Carrier vs Trane

lil_teeMarch 30, 2011

Hi everyone!

I posted a little about this last week, but have additional information based on your questions and suggestions and could sure use some input. It's quite intimidating making such a large purchase on something I know so little about!!

Replacing 18 year old 3 ton system - Atlanta, GA - two story house - 1800 square feet - furnace is in the attic - will most likely do zoning next year - no heat pump.

(I'm very cold-natured so I'm ruling out heat pumps after doing some research. I know I'm giving up some cost efficiency, but I think I would be disappointed with the not-as-warm-as-a-furnace air. My gas bills aren't really an issue, so hopefully I'm not doing myself that much of a disservice.)

Carrier System

$8115 (with 1 yr maintenance plan $149, $350 tax credit, $1000 rebate - $6616 after the math)

Furnace - Infinity 80, 58CVA070, variable speed, (3 stage?), 80%

AC - Performance 24APA736, 3 ton, 2 stage, 17 seer

Coil - ADP C36A142CS39

Thermostat - Infinity, digital and programmable

Media air cleaner - Honeywell

Other - reroute office duct, increase 8" return in hall to 12"

Talks a lot about this being a communicating system and having a 3 stage furnace.

Said we could use the Carrier coil, but the ADP one is much more efficient than the Carrier coils and they cause less static pressure inside the system.

Trane System

$8440 (with 5 yr maintenance plan $540, $500 tax credit - $7400 after the math)

Furnace - XV95, TUH2B060A93, variable speed, (2 stage?), 95%

AC - XL16i, 4TTX6036E, 3 ton, 2 stage, 16 seer

Coil - 4TXCB004

Thermostat - Deluxe programmable, TCONT803

Media air cleaner - Aprilaire

Other - reroute office duct, take off 6" from master and run direct, change 6 6x10 straight throw vents

The Trane dealer didn't recommend changes to the return ductwork (like Carrier did) because his calculations showed that the load is balanced.

Their current deal with Trane gives the 95% furnace for the same cost as the 80% so downsizing to the 80% won't make a difference in the price. When I mentioned my concern about water leaks (from a 95% furnace in the attic), he said that it will have an internal drain. Of course, I have no idea if that eliminates the risk or not.


  1. Both of the HVAC companies have good reviews, seem reputable, and will likely do a good install. Taking the cost out of the equation, is either one of these systems a clear front runner?

Is one system better for the zoning I'm going to do next year or does it not really matter? For the Trane, does the internal drain really eliminate the possibility of water damage with having a 95% furnace in an attic? Or is it still a furnace in the attic that produces water, so don't do it? For the Carrier, is there really anything to this "communicating" system (with a 3 stage furnace)? For the Carrier, is he right about the ADP coil being more efficient and causing less static pressure inside the system than the Carrier coils?

OMG! I hope that's not too much!! There just seems to be so much to consider, so I want to make sure I do it right. Of course, the Trane guy saying his system is the best and the Carrier guy saying his is the best doesn't help much! :-)

Any insights you guys have are greatly appreciated.

Thank you so very much!!!

Teri (a.k.a. lil tee)

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Infinity will zone better. I am not sure though since I think all the parts need to be infinity. Have them give you a zoning stat right away. My prices (online) show the basic stat to be $380 and the zoning to be $440. Obviously if you plan on zoning at some point, spend $60 now to avoid $440 later.

Infinity zoning is expensive but undeniably the best system available for residential.

I might forgo the 95% just for the possible maintenance issues.

I think the concern about heat pump and being cold natured is overblown with a modern well designed hybrid system. I doubt my wife even knows when the heat pump is heating the house. The air coming out is quite warm AT ALL TIMES with a hybrid system. Now if you only have heat pumps, then the air will feel a little cool when it is really cold outside.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 3:47PM
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I would be concerned about installing a 95% AFUE furnance in an attic. I have no experience, but I have read about other having problems with the condensate freezing. Was the Carrier dealer concerned about this?

