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Thread: Magic-Pak Replacement

  1. #1
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    Magic-Pak Replacement

    Hello Folks,

    I'm new here.
    I have a 19 year old Magic-Pak unit that I've been thinking of getting replaced.
    There's some work that needs to be done in my HVAC closet, which means they have to remove and re-install the old unit.

    I want to use the opportunity to replace my unit with a new one.

    I have an Armstrong unit (51HWC303A-2B), and have a vendor who proposed a National Comfort Unit (CPG CPG42351-U).
    I want to confirm that those are comparable and that, ideally, the new unit is better for my condo.

    I have an 850 sq. ft unit downtown Chicago (so winters are rough ). It's an industrial style condo with the vents on 1 side of the condo.

    Would love to hear thoughts on the comfort pack vs magic pak, and what you think it should cost to replace the unit.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    Check manufacturer warranty between the two also as the National Comfort shows a 5 years parts, 5 years compressor, and 10 year Heat Exchanger. and 12 SEER. The NCU looks to be a 2 ton whereas your existing unit looks to be a 2.5 ton.

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...9LBwcm6bkX86qO

    Both look to to be 51K BTU input.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bazooka Joey View Post
    Check manufacturer warranty between the two also as the National Comfort shows a 5 years parts, 5 years compressor, and 10 year Heat Exchanger. and 12 SEER. The NCU looks to be a 2 ton whereas your existing unit looks to be a 2.5 ton.

    https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=...9LBwcm6bkX86qO

    Both look to to be 51K BTU input.
    Regarding a smaller unit - since so many contractors install oversized equipment, you should have a Manual J load calculation performed BEFORE getting new equipment. It is likely that your 2.5 ton unit is too big and a 2 ton or even 1.5 ton unit would be a better choice.
    *********
    https://www.hvac20.com/ High efficiency equipment alone does not provide home comfort and efficiency. HVAC2.0 is a process for finding the real needs of the house and the occupants. Offer the customer a menu of work to address their problems and give them a probability of success.

    Find contractors with specialized training in combustion analysis, residential system performance, air flow, and duct optimization https://www.myhomecomfort.org/


    Site member map HERE!

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  5. #4
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    Thread Starter
    A few more questions...
    How valuable is it to get a high efficiency system? say 90%+ vs a 80% AFUE system that's being offered.
    The warranty on the OEM product is better than the competitor... I'm assuming it's worth spending the extra $ for 5/10/20 instead of a 5/5/10 warranty?

    Anyone have any thoughts on what the installed cost of one of these systems should be?
    I'm getting offers for comparable systems between $K - $K.

    My AC went out over the weekend, so will be making a decision very soon to replace my system.
    Last edited by beenthere; 05-07-2021 at 06:01 AM.

  6. #5
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    Load calculation first. Followed by duct design or at least verify the current design is adequate. Choice of efficiency depends on the OUTPUT of the equipment as that is what is expected to meet the load.
    The brand should be the least of your considerations.
    *********
    https://www.hvac20.com/ High efficiency equipment alone does not provide home comfort and efficiency. HVAC2.0 is a process for finding the real needs of the house and the occupants. Offer the customer a menu of work to address their problems and give them a probability of success.

    Find contractors with specialized training in combustion analysis, residential system performance, air flow, and duct optimization https://www.myhomecomfort.org/


    Site member map HERE!

  7. #6
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    Cost is a regional thing.

    Do NOT Rush this. A proper heat load loss MUST be done. 850Sq Ft units above, below, both sides? When that condo was built ill bet everyone got the same size equipment, wrong way to do it but it is cheaper that way.

    The installing contractor is the most important consideration.

  8. Likes kdean1 liked this post.
  9. #7
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    So... I used some of the online tools and I come up with 1.5 - 2 tons for my 1BR unit.
    I'm in a building with about 100 condos... I have condos on either side, above and below.
    I've found some well rated installers on Yelp, and got some recommendations from people in my neighborhood... now just need to make sure the equipment and pricing are adequate.

    I ​have floor to ceiling windows on one side, and 3 vents.
    2x in the living area (living room + kitchen), and 1x in the Bedroom. No vents in the closet or bathroom.

    The number of vents is the reason i worry about the equipment size.

  10. #8
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    Only 3 vents total? Get the smallest unit you can because there isn’t enough airflow for 1 ton unit.
    *********
    https://www.hvac20.com/ High efficiency equipment alone does not provide home comfort and efficiency. HVAC2.0 is a process for finding the real needs of the house and the occupants. Offer the customer a menu of work to address their problems and give them a probability of success.

    Find contractors with specialized training in combustion analysis, residential system performance, air flow, and duct optimization https://www.myhomecomfort.org/


    Site member map HERE!

  11. #9
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    Those old units were built like a tank.
    The new ones won't have the same longevity. I'm one of the few in my area that prefers to fix the old one than to constantly replace coils in the new ones
    You don't squat with your spurs on.
    And you NEVER put the torches away before pressure testing.

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  13. #10
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    Yes... 3 vents, they are all by the windows (I wish I could post some photos so you guys could see).
    1 ton won't be undersized?

    Why hasn't this been brought up by any of the folks that have visited my unit?
    Everyone's been recommending a 2 ton unit to match what I have... it's almost as if folks are just trying to find the replacement for what I have.

