Trying to make a decision on replacing HVAC

eab22May 9, 2012

Hi, I'm replacing a 16-year old ac/gas furnace system. I'm in a 1200 square foot, 2-story condo, in the DC area. The ac unit is on the roof and requires a crane.

I have a leak somewhere, and I've had to have freon added the past two summers. Last year the cost of the freon was over double that of the year before. I'm sure it's ever higher now. Last year I declined a $460 electronic leak search and an $800 evacuate & recharge (whatever that is), thinking it was better to put that $ into a new system.

I've gotten multiple quotes and discounted three of them because I decided I wanted a 2 stage furnace and ac.

I'm down to (and all include crane rental):

1. Trane

furnance XV80

condenser 4TTR5024

coil 4TXCB025

thermostat Tcont602

1 year labor

10 year parts

10 year comp (?)

1 year maintenance


2. Carrier

furnace 58CVA070-12

ac 24ANB624

thermostat SYSTXCCUID01

no coil model number, but he said it includes it.


$700 manufacturer rebate

$6815 net

not sure of warranty

3. Carrier

furnace 58CVA070-12

ac 24ANB724

thermostat SYSTXCCUID01

coil CNPVP3014

media cabinet F-100 (honeywell)


$1,100 manufacturer rebate

$7,441 net

2 years labor

20 years heat exchanger

10 years compressor

other parts 5 years (10 if registered in 90 days)

If I go with Carrier, I much prefer installer #3. But the quote is $1,000 higher for pretty much apples to apples. Not sure of the warranty in #2 (or why he said the rebate was $700 instead of $1,100), and I don't think it includes the media cabinet. I do plan to go to #4 and say they're $1,000 higher for the same system and see if they'll knock something down.

If they won't, is it worth $1,000 more for an installer that I'm more comfortable with? Is $7,515 - $8,541 even an acceptable range?

Thank you so much for your help!

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460 dollar leak check holy moly.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 8:42AM
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Carrier #2 quote lists a 24ANB624 condenser. This is a single AC. The rebate with the Infinity furnace is $700. Carrier #3 quote lists a 24ANB724 condenser. This is a 2-stage AC. Carrier offers a $1100 rebate with this combination. The net difference is $626, but it is not the same equipment. Ask Carrier #2 to quote the 24ANB724 in order to do a proper comparison.

The 2-stage AC with the Infinity controller works very well in controlling humidity. I have a similar set up and I can get the humidity below 40% in the summer. At this humidity I can set the temperature at 78 degrees and feel very comfortable. I my opinion I think the 2-stage AC is worth the extra money. The larger rebate offsets most of the extra cost. I also think you should spend the extra money with the contractor you think is best.

Will the lineset be replaced? If not the contractor must verify it is the proper size and it is flushed out correctly.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 10:19AM
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I like the Carrier as well.

I see no reason though going with a two stg AC condenser for a small dwelling like yours unless a rebate negates any cost difference.

How many returns do you have now? And how is the return air filtered?

I believe you do get a better warranty on the Trane furnace but definitely dealer has failed to quote a two stg thermostat which is recommended.

New refrigerant lineset included?

Post back.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 10:31AM
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Thank you!

Vendor #3 also added (and I sent to vendor #2, who confirmed):
Install new condensate drain line with EZ-Trap
Reconnect/Modify the supply/return to existing ductwork
Removal and proper disposal of existing equipment
Condensing unit will be set on existing platform with 3" pump ups.
Electrical disconnect box mounted on the wall in proximity of condensing unit
Connect existing electrical power to new equipment
county permit

Is the lineset the same thing as new drain line? Or is it something else?

I've asked vendor #2 to quote the 2-stage ac.

With vendor #3, the difference between single and 2- stage netted to about $600 I think after the difference in rebate. He also offered a $220 savings if I ditched the media cabinet and 4" filter.

The reason I want a 2-stage, even though it's a small space, is for the humidity. The humidity in my condo is already bothering me, and it's not even summer yet. Though I realize that any new system is going to work better than what I have now. Is the 2-stage really overkill?

Thanks again.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 11:02AM
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Lineset is not same as drain line.