I recommend you get a Carrier coil. The efficiency my be a little lower than the ADP, not enough to justify using a third party product. I don't believe the additional static pressure reason.

The 8 inch return sounds small. I think the Carrier dealer is doing the right thing by increasing it. He is proposing this for a good reason.

The Infinity controller communicates with all the equipment. If the furnance or AC have a problem, the controller will display a diagnostic.

Finally do you really need an air cleaner? Consider a 4 inch media filer instead. It is less cost and maintenance.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2011 at 4:45PM
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I'm so happy I found this site! Thank you guys SO much!!! I was on the fence about these two, and you and the folks who replied to my previous post gave me the unbiased information I needed to be able to make the right choice.

I'll make sure all of the parts are the appropriate ones for zoning. Thanks for the tip on the stat! I'll also ask about using a Carrier heat pump for my system to weigh that option.

The Carrier dealer as well as two other dealers I got estimates from all said not to put a 95% furnace in an attic. I just wasn't sure if the internal drain and insulation solution the Trane dealer proposed was adequate or not. It sounds like it isn't, and I would much rather be safe than sorry! I'll make sure to get the Carrier coil and will ask about the media filter instead of the air cleaner.

Now that I'm not worried about making the wrong decision, I'm actually excited about getting the new system.

I can't thank you guys enough!!


    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 11:08AM
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Poor advice from David Cary. Whether a heat pump system is hybrid or straight heat pump the heat pump air is the same.

The difference is that a hybrid/dual-fuel system is either heat pump or gas heat. A straight heat pump system has electric heat strips to supplement the heat pump at lower temperatures.

This "branding" garbage with Bryant and Carrier calling stuff hybrid is nonsense. I can take any manufacturer and do a "hybrid", more popularly known as dual-fuel, system and it'll work fine.

Brand means little, make sure you trust your installer.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2011 at 9:24PM
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Thank you for the information, seatonheating.

I just spoke with the Carrier dealer to get a price on the heat pump option and discuss my concern about the cooler hp air. He explained that (I hope I say this correctly) when a heat pump is paired with a dual-fuel, variable speed system, the air gets a chance to warm up first before it comes out of the vents so it should feel just as warm as the furnace air. That's probably what you guys have been explaining to me all along, but does that sound accurate?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2011 at 3:30PM
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Lil tee

I�ve always thought that 80% two stg var speed furnace paired with heat pump was the sweet spot for Hotlanta area/climate.

I do not like the ADP third party coil quoted by Carrier dealer. Ask for the appropriate size/mdl ATA tin plated Carrier evap coil.

You need to let Carrier dealer know of possible future plans for zoning at a later date. Carrier Infinity zoning controls are the best residential controls in the HVAC market. Trane dealers normally use Honeywell which is fine as well-probably not as pricey.

You can expect supply air from a heat pump to be lower than a gas furnace. However, I doubt you would know the difference.


    Bookmark   April 4, 2011 at 8:13AM
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Thanks so much for your time and advice Tigerdunes!

I got a quote on the hp from the Carrier dealer and I'm going to take the plunge! Like you said, I probably won't notice the difference and will get to save some money on natural gas.

We did discuss the plans for zoning next year and he said this system is a go for that, with the exception of the thermostat. He said we can't use the zoning stat without a zoned system (does that sound right?), but that they'd do an even swap when we do the zoning.

I also asked about using a Carrier coil and he said Carrier didn't make one that fit the 80% furnace /16 seer heat pump system. Can that be right?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 8:13AM
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lil tee

"I also asked about using a Carrier coil and he said Carrier didn't make one that fit the 80% furnace /16 seer heat pump system. Can that be right?"

you need to push dealer on this point about the coil. Why purchase a brand new system with a third party coil? I wouldn't do it and certainly don't recommend you accept that nonsense from the Carrier dealer.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 8:35AM
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It didn't sound right to me either. Up to that point, I really liked the guy and company. I don't want to have to start back at the beginning, so hopefully he can redeem himself.

