Advice on Trane system

njheatJanuary 26, 2013

So i finally have a quote from a reputed installer that's doing work on my street. He is a Trane authorized dealer.

A Manual J was done and the heat load was 47K and cooling load 24K BTU. This is for a bilevel, 1700 sq.ft house in Northern NJ.

The quote I got was for a XV95 (60K BTU, 97% AFUE) 2-stage, variable speed blower motor and XR13 (2.5 ton) 14-SEER AC with a XL602 thermostat. Also included is an Aprilaire 2410 media cleaner. The total cost is about 9K with around 2K in rebates and tax credit. Dealer also recommended that I add a return in the lower level - currently only have one return that's on the main level.

I have a few questions for the helpful gurus on this board.

1. Is the price reasonable? The installer has a good name in this area.
2. I can get a quote for York and Amana from this installer. Are these brands worth considering?
3. Should I get the XV95 be replaced by XL95 (96% AFUE, 2 stage, 4 speed blower motor)? Is 4-speed almost as good as variable speed?
4. Is the Aprilaire media cleaner worth adding in?
5. The quote does not include Chimney Liner since design calcs indicate that it's not required. That's an additional $660 if the township requires it. Does that sound reasonable?

Thank you for reading through this long post. I will appreciate any help you can offer.

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ryanhughes

I would add the return -- most systems lack enough return air as is.

As for price, hard to comment without seeing the exact installation requirements, but $9k is on the higher end for the equipment you're being quoted. Although it's New Jersey.

York equipment is fine. You might want to get an equivalent quote with York equipment -- it will be cheaper. Personally, I like Trane better.

If upfront cost is a big issue, the XL95 isn't a bad option. But I strongly recommend the XV95 for a couple of reasons. In the cooling season, it can be configured to remove more humidity (Trane's Comfort-R feature -- or, even better, your installer can install a thermostat capable of dehumidify on demand where the thermostat will signal the variable speed blower do slow down to remove more moisture. Can't do that with the XL95). The 4-speed motor stills runs at fixed speeds for both stages (as does the XV95 with the variable speed motor). The bigger advantage of the variable speed motor is its constant CFM capability. What this means is that the motor will adjust its RPM as necessary, for your particular application, to provide the right airflow year round. With conventional systems, as the filter gets dirty, or if installed on a system with poorly designed existing ductwork, airflow will drop off due to increased external pressure drop.

I recommend the media filter to protect the equipment and provide better cleaning capacity. Replace every 3-6 months as needed -- each home is different. Some people say replace yearly but that is really pushing it -- again, my opinion.

Are they not running new PVC vents to the exterior of the house for the new condensing furnace? If directly vented outside (not to the chimney), you don't need to worry about a liner. I don't understand the following statement: "The quote does not include Chimney Liner since design calcs indicate that it's not required."

This post was edited by ryanhughes on Sat, Jan 26, 13 at 23:33

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 11:19PM
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hvacajun

York and Amana were on the do not buy list with consumer reports.York has middle men companies dealing there equipment, Amana is purchased directly from the manufacturer. For sure Amana over York, but Trane is in another class of it's own. It is hands down the best of all major brands. We ran a 9% warranty rate with Amana and a 11% with York. We are currently running 3% with Trane. Carrier was at 11% warranty issues with parts the first year. Better efficiency with the Variable speed blower. It uses less power even though it never shuts off. The variable speed will continuously force air through your filter, keeping your air cleaner. The variable speed is also quieter. The April air is not a good buy. I would prefer an electrostatic cleaner that will run off of electricity and mechanically clean the air over one where I had to manually change the filter. The electrostatic only needs cleaning every six months with no filter to purchase.There is my opinion!!!

    Bookmark   January 26, 2013 at 11:30PM
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tigerdunes

njheat

The thermostat quoted for the Trane equipment is not correct. You want a true two stage thermostat that controls the staging of the heat rather than the timer on a control board. Other than self interest, I really don't understand why dealers want to provide the wrong thermostat that shortchanges the capabilities of such a nice furnace.

I would prefer Trane's Perfect Fit filter media cabinet over the AprilAire and certainly not a fan of CleanEffects for many reasons and advise against it.

Can't say about pricing because NJ HVAC is always so expensive. Shop around. BTW, American Standard, sister company of Trane, offers basically same equipment usually less expensive . You might want to get quote on similar equipment from Carrier or sister company Bryant.

IMO

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 6:06AM
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njheat

RyanHughes: Thank you for your advice.

I will get a quote for the XL95 just to see if the reduction is big enough to justify going for it. But I like your idea regarding dehumidification.

