Help - Need Advise

DeDe2013April 19, 2013

My Payne packaged heat pump is about to expire. To avoid a breakdown in the Arizona summer, I have gotten several estimates to replace the system. My home is a 1,500 square foot single floor patio home built in 1973, common walls with my neighbors both sides, multiple windows, including sliding glass doors on the east and west facing walls, 2 interior atriums, a flat roof with the heat pump system on the roof. The duct work is in the ceiling and I have been told is small but not worth the cost to replace due to tearing out the ceiling.

The current Payne heat pump is 3.5 tons, PH1ZO24-060. After reading the forum and researching, I think I want to the get a Carrier but am not sure which system is best for my house:
1)Carrier dealer - Model 50VTA042, 3.5 ton package heat pump, 14 SEER, multi speed blower, single stage compressor. Quote after rebate $5,485.
2)Carrier dealer - Model 50XTA 42TP, 3.5 ton package heat pump, 15 SEER, variable speed blower, two stage compressor. Quote after rebate $7,555

I also got two other quotes, one a Night and Day system from the company who services my Payne system but a 14.25 SEER was $8,762. The other was from Sears ��" no model number but it was Carrier Infinity, 15 SEER, $12,921 so think it may be the 50XTA model. The Sears salesman said with measurements and windows, I needed a 5 ton system but this sounds too big to me. The quote was 3.5 tons because I told him I was not interested in a 5 ton. The Carrier dealer said the 5 ton is too big and it could cause problems my duct work.

I know this is not a lot of information (missing size of ducts, returns, exchanges, airflow) but based on this, do you think that the two stage system with variable speed blower is worth the extra money compared to the single stage with multi speed blower? The system must work 9-10 months out of the year so I want to make the right investment.

Any advise will be appreciated.

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Are you sure the Payne model number is correct? If it is a 3.5 ton size then I would expect to see the number 42 in the model number.

I did a quick look at the the product data of the Carrier units. The 50VTA is rated 14.5 SEER in the 3.5 ton size. The 50XTA is rated 15 SEER. You are not going to see much difference in operating costs. You don't need a 2-stage system for humidity control in Arizona.

You said the duct work may be undersized. Can the current system keep up on hot days? Did you ever notice it turn on and off in short cycles? Is the air rushing through the ducts noisy? The 2-stage system would help the short cycling and noisy ducts. If you don't have these issues then I am not sure it is worth spending the extra money on the 2-stage unit.

Find out if you qualify for a utility rebate if you got the 15 SEER unit.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 8:31AM
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A couple of questions.

You are certain about the sizing of current system being 3 1/2 ton? When operating correctly how did system perform? Any problems in heating or cooling?

Is humidity an issue for your location/climate?

What size heat strip do you have in existing system?

To your two Carrier quotes.

I never ever recommend purchasing HVAC through a big box store and that includes Sears.

The main difference between the two models other than price is the var speed blower in the XT model plus the two stage scroll. I will assume the XT quote also includes the Infinity controller. You should verify.

Both models have same warranty. I have never thought that package systems were a strong part of Carrier's product line. Both models have copper evap coils which is a red flag. Tin plated is available as an option and I would ask dealer to upgrade either free or at a nominal cost.

I can make another brand/model recommendation if interested.

I see nothing wrong other than the coil with the VT Performance model especially if humidity is not an issue. You would want the Edge Thermidstat. What size heat strip was quoted?

Post back.


Here is a link that might be useful: 50VTA Performance Package HP System

This post was edited by tigerdunes on Fri, Apr 19, 13 at 8:43

    Bookmark   April 19, 2013 at 8:38AM
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Sears only recommended 5 ton because
6 tons& higher requires 2 units.
gotta admire the sheer nerve.

best of luck.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2013 at 12:46PM
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Thanks for the info. I have a few answers for you now.

The Payne unit product booklet had the model number previously listed but the service bill has PH1ZNA42000AAAA. I have not gotten on the roof to confirm the model number or find out the size of the heat strip(which I would not know what one looks like if I saw it).

The current unit does sound like a plane taking off especially with the unit located above the main living area on the flat roof. I also hear noise with the ducts so I am interested in a quieter unit. Humidity is definitely not a problem in AZ but less noise would be great.

The Carrier dealer said the heat strip would be 5TW and he would provide the tin plated coil.

The electric company requires a 15 SEER to get a $200 rebate for the 2 stage and then the Carrier rebate would be $1,050. For the other unit there would be the $400 Carrier rebate but none from the electric company.

If there are other reputable brands with low repair rates I am interested in checking them out.

Thanks for any advice you can offer. It is tough being a good consumer when I don't know the lingo or what I am talking about!!!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2013 at 11:29PM
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Taking into consideration your location and low to no humidity, I would go with the 50VTA model especially also weighing the price difference. I definitely would get the optional tin plated coil. The std copper coil carries a 5 yr warranty while the tin plated carries the 10 yr warranty. I believe the warranty must be registered online.

I would want the Carrier Edge thermidistat. That's your call. Ask dealer for recommendation.

The noise issue you mention might be less about the old package unit and more about a poorly designed/sized ductwork system. I would point this out to dealer and request specific recommendations to improve. How many returns do you have?

Tell me about your typical winter temperatures. If I understand correctly, a 5 KW heat strip seems low. I would want a 10-12 KW heat strip both for defrost cycles and emergency heat. Any idea of current size?

I see no reason to solicit another quote as I find yours quite reasonable. If I was going to get another quote it would be Trane/AmStd XL14c HP model.


Here is a link that might be useful: Performance 50VTA Brochure

    Bookmark   April 26, 2013 at 7:38AM
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