Goodman VS. Trane or Carrier HVAC installation advice

mikes_2009March 15, 2009

I'm thinking of changing out my current HVAC system (8 year old 80% efficient furnace and 10 SEER AC unit) with new 95% efficient 2 stage variable speed furnace and 16 SEER Heat Pump system. I am leaning towards the Goodman products after getting a quote on Trane $$$$ and reading allot of reviews on Trane, Carrier & Goodman and comparing prices. Trane and Carrier reviews usually did not rave about the product and some were not good. Many seem dissapointed about energy savings with the $$$ of the Carrier and Trane systems. Goodman reviewers either love them or hate them, no in between, but the price is so much lower. It seems like it may more likely justify the replacement cost for less then expected energy savings. I have heard allot of manufacturers use internal components made by the same manufacturer and you pay for the name brand anyway.

I also know that using a good installer is a main factor in the installation. What is the best way to find a reliable and knowledgeable one in my area? I'm looking for someone who would install the units properly and also knows how to set them up properly to make them more effecient for my home, not just make the existing connections and use the default settings of the units. I can do that myself. I am looking for someone with both knowledge and experience and who will do the job right, without gouging me on the price. I am probably living in a dream world with all those qualifiers.

Is it better to shop for the units myself or go through the installer. Or will the installer even install a unit not purchased by them? With high end units like Carrier and Trane, you don't have the option to buy them yourself. I see Goodman products all over the internet.

I would like to install a Hybrid system (heatpump & furnace), but I would like more info on how to control it. How do I select between using the heatpump or using the furnace? Is it automatic with the right thermostat and programming? Do I need 2 separate units (separate furnace and heat pump housings or separate therostat control) or can I use the same indoor unit and thermostat controller? If I only need 1 thermostat, I have a Honeywell RTH230B programable thermostat, can I use that same thermostat for the Hybrid system or do I need a special thermostat? I have heard that an efficient heat pump is more effecient in the fall and spring mid temperatures (40 - 55 degree range) then a furnace. I know from experience, that the heat pump does not work in the really cold temps.

I know I have allot of questions, but I would really appreciate any good feedback I can get.

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putting brand of HVAC aside for the moment, what area of country do you live?

what is your nat gas rate-cost/therm?

what is electric rate-cost/kwh?

hybrid systems commonly called dual fuel are normally controlled by a stat with an outdoor sensor. you set the stat to the outside temp that you want the heat pump to operate and the temp below that point your furnace will operate. That's a rather simplified explanation. There are other considerations as well.

You should know your temperature balance point. TBP is outside temp where heat gain from your HP is equal to the your home's heat loss.TBP varies mainly due to your home's construction/insulation qualities. I have a duel system system and estimate my TBP is 27 degree. Just to give my setup some leeway, I have my switchover point set at 30 degrees. This seems to work best for me, my system, and home's inside comfort.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 2:28PM
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I live in the Philadelphia area. My nat gas rate and electric rate are high and extermely high. Actually, in my neck of the woods, there is a brilliant plan for one company to sell both products. Seems like kind of a racket to me, but who am I to buck the system. My longer term plan is to add some solar panels to the house to help defer the electric cost or even sell some electric back. So even if it is not currently as cost efficient to use the heat pump (high efficiency model) it should be in the future. I am also assuming that if the heat pump is high efficiency, then when the same unit is used as an AC in the summer, it will be as well.

I have not heard anyone discuss the TBP yet, but it makes sense to me. How do you determine the TBP? Or is it an educated guess? Do you need to know the gas and electric rates to determine the TBP?

My electric rate is .066 X kWh

My nat gas rate is .95411 X Ccf

As far as the Thermostat to control the units, I just need to find one that has an outdoor sensor input and I should be able to program it the way you describe. Is that correct? Or is there a certain type, name or brand I should look for?


    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 6:07PM
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The Goodman products are much better since they were 'Amanaized', Copeland scroll compressor and a good warranty. You look at hvac stuff on eBay and it's relatively inexpensive, even the high end brands.
Cape rates are .22/kwh, $1.70/Therm for NG. We don't use much electric.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 9:58PM
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Wow if you think .066/kWh and .95411/ccf are high I'd hate to see what you think $0.129/kWH and $1.18/ccf are. That's what we pay.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 11:39PM
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Should I be looking for Amana products then, or are they still carrying both product names. If they do carry both product names, are they the same product, or is the Amana line better? Or do you know the answer to that question? Are you in the HVAC business or do you own a Goodman or Amana product?

