New Amana 16 SEER Communicating System questions

cas20February 10, 2013

We are replacing all our house heat pumps with one 5 Ton Amana 16 SEER Communicating System and three zones using EWC equipment. We had gotten several quotes and felt most comfortable with this installer. He has done several of our neighbors and our building contractor said this guy is the only one he uses. Everything seemed great until our last conversation.

Several questions we have.

1. When we asked a specific question about the communicating system we will be getting, he said something like "Well, that's what they tell me it will do." and then he said something like "You will be the first one I've installed with this system." All of our quotes had communicating systems, regardless of brand, so I don't think that's the new technology. Unfortunately we got sidetracked in our discussion and didn't get back to that. We don't think we are getting anything extra fancy...we don't want that. We know of two houses he's doing work on right now (but don't know the owners) and everyone who recommended him installed Amana equipment. Has Amana or EWC just come out with something new or is this guy just not usually installing this equipment? I'm confused about what is 'new' to him to install. And if this is new, should we wait a month? We could wait if needed.

2. Completely different question. Our Manual J load calcs mostly came in at 3.8 or 3.9 Ton but his came in at 4.2. He says that's probably because of the large number of sunroom windows (floor to ceiling facing west) that the others must not have considered. He ran it several times to double check his work. He also says the square footage should be based on the outside of the house, not the interior and that could have made a difference as the others used interior numbers only. Is it correct to do the outside? Given #1 above, I'm more hesitant now about him.

3. There is a chance (50%) that we will put in a small addition in a year or 18 months. So we agreed with the 5 Ton he recommended for the house 'as is'. Therefore if we put the addition on, it's easy to add heat/cool to the addition. If we never put the addition on, are we putting in too large a unit? Should it be only 4 Ton if the Manual J is between 3.8 and 4.2? I guess the question is, how bad is it to have a 5 Ton when only a 4 Ton is needed?

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You want to avoid over sizing the heat pump. If you do it will short cycle during the summer months. What size heat pumps do you currently have and how well has it cooled the house on the hottest days?

The interior area should be used for the Manual J calculation. Using exterior dimensions makes no sense. Did the contractor show you a print out of the Manual J calculation? How large is the house and where is it located?

Can you provide a list of the equipment in the quote?

Zoning requires a contractor is very good at installing zones. I would be leery of a contractor who is stating you will be first installation of this type of system.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 3:19PM
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It's complicated comparing what we have now because what we have is three systems that combined are way oversized. The house is in Georgia so proper A/C is key. It's about 2700 sq ft, 1.5 story (meaning there are two small guest rooms upstairs but most of the house is on first floor) and has had foam put in the attic (same floor as the guest rooms). I'd go with a different contractor but SO seems to resonate with this one since he is so highly recommended by people who put in whole new systems like ours. He has done zones for others and we did see the Manual J. We even went to one person's house and looked at his whole system including the zoning to check out the workmanship as best we could tell. But I guess I'm wondering if either Amana or EWC has put out some new equipment that could account for us being the guinea pigs. Knowing this is a big investment we are keeping a long time, I want to do all I can to get it right.

This post was edited by cas20 on Sun, Feb 10, 13 at 15:40

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 3:37PM
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I think I answered my own question. I googled EWC zones and came up with the EWC website which says the UT-3000 with ClimateTalk is new. And I'm pretty sure that is what we are getting. Just not sure how new it is. Anyone have experience with it?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2013 at 3:51PM
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