York vs. Lennox vs. Carrier

viki412agFebruary 12, 2012

Our 55 yr old GE gas furnace is officially dead, and it's the bittersweet end we've been waiting for. Our A/C still works but it's 24yrs old, and we're choosing to replace it. We have a one yr old Aprilair humidifier which we're keeping and we're adding a 5 inch media cleaner or similar (no allergies in our household)

We're pricing out some very high end fully modulating furnaces and heat pump combos and it's going to make some contractor very happy. But for now, I need some advice and expertise. We live in Western Pennsylvania and have a bi-level, 1960s, brick house, approx 2600sqft of livable space. I'm including some of the lower level even though part of it is underground, half of it is above ground and we have an office and family room with a 9 ft window down there so I want the heating/cooling capacity to accommodate those spaces (not included is a 2car integral garage also at the lower level).

We love technology and each furnace we're considering comes with it's own little smart computer/thermostat (Lennox iComfort/York Communicating control/Carrier Infinity control) which all 'talk' to the different appliances to help them work together for best efficiency. So before I get into the specific models...

My first question is... If we get one of these 'smart' furnaces/thermostat combos - can the heat pump be a basic/non-smart/non-communicating heat pump or are we then negating the entire purpose of having a SMART system?

Second request - if you live in climate similar to Western PA - what has your experience with heat pumps been?

Third - here are the options...(I'm not listing the air cleaners in the choices as we are not too picky about those)

Option 1 York

York Affinity YP9C (80K btu reccomended)

with LX Series YHJF H/P OR with Affinity Series YZF H/P (depending on if h/p must be of the 'smart' variety or not)

Option 2 Lennox

Lennox Signature SLP98V (SLP98DF 090V48C) w/ Lennox Signature XP17 Heat Pump

Option 3 Carrier

Carrier Infinity 98 (80K) w/ Infinity 16 H/P

I need to start calling these guys back on Monday (tomorrow) with any follow-up questions so that I can make my choice and hire someone in the next few days. Furnace is on it's last leg.... all constructive advice/opinions welcome.

Thanks!

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harry_wild

I been in the market for a modulating gas furnace and A/C and did some research and had a about 4 sales calls. From what I been able to find out; these top of high end thermostats are really need for zone heating. You can save $200 to $250 and just buy either a couple of steps down down to a programmable thermostat from the manufacturer or save some more money and by a Honeywell programmable thermostat. I talking here $75 to $150 range.

On the combo systems; they make their money on the options like the more 5" filter compartments which are big markup items since all it is a compartment for you to place your filter in($350-$500) cost to them is about $40, etc....

    Bookmark   February 12, 2012 at 10:04PM
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mike_home

In response to the OP's original questions, if you buy a top of the line furnace, then it makes sense to compliment it with a comparable performace heat pump or AC. You have paid for the variable speed blower. It makes sense to pay a little more for a 2 speed AC or heat pump. You will also want to have the manufacturer's communicating thermostat to control the equipment for best efficiency and comfort.

You are making a good choice by getting a 5 inch filter. You may have to pay for modification of the return in order to make the larger filter fit.

I have the Carrier Infinity furnaces and AC condensers. You need to spend the money on the Infinity controller if you want to take advantage of all the features the equipment can provide. It is not true the controller is really needed for zoning.

A heat pump for Western PA may be a good investment, however you need to look at of electricity versus natural gas. A furnace with 95%+ efficiency may be cheaper to operate than the heat pump. Make sure you understand the relative operating costs of each before you make this additional investment.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 9:12AM
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tigerdunes

If you go with one of the new high efficient true modulating models, I want a brand/model that modulates both up and down according to demand, not just up. You want the best and probably the matching proprietary thermostat to take advantage of the furnace's features.

Whether one gets a two stg AC or HP is up to the individual homeowner. HP only makes cents depending on location, winter climate, electric rate VS nat gas rate. Generally speaking with a true modulating furnace, a dual fuel system is overkill in most cases.

IMO

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 9:23AM
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viki412ag

I appreciate the feedback so far. Based on what I'm learning, I think we'll go with a single stage for the a/c but still trying to decide if it would be worth it to have the heat pump on it or not.

What's funny is that two of the contractors I've talked to tell me not to get the Heat pump b/c it will be the first thing to break, no matter what brand or what line, because the reversing valves always are the first things to die. The nice thing with the SMART devices is we can tell it how low it can go before switching to the furnace, we're thinking the H/P will only be used down to 45 degrees and then it'll switch to the fully modulating furnace. Our gas rates aren't bad around here, but this is a long term investment and no one knows what things will cost in 5-10 yrs or longer... Another way to look at it is the H/P can be a backup heat supply should the furnace have any problems.

I've confirmed with two of my contractors that I can use the more basic a/c or h/p with the SMART communicating furnace because the furnace is what regulates all the flow (inducer, blower, modulating... and anything else) and just tells the a/c or heat pump when to run. So I can use a regular 'dumb' ac or hp.

Also I learned that the York has the brains of the system in the furnace and the Lennox has the brains in the thermostat ... so when using the York - almost any thermostat could be used and the furnace's high-end features will keep working. When using a Lennox - the high end features get dumbed down if you ever use a basic thermostat with it. At least that's how I understand it... any takers on that? Thanks!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 3:16PM
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tigerdunes

Viki

Pay attention.

If you go with one of the new high efficient true modulating models, I want a brand/model that modulates both up and down according to demand, not just up.

IMO

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 3:43PM
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viki412ag

tigerdunes - I'm not sure what you mean - I believe all 3 of the furnaces modulate up and down? If not, can you advise which do and explain how to identify the feature? As far as I understand they all modulate between 35% to 100% depending on conditions.

I'm looking at the:
1. York Affinity YP9C
2. Lennox Signature SLP98V
3. Carrier Infinity 98

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 5:05PM
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tigerdunes

Viki

Do your homework!

IMO

    Bookmark   February 13, 2012 at 5:43PM
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harry_wild

I am sure all three are fine modulating gas furnaces. I deciding based on just gas furnace prices and installation quality. The difference in price is hard to gauge since they want to mix it up with options so you cannot compare it equally. I just decided to do the gas furnace only and the differences are pretty great when one does not have a rebate attach to it.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 12:58AM
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mike_home

Which equipment did you decide to purchase?

Are you going to install a new coil in preparation when the AC dies? A 24 year old AC is living on borrowed time. It makes sense to plan for the replacement now.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 7:34AM
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neohioheatpump

Gas is cheap right now. Especially if you shop around and find the right supplier with a variable rate. I think I'm paying $3.70 per mcf before tax and delivery and monthly service fee. Gas is definitely nice for the colder weather. Even with cheap gas heating during the mild termperatures with a heap pump is pretty inexpensive if your electric is reasonable. The heatpump version of an A/C doesn't cost much more for the same model typically. If it costs alot more its because the contractor is making lots of extra profits. If your getting a fancy t-stat its likely it could handle the heatpump in addition to your furnace. I like having the heatpump for the extra flexibility it provides incase natural gas gets expensive.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2012 at 12:03PM
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