sticking with Merit I read the 14CX is a much better built system and gives 10 years vs 5years warranty.

    I keep reading the variable systems don't work with Nest thermostat and are not as reliable long term. So I'm thinking on sticking with the Two-Stage.

    Except if you recommend one stage for reliability then Maybe the EL16XC1

    3) Upgrading the Gas Furnace from ML180.
    Now here is where I need some advice as I know nothing about gas furnaces coming from Canada we have heat pumps only.

    Is it worth upgrading the a higher efficiency burner?
    two stage?
    variable?
    How is the reliability on those units?

    If I stay in the Merit ML180E has a Torque Motor or I jump into the Elite EL280E or Signature SL280V (I think this models needs a communicator)?

    Summary
    (These are the options I found on the website but there is probably more)
    Option A
    14ACX with ML180
    Option B
    14CX with ML180
    Option C
    XC16 with EL180E
    LOCATION : _ _ _ _ _ ZIP
    ------------------ MURPHY to MANTEO, NC =~ 540 miles

    Start with
    ACCA Manual J Calculation

    THERMAL BUILDING ENVELOPE
    Define:
    Windows SHGC < 0.28; U-factor < 0.30
    Total Glass Area < 440 Sq feet

    1,400 Sq Ft / Floor ?
    48' x 30' ___x ~ 9' Wall Height
    Perimeter: __ ~ 160 Feet / Floor

    R-38 Ceiling __ | or | R-28 Spray Foam on Rafters
    R-18 Walls

    Basement: Entirely below ground ?
    R- __ Basement Walls

    Heat Pump __ ?
    Electric Rate: $ 0._ _ / kw-hr

    Heat Loss << 47,000 BTU/HR __ ?
    Design Temperature: 18'F or 25'F ? _ ZIP Dependent.!


    My Gmail address: racingdan11
    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

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    46
    Post Likes
    Thread Starter
    Thank you everyone.

    I can not adjust the sizing, this is a prefab home and they have built over 20 of these identical homes in the last 5 years. Same sizes ducting and systems. The only thing the builder will allow me to adjust is going to a higher model and paying the difference. It's frustrating but it does give me comfort that they've done it 20 times before and it's the same contractor installing the units in all of them.


    Location: 28277

    Low E vinyl windows with tilt sash, & insulated glass

    Aprox
    930sq ft Basement
    1,635sq ft Floor 1
    1,635sq ft Floor 2

    Walls R-15
    Ceiling R-38
    Vault R-38
    Ceiling Attic R-38 Fiberglass

    Land is on a slope so the basement isn't in the ground. Picture is worth a million words https://imgur.com/SG3Xd0N

    Electricty 10.42˘/kWh
    Gas rates 11.49$/Mcf

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    SW FL
    Posts
    9,992
    Post Likes

    Thumbs up Selection, Sizing Criteria and Operating Cost

    Quote Originally Posted by tilhasbb View Post
    Thank you everyone.

    I can not adjust the sizing, this is a prefab home and they have built over 20 of these identical homes in the last 5 years. Same sizes ducting and systems. The only thing the builder will allow me to adjust is going to a higher model and paying the difference. It's frustrating but it does give me comfort that they've done it 20 times before and it's the same contractor installing the units in all of them.


    Location: 28277

    Low E vinyl windows with tilt sash, & insulated glass

    Aprox
    930sq ft Basement
    1,635sq ft Floor 1
    1,635sq ft Floor 2


    Walls R-15
    Ceiling R-38
    Vault R-38
    Ceiling Attic R-38 Fiberglass

    Land is on a slope so the basement isn't in the ground.
    Picture is worth a million words https://imgur.com/SG3Xd0N


    Electricty 10.42˘/kWh

    Gas rates 11.49$/Mcf
    34,200 BTU/HR HEAT LOSS AT 25'F

    27,000 BTU/HR HEAT GAIN AT 92'F _ Sensible
    35,100 BTU/HR ________________ _ TOTAL at S.H.R. 0.77

    __ Central N.C. __ 35.22'N 80.94'W

    HEATING DEGREE DAYS 3,100
    COOLING DEGREE DAYS 1,690 __ 1,400 Operating Hours
    16 SEER

    Heat Pump _ $580 _____ 80% FURNACE $ 795
    Cooling ____ $430
    ________ _ $1,010
    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

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    46
    Post Likes
    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by dan sw fl View Post
    34,200 BTU/HR HEAT LOSS AT 25'F

    27,000 BTU/HR HEAT GAIN AT 92'F _ Sensible
    35,100 BTU/HR ________________ _ TOTAL at S.H.R. 0.77

    __ Central N.C. __ 35.22'N 80.94'W

    HEATING DEGREE DAYS 3,100
    COOLING DEGREE DAYS 1,690 __ 1,400 Operating Hours
    16 SEER

    Heat Pump _ $580 _____ 80% FURNACE $ 795
    Cooling ____ $430
    ________ _ $1,010
    Thank you!

