HVAC Upgrade Options
I am evaluating bids for a new natural gas furnace and air conditioning system. It is a two story house, built in the 50s, with 2x4 walls insulated with fiberglass batts (attic is insulated with fiberglass as well, R-19 -- to be beefed up in the near future). The house is approximately 2000 square feet (not including the basement, which is where the mechanicals are). I am located in metro New York.
I know I want a premium system (high efficiency furnace, variable speed, 2 stage, etc.). I have narrowed it down to the two bids below. Both are from quality companies who have a good reputation in the area. Both companies said they will do a load calculation prior to commencing work to determine the exact size of the equipment needed. I should note that both bids include some ductwork modifications (moving the unit 3-4 feet from its current location). In addition to seeking comments on the bids, I have the following general questions:
1) Everyone who has come to the house has advised that a heat pump will likely not be economically beneficial. Agree/disagree?
2) While I have a good idea what furnace I want, I am still undecided about the AC. Specifically, whether a 2-stage condensing unit makes sense. Some folks have said that I would notice a comfort difference, while others have said that the difference would be minimal because the variable speed fan will do a great job of getting the humidity out of the air. The incremental cost difference on both bids is noted below.
3) With respect to the humidifier, what is the thinking of steam versus bypass? Steam humidifiers, while better, seem considerably more expensive (both up front and maintenance-wise).
***** BID #1 *****
Lennox Signature Collection SLP98UH135V60D 98% condensing natural gas furnace
Lennox XC17-048 Condenser (4 ton)
Lennox CX34-60D Evaporator Coil
Lennox iComfort Wi-Fi Thermostat
Lennox Healthy Climate High Efficiency Media Filter MERV 16
Aprilaire 400M humidifier
Total price (inclusive of Lennox rebates) for above: $10,266
Total price (inclusive of Lennox rebates) for above, with upgrade to Lennox XC21-048 Condenser: $11,066
***** BID #2 *****
Carrier 59TN6 96.5% condensing natural gas furnace with Infinity Controller
Carrier 24ACC636 Condenser (3 ton)
Carrier matching evaporator coil (CNPVP3621ALA, CNPVP4221ALA, or CNPVP4824ALA)
Carrier Touch non-Wi-Fi control/thermostat
4"/5" media filter [note: bid does not specify the MERV rating]
Carrier, Honeywell, or Aprilaire bypass humidifier
Total price (inclusive of Carrier rebates) for above: $11,054
Total price (inclusive of Carrier rebates) for above, with upgrade to Carrier 24ANB6 Condenser: $11,769
Total price (inclusive of Carrier rebates) for above, with upgrade to Carrier 24ANB7 Condenser: $12,549