Thanks so much, tigerdunes. You (and everyone else who took time out of your busy lives to respond) have been a HUGE help throught this process!!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 9:54AM
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Oh my gosh, my head is spinning! :-)

First, he said he found a Carrier coil that'll work with the system. I'm waiting on the model number so I can run it by you all to make sure it's the right choice...there was something about it maybe not qualifying for the tax credit. I hope you'll check back and chime in.

My head is spinning because: the original quote with the Infinity 80% furnace and Performance 17 seer AC was $8115. The new price with the Infinity 80% furnace and Performance 16 seer heat pump (waiting on model number) went to $8857. Okay. Since I kept mentioning doing zoning next year (I was only holding off on zoning because I didn't think I could afford to do it all at once), he ran the numbers and said it would be $2800 bringing the total to $11657 (ouch!). To get it all done at once and avoid some of the "double-work" the owner told him to offer to do it all for $11000. The seven-digit number is a bit unsettling, but it seems like quite a good deal, and I also get the benefit of getting it all done now. Thoughts?

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 8:34PM
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seatonheating - If you have dual fuel, then you are running gas when it is really cold out. A heat pump when it is 50 out feels quite warm. Then when it is cold, the furnace is running. So there really is a difference. If the cold air output bothers someone, they can up the switchpoint so that the furnace runs at even warmer temps. Obviously that diminishes the benefit of dual fuel but everyone can find their own "comfort" switchpoint.

This is not bad advice but it sounds like you didn't understand my point. I have a hybrid system on one floor and straight heatpump on the 2nd floor. I never have an issue on the hybrid floor but I can see the complaints on the HP floor.

It probably helps to have a staged system to notice the difference, since you don't wind up running the 2nd stage of heat pump very often.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 5:19AM
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I"m a big fan of dual fuel. (natural gas furnace for extra cold and heatpump when mild).

It doesn't have to cost that much money. There are other brands of equipment available and plenty of contractors who don't have high-priced jobs lined up willing to work for reasonable amounts of money.

Other brands offer equipment for less money and very likely just as good. There is a website I think called You can get an idea of what the gas furance and heatpump equipment actually cost. Everything else your paying is labor. Some contractors have a way of know when the 'got one'. That means a guy who doesn't know how much equipment costs and is willing to spend lots of money and can make the contractor plenty of money. Don't get me wrong carrier and trane equipment isn't cheap but I don't always think its worth some of these high priced quotes I see around.

In a climate like yours (atlanta Georgia), a heatpump would do you very well. Most of your cold weather is above 30 degrees. Heatpumps provide cooler air so they run for a longer time and evenly heat rooms.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 7:48AM
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Thank you david and neo! I did decide to go with a dual-fuel system based on everything I learned here. You have all been SO helpful!!! :-)

I have some coil questions...
I'm getting this system:
- furnace: Carrier 58CVA070 Infinity 80%
- heat pump: Carrier 25HPA636A003 Performance
They originally had this coil in the quote: ADP C36A142C539.
Based on your recommendations, I got them to change that to a Carrier coil and they came back with this one: Carrier CNPVT3617ATA.

I can't find the Carrier one on the Carrier website and when I do an Internet search on the model number, all I get is an ebay listing and some overstock site. There's a possibility that it doesn't qualify for the tax rebate, and something about it not being an exact fit with the system (14" vs 17").

Is the Carrier coil a good one? And the right coil for the system?

If anyone knows of one that would be better with the system, can you please provide the model number?

Thanks in advance!!!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 8:24AM
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lil tee
The Carrier coil is the best choice. However, the one he quoted is not a certified match. you want the 3717ATA mdl/size.

see below.

4384184 Active Systems PERFORMANCE 16 PURON HP CARRIER AIR CONDITIONING 25HPA636A**31 CNPV*3717A**+UI 58CV(A,X)070-12 34800 12.40 15.50 37400 9.00 22600


    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 8:45AM
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Beautiful, tigerdunes! That's exactly what I needed!! I already emailed him that info and he agreed. Looks like "all systems are go"!

Thank you, thank you, thank you ALL so very much!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 9:50AM
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