    How are you calculating the heating?
    If it's a heatpump it's using electricty. In my case I'm using gas: How much would that be?
    Now you got me thinking maybe a heatpump will be cheaper to operate for heating than gas furnace.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    6,789
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    “ Now you got me thinking maybe a heatpump will be cheaper to operate for heating than gas furnace”

    Maybe consider a Hybrid system ( Heat Pump and Gas furnace ) if your considering a Heat Pump keeping the gas. Outdoor temperatures on the warmer side the HP runs, colder the OD temperature it switches to gas automatically.

    Straight HP? What happens if HP fails, what’s your backup heat? Chances you would need electric heat strips, adding to cost of running added wires.
    Last edited by Bazooka Joey; 03-16-2020 at 10:19 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    46
    Post Likes
    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by Bazooka Joey View Post
    “ Now you got me thinking maybe a heatpump will be cheaper to operate for heating than gas furnace”

    Maybe consider a Hybrid system ( Heat Pump and Gas furnace ) if your considering a Heat Pump keeping the gas. Outdoor temperatures on the warmer side the HP runs, colder the OD temperature it switches to gas automatically.

    Straight HP? What happens if HP fails, what’s your backup heat? Chances you would need electric heat strips, adding to cost of running added wires.
    What happens if furnace fails? I don't have a backup either.
    I do have two systems. If top heating fails it's not a problem because basement heating will go up. If basement fails, it never really goes below freezing for over a night. The radiative heat from upstairs will keep the pipes from freezing.
    My real backup is my fireplace


    I think we are going off topic.
    Let's look at the cooling system and furnace first.
    1)
    Which one would you think makes sense
    14ACX
    14CX
    16XC

    2)
    If I stayed with a furnace
    ML180 vs ML193E
    80% vs 93% efficency
    795$ vs 692$ => 4-5Years ROI

    What about ML180 vs ML180E
    Single speed vs Torque Motor.

    Which one is more reliable and better comfort?

    3) Most importantly
    Which dehumidification system?

    Humiditrol - Whole-Home Dehumidifcation System & The Whole-Home Dumidifier

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    New England
    Posts
    6,789
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    Chances are your basic uncomplicated indoor located 80% furnace ( away from the elements ) will be down a shorter time and failure rate will be less than a complicated, many more moving parts higher mileage exposed to the environment Heat Pump..I’m sure you guys will figure out a system.

    You asked for opinions.

    Remember to register your system of choice as manufacturers warranty decreases significantly if never registered.

    Ask them for a startup/commissioning report to be left on the job site along with all the installation guides of the equipment. Things like static pressure, temperature rise across HX ( if you go gas furnace ) amprege draws of all motors and the compressor, final refrigerant field adjustment charge, blower speed, among other things are within manufacturers specifications.

    BTW did not see a 14CX model you referenced as a current model in your option B

    Option A
    14ACX with ML180
    Option B
    14CX with ML180
    Option C
    XC16 with EL180E

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    New England
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by tilhasbb View Post
    What happens if furnace fails? I don't have a backup either.
    I do have two systems. If top heating fails it's not a problem because basement heating will go up. If basement fails, it never really goes below freezing for over a night. The radiative heat from upstairs will keep the pipes from freezing.
    My real backup is my fireplace


    I think we are going off topic.
    Let's look at the cooling system and furnace first.
    1)
    Which one would you think makes sense
    14ACX
    14CX
    16XC

    2)
    If I stayed with a furnace
    ML180 vs ML193E
    80% vs 93% efficency
    795$ vs 692$ => 4-5Years ROI

    What about ML180 vs ML180E
    Single speed vs Torque Motor.

    Which one is more reliable and better comfort?

    3) Most importantly
    Which dehumidification system?

    Humiditrol - Whole-Home Dehumidifcation System & The Whole-Home Dumidifier
    Not aware they make a 14CX model. Certainly I could be wrong.

    Which one is more reliable- The one that the Installing Contractor follows the install guide as closely as possible and practices good install procedures ( quality of install ) having correctly sized and ductwork layout, correct load calculation, would be my guess..

    “What about ML180 vs ML180E
    Single speed vs Torque Motor.”

    Looks like the ML180 comes with the multi speed PSC motor, ( doubt its a one speed motor tap, probably has three or four taps, it just runs on one RPM speed depending on which tap is selected, such as , low, medium low, medium, or high ) nothing wrong with that motor, manufacturers stopped production of furnaces with PSC motors in 3 July 2019, due to concentration of more energy efficient ECM motors technology.
    Last edited by Bazooka Joey; 03-16-2020 at 11:29 AM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    46
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by Bazooka Joey View Post
    Not aware they make a 14CX model. Certainly I could be wrong.

    Which one is more reliable- The one that the Installing Contractor follows the install guide as closely as possible and practices good install procedures ( quality of install ) having correctly sized and ductwork layout, correct load calculation, would be my guess..

    Looks like the ML180 comes with the PSC motor, nothing wrong with that motor, manufacturers stopped production of furnaces with PSC motors in July 2019 I think, due to concentration of more energy efficient ECM motors technology.
    XC14 vs 14ACX
    https://hvac-talk.com/vbb/showthread...43#post1863443

    Installed is fixed: I can not control this.

    What about the humidity control system? Both have BAD reviews and I'm locked to using a Lennox system if I want the same installer.
    Humiditrol - Whole-Home Dehumidifcation System OR The Whole-Home Dumidifier

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