About the PVC vents, yes, there'll be 2 pipes going out the side. But since we also have a gas-fired water heater, some have suggested that we may need a Chimney Liner to ensure that the water heater vents properly even without the draft created by the flue gases from the furnace. But this installer ran some numbers for flue gases coming out of the water heater and believes we'll be fine without a Chimney Liner.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 10:22AM
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ryanhughes

NJHeat:

"About the PVC vents, yes, there'll be 2 pipes going out the side. But since we also have a gas-fired water heater, some have suggested that we may need a Chimney Liner to ensure that the water heater vents properly even without the draft created by the flue gases from the furnace. But this installer ran some numbers for flue gases coming out of the water heater and believes we'll be fine without a Chimney Liner."

That makes sense and is certainly important for safety reasons. Who will have the final say as to whether it's required?

Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 10:35AM
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njheat

Hvacajun: Thank you for your stats on warranty rates. First time I have seen some hard numbers about this.

Regarding the filter, what is the main advantage of the electrostatic version - cheaper to operate since no filters are needed or is it better at cleaning?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 10:35AM
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njheat

Tigerdunes: Thank you, again! You have already helped me earlier:-)

I am confused regarding the XL602 t-stat. Here's the info from Trane's website:
>Two-stage heat (gas only), two-stage cool

Is this not a "true 2 stage" t-stat? I did not find anything specific on Trane's site regarding this issue.

I will ask for PerfectMedia instead of the Aprilaire. Hopefully it's just a minor increase in cost.

Will the Trane dealer be able to install AS? I can ask him for that instead of the Trane. I am having one final quote coming in on Monday. That's most likely either Carrier or Rheem. Will let you know how that goes.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 10:47AM
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njheat

RyanHughes: The installer will try doing the install without the chimney liner. But the ultimate call will be the township's since the inspector will have to bless this setup.

Another issue: The installer has to run a pipe across a hallway to drain the condensate in the bathroom sink. Currently the condensate drains out through the side. Installer doesn't mind either way but doesn't think the outside drain will pass inspection in my town.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2013 at 10:55AM
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tigerdunes

njheat

As far as condensate drainage, not clear what is code for your area. If you are questioning your dealer's advice in this area, then you should call the building code authority for your location. Or ask neighbors about their application.

I live in a more moderate winter climate than you and my condensate is
pumped through an external wall to the outside.

A word of caution. Manufacturer literature can be misleading. Yes, the 602 thermostat will work. But it is not a true two stage thermostat and you would be running on high stage most of the time whether needed or not. The 602 by being the wrong stat totally shortchanges the capability and function of a nice two stage furnace like the XV95.

Dealers do this because they care more about themselves than their customer. They certainly should know better.

IMO

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 2:49PM
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mike_home

Are you sure you will like having the condensate drain in a bathroom sink? Is this furnace being installed in a basement? Do have a sump pit? If you do then you can have a condensate pump run over to the sump.

If you have a brick chimney then I suggest you install a lining. An orphaned hot water heater will eventually cause a problem with the chimney. I would not rely on the township inspector to figure out if you are going to have a problem or not. I live in a township in NJ that has very tough codes. The inspector never asked whether the chimney is lined or not.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2013 at 4:03PM
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tigerdunes

NJ

If in doubt, you should know what is code for your location regarding condensate draining. I certainly believe an informed homeowner with correct information is best equipped to make decisions.

IMO

    Bookmark   January 29, 2013 at 11:36AM
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njheat

Was caught up in work last 2 days.

Tigerdunes, you said "A word of caution. Manufacturer literature can be misleading. Yes, the 602 thermostat will work. But it is not a true two stage thermostat and you would be running on high stage most of the time whether needed or not. The 602 by being the wrong stat totally shortchanges the capability and function of a nice two stage furnace like the XV95."

Can you please let me know which Trane t-stat is a true 2-stage one. Or is it better to use some non-Trane product instead? I will appreciate any recommendations.

Also, regarding "code for your location regarding condensate draining" , I have confirmed that township code requires condensate to be drained inside the house. And for me that's the slop sink in the lower level:-(

I have a question regarding an additional return. One installer mentioned that I need to add a return in the lower level (there is none currently) and that it will cost about $400 since they have to put in ducts etc. Another installed said that they could simple cut an inner wall and put a register that hooks into the current return from upstairs at a cost of about $50. Which of these options makes sense?

One final question: I am close to making a decision. Is it considered acceptable to ask the preferred installer to give me a better price? How is this approach viewed by professionals in this business?

Thanks a lot for your help and Mike too!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2013 at 6:58PM
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