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Thread: Quality Heat Pump Features to look for?

  1. #1
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    Exclamation Quality Heat Pump Features to look for?

    I am looking to replace my existing Heat Pump (20 years) - for a 3800 sq. ft. home in Northern VA (Fredericksburg). 3 HVAC vendors have come out and sized the home (2 @ 4 ton and 1 at 3.5 ton). The existing unit is a 4 ton. I was told by 2 vendors that my ducting is sized for 4 tons based on the dimensions of the ducting runs attached to the air handler in the basement. None of the vendors would do a Manual J. I did locate one that would, but he wanted to charge $ to do it. The systems they have proposed are all over the place in brand, price and specs. Two vendors work out of their homes, so it is difficult to assess long-term support if there are any issues. The other is a large vendor in the area that is significantly more expensive. In fact, I've had several friends comment on their expensive experiences with this particular vendor, who includes small charges for every little nuance - makes me wonder what extra fees I can expect as the job progresses. Bottom line: I'm having difficulty selecting an HVAC installer. So, in the interim, I thought I'd try to identify the exact system I was looking for, then look for an HVAC installer that is capable of getting it and installing it for me.

    I've done some limited Internet research and here are the features I think I should be looking for:
    Heat Pump (HP) (4 ton)
    SEER = 14.5 or better
    EER = 11.6 or better
    HSPF = 9.0 or better
    dual or two-stage scroll compressor(s)
    snow boots / elevated feet for heat pump
    variable-speed Air Handler (AH)
    staged backup / emergency heat (2x7.5KW or 2x5KW)
    R-410 refrigerant
    liquid line filter
    new properly-sized refrigerant line set
    TDR = time delay relay*
    TXV = thermostatic expansion valve*
    Honeywell VisionPro IAQ Thermostat
    AprilAire Whole House Humidifier Model 700A
    * required by some HP/AH combinations for tax rebate (ARI cert.)

    I want to use the HW VP IAQ thermostat, in conjunction with the variable speed air handler, to provide dehumidification.

    I already have an AprilAire 2400 filter unit that I want to keep.

    Any other features / capabilities I should consider?
    Anything I should toss from the list?
    What cost range will these features put me in (hi/lo/med)?
    Any recommended systems (HP / AH combination)?

    I appreciate any comments or ideas! Thanks!
    Last edited by beenthere; 05-09-2009 at 11:49 PM. Reason: Removed price

  2. #2
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    Might want to consider getting a system that meets the Tax Credit requirements.
    30% up to $1500.00

    15 SEER, 12.5 EER, and 8.5HSPF.




    PS: No prices allowed in post. I edited out your Manual J load calc price.
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  3. #3
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    I read all about systems that qualified for the Tax Credit, but I never captured the actual requirements. Thanks for the correction beenthere!

    BTW, would you recommend I pursue the Manual J or stick with the load calc based on the existing ducting measurements? Not sure, but I think the 3.5 ton calc was really based on the max Tax Credit qualified system that that particular vendor dealt with - he was Trane exclusive and they appear to have no 4 ton units that qualify.

  4. #4
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    day and night make many units that qualify for a tax credit, find a unit that has 12 eer or better to qualify and 14 seer they all have vs air handlers and txv r410 systems stay away from time delays your t stat hw vision pro already has them built in, also use the contractor grade t stat not the homeowner special from home centers also the better unit 14seer and above come with a 10/10 warranty 10 yr. comp. and 10 yr. parts as for the 10yr. parts if any part fails or coils you the homeowner has the choice to have them fix it or have them replace it is your call

  5. #5
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    Demand defrost is a good thing to have if you live in a cold climate.

  6. #6
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    Summary of Recommended Feature Changes

    Appreciate the help so far. Here's what's changed from the original post:
    15 SEER
    12.5 EER
    8.5 HSPF
    toss the TDR because it is already built into the HW VP IAQ tstat
    ensure the HW VP IAQ tstat is contractor grade (ie, not from Home Depot)
    insist on a 10 year parts and labor warranty
    look for a "Demand Defrost" capable system

  7. #7
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    you don't need demand defrost in Fredericksburg.
    I wish I had a $1.00 for every response I deleted.....

    "Decidedly Superior in a twisted pathetic way".....