  14. #11
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    Number of vents, isn't as important as the size of those 3 vents is.

    I've put 10 tons in a place that only had 8 vents. Of course, they were sized to handle 10 tons.
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  15. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by mt787 View Post
    Yes... 3 vents, they are all by the windows (I wish I could post some photos so you guys could see).
    1 ton won't be undersized?

    Why hasn't this been brought up by any of the folks that have visited my unit?
    Everyone's been recommending a 2 ton unit to match what I have... it's almost as if folks are just trying to find the replacement for what I have.
    It is because they only want to make a sale rather than measure and test in order to learn what is needed and what will work.

    it is correct that if the ducts are all 8” diameter or larger, and short, and correctly installed that a 1.5 ton unit would work. However, I suspect the ducts are 6” diameter. Most multi family unit contracts are awarded to the lowest bidder.
    *********
    https://www.hvac20.com/ High efficiency equipment alone does not provide home comfort and efficiency. HVAC2.0 is a process for finding the real needs of the house and the occupants. Offer the customer a menu of work to address their problems and give them a probability of success.

    Find contractors with specialized training in combustion analysis, residential system performance, air flow, and duct optimization https://www.myhomecomfort.org/


    Site member map HERE!

  16. #13
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    Thread Starter
    Thanks for all this feedback guys! to play it safe, I will shoot for a 1.5 - 2 ton system for my unit.

    The HVAC system is basically centered in the condo... with ducts in the living area being 12" in diameter and 14' long (with 2 12"x10" vents), and on the other side of the unit in the bedroom it's an 8" diameter duct and about the same length with an S curve in the middle (this side has 1 12" x 10" vent).

    Let me know if you think this makes sense...

  17. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mt787 View Post
    Thanks for all this feedback guys! to play it safe, I will shoot for a 1.5 - 2 ton system for my unit.

    The HVAC system is basically centered in the condo... with ducts in the living area being 12" in diameter and 14' long (with 2 12"x10" vents), and on the other side of the unit in the bedroom it's an 8" diameter duct and about the same length with an S curve in the middle (this side has 1 12" x 10" vent).

    Let me know if you think this makes sense...
    Since your unit is surrounded by other conditioned spaces, I strongly believe you should get a 1.5 or even 1 ton unit, unless your exposed wall is all glass or all uninsulated and in the desert.
    *********
    https://www.hvac20.com/ High efficiency equipment alone does not provide home comfort and efficiency. HVAC2.0 is a process for finding the real needs of the house and the occupants. Offer the customer a menu of work to address their problems and give them a probability of success.

    Find contractors with specialized training in combustion analysis, residential system performance, air flow, and duct optimization https://www.myhomecomfort.org/


    Site member map HERE!

  18. #15
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    My exposed wall is all glass... it's double panned, but you can definitely feel the temp transfer (heat or cold) when you get very close.

    I don't anticipate there will be a big cost difference between the 1.5t and 2t systems... correct?
    Will I see the difference in energy consumption? and is it significant?
    I generally keep my condo at around 73-75 during the summer, and same temp in winter... I'm going to look at the 1.5t or 2t with 51K MBTU.

  19. #16
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    One final question... other than initial cost and power consumption, are there significant detriments to having a slightly larger HVAC system?
    I'm going to step down from the 2.5t system, but will there be a big difference between 2t vs 1.5t.

  20. #17
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    Thread Starter
    Also... is it worth considering a condensing unit?

  21. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by mt787 View Post
    Thanks for all this feedback guys! to play it safe, I will shoot for a 1.5 - 2 ton system for my unit.

    The HVAC system is basically centered in the condo... with ducts in the living area being 12" in diameter and 14' long (with 2 12"x10" vents), and on the other side of the unit in the bedroom it's an 8" diameter duct and about the same length with an S curve in the middle (this side has 1 12" x 10" vent).

    Let me know if you think this makes sense...
    When your current unit was working. On the hottest days, did it run 24/7, and still not maintain thermostat set temp. Or did it cycle on and off, and maintain thermostat set point.
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  22. #19
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    I hope you mean 5K heater. 51k is ENORMOUS.

    Which direction does the glass face?

    Again, a load calculation is a great first step.
    *********
    https://www.hvac20.com/ High efficiency equipment alone does not provide home comfort and efficiency. HVAC2.0 is a process for finding the real needs of the house and the occupants. Offer the customer a menu of work to address their problems and give them a probability of success.

    Find contractors with specialized training in combustion analysis, residential system performance, air flow, and duct optimization https://www.myhomecomfort.org/


    Site member map HERE!

  23. #20
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    On the hottest days it would cycle on and off - that's how I like it.
    It would also be pretty humid at times during the summer... I ended up buying a dehumidifier that would run mostly during the summer - wasn't needed in winter.

    I like the unit overall because it does a good job of heating my space, and does so relatively quickly.
    It also did a good job of cooling my condo, because when it's sunny temps go up pretty significantly inside because the unit.
    Since my exposed walls face east, the morning sun heats my unit; the exposed wall is floor to ceiling windows.

    Photos are below:

    Attachment 824067Attachment 824068Attachment 824069

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