Lineset must be sized correctly to new condenser. If dealer plans to re-use existing and flush according to SOP, you need to verify it is right size.

As stated in my earlier post, I do believe two stg is overkill unless rebate negates cost difference. It is not necessary as you will also get dehumidify on demand feature with the Infinity control. So dehumidification will be excellent as long as you are sized correctly.

I like the media cabinet and do recommend one. How are you filtering your return air? And how many returns do you have now?

Any hot/cold spots in home?


    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 11:16AM
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Ah, I didn't realize that I could control humidity with the Infinity control. Thank you.

By returns do you mean the regular registers throughout the house? Or are the returns the larger ones? Of those, I think there are two -- one on the ceiling in the stairs between floors and one on the first floor.

I have no idea how the return air is being filtered. What is preferred? I don't even know the options.

Sorry to show my ignorance.

I will find out about the lineset.

No real hot spots, but it's much warmer upstairs than downstairs. I have to turn the heat way down or off in the winter, or it gets sweltering sleeping. Same with ac. For comfortable sleeping, I have to turn it way down, so it's much colder downstairs.

Thanks for your help.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 12:05PM
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"Ah, I didn't realize that I could control humidity with the Infinity control. Thank you."

Only to a certain extent. It is not like you will have a dehumidifier. What you will find is that as the cooling demand is decreased in humid weather, you will reach lower humidity levels than with your previous system. At some point, with zero, or near zero cooling or heating on humid days, your humidity will go up. Commercial establishments cool and re-heat air to keep the indoors comfy. Some people buy or install dehumidifiers for home use.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 2:51PM
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Thanks, ionized.

Some answers from dealer #3.

1. Lineset - No, we are not replacing the line set; we are flushing the line set and doing a nitrogen pressure check to make sure there is no leakage.

2. Filtering return air - Your proposal includes a 4" media filter installation.

3. The price to install the single stage Performance Series air conditioning is $7,070.00, minus the Carrier rebate of $150.00, making the final price $6,920.00

4. By using the Infinity control and air handler, the Performance series will operate in the de-humidification mode (Ideal Humidity). It is more ideal to use the 2-stage with the Ideal Humidity, but the Performance system will work just fine.

The single stage quoted is the Performance Line, not Infinity. So not exactly apples to apples with #2.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 3:36PM
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I don't want to leave the previous post hanging out there without a response.

First there has been no mention of a dehumidifier. The dehumidify on demand feature only works on AC cooling and that's whether you have a
sgl or two stg condenser. I continue to believe the two stage condenser is
overkill for a small living space. The dehumidify on demand feature will work just fine and the humidity setting allows the blower motor to activate on low speed until your humidity setting is met. I would not pay $600 extra for the two stage. Yes, as long as the condenser is Infinity supported, a sgl stage with the Infinity control will be fine and you will be comfortable.

Surely you are filtering your return air either at the 2 return registers or at
your furnace. If you don't know, you need to find out. Any idea of size of existing furnace?

Temp differences between floors are quite common and sometimes can be corrected rather inexpensively. Ask dealer if you have manual damper control on the supply lines to each floor. If you don't, dealer should add one to better control your supply air to each floor. It works and if done properly can make a difference to your overall comfort.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 3:38PM
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tigerdunes --

The single stage is Performance line, not Infinity. Does that make a huge difference? Should I ask him to quote Infinity? And you are saying that I do not need a dehumidifier, correct?

Not sure what size the current furnace is. The filter on it is non-existent. It's an odd-size, and the filters fall into the slot. Dealer #3 made a point of finding a new solution so it would be easier to access. In his proposal, it's a 4" media filter. So I guess that means the filtration is on the furnace?

Thanks for the tip about manual damper control. I will ask.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 4:14PM
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As far as I know there are three condensers your considering:

Performance 24ACC6 single stage $150 rebate
Infinity 24ANB6 single stage $700 rebate
Infinity 24ANB7 2-stage $1100 rebate

These rebates only apply if you pair the condenser with an Infinity furnace and controller.

It makes no sense to get the Performance condender because after the rebate the cost is higher than the Infinity.