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by beshvac View Post
    you don't need demand defrost in Fredericksburg.
    ????

    So no heating hours, under the outdoor temp of 40.
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  9. #9
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    One contractor has recommended the following:

    Lennox XP15-048 Heat Pump
    Lennox CBX32MV-060 Air Handler
    Staged Backup Heat - 1st 5KW then 10KW Heating strips
    Lennox ComfortSense 7000 tstat (over the Honeywell VisionPro IAQ) - insists it is better
    Honeywell 12 GPD True Steam humidifier (over the AprilAire 700A)
    TDR - insists that it is required for the Tax Credit (even w the IAQ tstat)
    New Line Set
    New Plenum Base
    Modified transition for AprilAire 2400 filter
    Disconnect
    High Voltage charges

    Total cost seems on the HIGH end.

    Any thoughts on this system?

  10. #10
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    Quit fishing for price advise on the net.
    i belong to peta ... people eating tasty animals. all my opinions are just mine.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    ????

    So no heating hours, under the outdoor temp of 40.
    No, It gets below 40 degrees, just not for long. Or am I missing information about what is considered "demand defrost" Are they not all with defrost sensor and timer board?
    I wish I had a $1.00 for every response I deleted.....

    "Decidedly Superior in a twisted pathetic way".....

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jpb2 View Post
    Quit fishing for price advise on the net.
    OK. I've packed away the cane pole and I'll be more careful in future posts.

    I'd still appreciate any general comments with respect to the recommended system quality, performance, etc. I have no HVAC skills whatsoever, so I have no idea if this is a good mixture of components or if something is amiss with this system recommendation.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by beshvac View Post
    No, It gets below 40 degrees, just not for long. Or am I missing information about what is considered "demand defrost" Are they not all with defrost sensor and timer board?
    On demand defrost.
    Is when the board determines when to defrost by coil and ambient temp combined.

    Not just by coil temp, as a regular time and temp defrost board does.

    A regular defrost board will defrost every X minutes, when the coil, or outdoor temp is below defrost temp. Weather or not the coil needs defrosted.

    An on demand will only defrost if the coil temp is low enough below the outdoor temp to need defrosting. Or every 5 hours of accumilated compressor run time, to make sure the outdor coil isn't oil logged.

    So it doesn't waste electric with needless defrost cycles.
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  14. #14
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    Twenty years old. You need to concentrate on more that just equipment.
    Always here

  15. #15
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    hmm do you really need a humidifier? maybe its because i work and live in Texas but i wouldnt think with a heat pump the air would get that dry,usually reserve that for furnacces and really cold climates but i could be wrong..

    so the demand defrost is an option or standard equipment on most heat pumps,id say its an option ,its the little relay switch with the adjutable temp knob on it inside the condeser panel i assume?

    ,i always thought that was outdated tech but i see it still has uses..

  16. #16
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    Time and temp defrost is the out dated tech. but still used.

    On demand is not an option per say.
    Either the heat pump is on demand defrost, or its not. Can't order it special on a unit that doesn't come with it.

    Needing a humidifier doesn't depend on weather or not you have a HP or gas furnace.
    Its determined more by how leaky the house is.
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  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    On demand is not an option per say.
    Either the heat pump is on demand defrost, or its not. Can't order it special on a unit that doesn't come with it.
    Does a Lennox XP15-048 Heat Pump come with it?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeedAContractor View Post
    Does a Lennox XP15-048 Heat Pump come with it?
    I don't know.
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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by energy star View Post
    Twenty years old. You need to concentrate on more that just equipment.
    What else should I focus on?

  20. #20
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    Decision Time

    In addition to the Lennox system mentioned previously, I have several more system proposals from the contractors that reviewed my current system/home today. I'm pretty comfortable with any of the contractors that came by today. They all seemed very knowledgeable and professional. I also learned some new HVAC stuff from our conversations. All in all...a good day. Appreciate the help/info from all the pros on here...reading through all the posts on HVAC-Talk helped me have some well-informed discussions today. Great site. Thanks. I'll definitely point folks needing HVAC info in this direction. Now it's decision time.
    Last edited by NeedAContractor; 05-12-2009 at 05:55 PM. Reason: This decision is more about the contractor than the system...way more!

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