I am almost thinking of installing the system myself after both of the quotes I got. One was for Lennox and one for Trane. I am supposed to get another quote for a Goodman from the Lennox contractor. He says that Goodman is making a better product then they used to, but the difference may be in the support. He said, that if the Lennox unit fails, I'll get the part the next day. If the Goodman fails, it may take 2 or 3 days. Do you feel that is a correct statement?

Thank you for the info by the way, I know I ask allot of questions.


    Bookmark   March 19, 2009 at 5:29PM
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Be careful of high efficiency furnace if you system is located in a basement. The high efficiency furnaces need a moisture drain pipe that descends a quarter-inch per foot length, or else the pipe moisture (secondary exchanger runoff) will back up into the furnace and it will shut off.

Basement installs should go with a Trane XV80 or Bryant 80% VS furnace (without that secondary exchanger and without all that extra maintenance).

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 12:35PM
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"Be careful of high efficiency furnace if you system is located in a basement. The high efficiency furnaces need a moisture drain pipe that descends a quarter-inch per foot length, or else the pipe moisture (secondary exchanger runoff) will back up into the furnace and it will shut off.

Basement installs should go with a Trane XV80 or Bryant 80% VS furnace (without that secondary exchanger and without all that extra maintenance)."

Yes, condensing furnaces do require drain lines, just like A/C systems.... Hasn't been a problem for the other countless 90+ furnaces installed, so I don't see any reason in detering higher efficiency options. Why is the basement a problem? If anything you want a basement/ground level install rather than an attic install for the 90+ furnaces.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2009 at 3:09PM
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I'm learning more all the time. Can you tell me more about the TXV metering device for the E-Coil? My current 80% unit already has a condensate drain pump used when I run the AC in the summer and I have not had a problem with it. This self contained pump sits on the floor next to the furnace and pumps the condensate into my sump pump then the sump pump pumps it out of the house. Wouldn't I just run the high efficiency furnace moisture drain pipe out to the same pump? I have to imagine that moisture drain pipe is up high on the High Efficiency unit and my condensate pump is on the floor, gravity will do the job unless the pump fails and the water backs up into the furnace. Is that the same moisture drain pipe that I have on my current 80% efficiency furnace that drains the condensate when I run the AC in the summer?

One of the quotes I got from a HVAC hybrid install (95% efficient furnace w/ 2 stage variable speed furnace and 15 or 16 SEER Heat Pump) was to put a catch pan under the furnace with the furnace up on blocks and put a pump in the drain pan that pumps the condensate water into my sump pump. This gives you more time to deal with a pump going bad vs the self contained pump I have currently.

I have another question about buying the new 95% efficient furnace. My current furnace is 80% effecient and is 100,000 BTUs. I have replacement choices of 90,000 BTU or 115,000 BTU replacement. My house is 2000 sq. ft, not including basement. Is there much efficiency difference between the 2 choices? I know the bigger unit will probably supply more heat, but is that at more cost in energy? Or is the difference nominal. My first thought is to go with the bigger unit for only $100-$200 more in cost.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2009 at 1:52PM
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You really want to first pick a contractor, then look at their equipment recommendations. Some homeowners make the mistake of first purchasing the equipment online (which by the way voids the warranty), then trying to find a contractor to install it.

You wouldn't bring your own eggs to a restauraunt, in order to avoid the 2000% mark-up, why do that to your HVAC contractor (the typical mark-up is usually no more than double). Your local HVAC contractor can warranty the equipment, and work with the local distributor if there's any problems. Also, by making a profit on your install, they will likely happily address any concerns you may have down the road.

That being said Goodman equipment is O.K., but is certainly not in the same category as Trane or Carrier/Bryant. Goodman is trying to reinvent itself with exceptional warranties. But they have yet to produce a product that isn't a POS after 8 years. The "new Goodman" defninetly looks better, but I've installed dozens and am not impressed with the reliability of a few of the components. JMHO.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2009 at 8:17AM
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