Are you sure the 2-stage Infinity will cost an extra $600 after the rebate?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 4:48PM
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I have been considering similar equipment for my home and am in Northern Virgnia. I wanted to get the two stage AC with the 1100 rebate, but I was told I specifically needed only a 2 1/2 ton system (based on a Manual J analysis) and that the Infinity 2 stage AC only came in even ton sizes (so 2 would be too small and 3 would be too large). I would have liked the Infinity AC, but I am going with the Performance 2 1/2 ton.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 5:47PM
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If you have humid conditions and mild ambient temperatures so that you are not heating or cooling significantly, you will have elevated humidity in the house. Do you need a dedicated dehumidifier? It depends on your climate and how tolerant you are of high humidity in your living space.

A top-notch cooling system can give you better humidity control than lessor ones, but that control will break down under some conditions. Just for example, when it is cloudy, 100% RH and 62 F outside for a day or two, and 68 F inside.

Has it been intolerably humid in your home in the Spring and Fall with your previous system? How about at night during the cooling season? If not, you certainly won't need a dehumidifier with a better replacement system. If yes, It is hard to say.

If You did not have excessive humidity with the previous system, with a better replacement system, you will probably be comfortable with a higher thermostat setting in hot humid weather because the system will attain lower humidity and keep you more comfortable.

Where I live, it is nice to have a dehumidifier for several weeks each year sometimes just at night and sometimes all day.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 7:52PM
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You guys are great!

Lately it seems it's sometimes intolerably humid at night, and it's still only May. That said, I've chalked it up to the system being on its last legs. So I'm sure a newer, better system will be such an improvement, even if it's a single stage.

I heard back from dealer #3 on a quote for an Infinity single stage. He said that he was told by the Carrier rep that they don't stock it in my state (VA), but he's checking MD and will give me a quote tomorrow. And that quote should match what mike_home says -- that it will be cheaper than the single stage Performance, due to the rebate.

#3 also said (regarding manual damper control)

"You do not have dampers because your system is a down flow system and none of your supply duct is exposed. I don't see any way to change that!! Also, I believe we would only find one duct line for your whole system and you can't damper just one duct."

Does that make sense?

Also, mike_home, yes, those are the three that I'm down to, I think! The $600 difference between Infinity single and Infinity 2- stage is from two different installers. I'm working on getting matching quotes. (#2 has been unresponsive today, another indication that I'll be happier with #3.)

Should I push replacing the lineset? I saw on another thread here the term "rookie mistake" not to.


    Bookmark   May 9, 2012 at 9:03PM
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The recommendation is to replace the linset when changing from R22 to R410A refrigerant. However in some cases the lineset is buried in an interior wall making replacent very difficult. In these cases a new exterior lineset is run up the side of the building. I assume this is what would have to be done in your set up if the condo association would allow it.

If the lineset is not replaced, then you must determine if the current lineset is the correct size. It must be flushed out in order to remove all the old refrigerant. Talk to the contractor about if replacement is a possibility and if not, how will the current line be flushed.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 8:49AM
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Hi, further info from vendor #3:

Regarding Lineset - "My notes show the existing refrigerant line set diameters are 3/4" and 3/8", which is the correct size for all the Carrier units, we are offering you. We use an RX-11 flush, nitrogen and put your system into a deep evacuation, all to ensure the piping is clean and ready for operation."

He's willing to come out again to see if the lines can be replaced, but he would need access to the attics in the condo building, which I can almost guarantee wouldn't be allowed. (I can't even grow herbs on my balcony without facing fines from the narc committee.) He also said that he almost always recommends replacing them, unless they are inaccessible or too costly.

Quotes from #3
Carrier Infinity Dual - $8,541 less $1,100 rebate = $7,441 net

Carrier Infinity Single - $7,949 less $700 rebate = $7,249 net
(vendor #2 quoted $6,815 but it doesn't include the Honeywell F-100 media cabinet). But vendor #2 is pretty much out of the running. He has been unresponsive lately.

Carrier Performance Single - $7,070 less $150 rebate - $6,920

Not much difference between the Infinity single and dual. So if I'm going to go with the Infinity over Performance, I would probably go with the dual. So I guess my question is whether or not the jump from Performance to Infinity is worth it.


    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 1:30PM
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