Trane XL20i What is True vs BS?

mmillowMay 15, 2010

After getting a few quotes, another firm came by today and I told him that I wanted an Trane XL20i (5 ton) with a Trane XR 15 (2 ton variable speed) for my master bedroom and an additional room. (This equipment replaces same tonnage of other equipment that I have had for 11 years).

This gent who advised me that they sell more Trane than anyone else in THE WORLD, (this is South Florida), told me that the Trane XL20i because of its sophisticated electronics system is potentially an issue as many service companies do not have the properly trained staff to fix any problems. On top of this he said that the propensity for lightning in South Florida has been a problem to the low voltage system of this unit and as a result he suggests that I go with a Carrier system.

The 5 ton Trane XL20i pricing in South Florida has been great while Carrier has not been great. All I get with Carrier is a Comfort system (17 SEER) and it still costs more than the Trane system!

Is this guy telling the truth? He seemed to be quite more knowledgeable and even measured my return air in my large area to determine that the return was sized only for 3.5 tons instead of my existing 5 ton unit. (Claims I need a return size of 750 sq inches not my existing 516 sq inches.

He also include a #6 wire to the condenser where all the others did not even bring this up.

It seems to me like there is a lot of bs floating around in S FLA and I am now getting very confused.

Also how do I feel comfortable with a company and that I will get good installers and not get hit with hidden costs?

Also what is the opinion of ultraviolet systems-do they work? Some have been telling me that it's a waste and smoke and mirrors? and do they void Trane warranties?

Can somebody help me with all of the above?

Appreciate everyone's feedback. Thank you.


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There is no denying S. Fl is different.
Your pricing is different than any place in the country.
So I can't really justify a low price on a XL20i other than you will get a XL20i from a cheap contractor. If it breaks it will be under warranty but warranty doesn't mean there is an urgent rush to fix it.

The truth,
what I'm getting from this guy is, They are tired of making next to nothing. Their competitors low ball price Trane. Well in order to give a fair market price they think it is easier to sell a different brand and then talk jibberish about the other product.

There is nothing wrong with the 20XLi but I would beware of the contractor who puts it in down there.

It's not the product its the cheap contractor.

Where in S. Fl are you located? I can send you a contractor reference. He's a good honest guy and has a good company you can get a bid from.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 7:27PM
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When the Trane equipment is registered with the factory, you will have a 10 yr parts warranty and a 12 yr compressor warranty. Extended Parts & Labor warranties area available from Trane. Don't go w/ a third party. Depending on the labor option selected on the ext wty, the dealer is paid labor starting @ 90 days or 1 yr. Once you have reached that point, you can call any 'Trane' dealer for ext wty service. Most will run the warranty to gain a customer. This is of course if you have a problem w/ your installing dealer.

Acts of God are not covered under warranty. Generally, if there is an insurance claim, Trane would not honor the warranty. If you lose a board during a lightning storm, and nothing else is lost, the factory will honor the wty.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 7:53PM
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I am located in Coral Springs which is located in Broward County. I kind of sense that my best price is with a reputable HVAC contractor as every firm that I invited to provide me quotes knows that they are the lowest price and each one has their own story, which is comical as I have checked each of the others out (Better Business Bureau etc...) and they all seem to have more baggage than that firm.

Here are two other things that have come up:

1) My 5 ton return opening/grill is 516 sq. inches. One HVAC contractor (the only one that did more of an in depth review than say 5 others) said it is too small and that that size is to fit only a 3.5 ton unit. He said he needs to expand the opening to 750 square inches. Is this true?

2) He also said that the XL20i requires a 6 wire to condenser and he had to factor that in. How come no other HVAC contractor told me about this? My old 5-ton Rheem system that will be replaced is from 1999. I know that I have to clarify this with the other contractors?

3) WHat is your opinion about Ultraviolet systems? Do they really work? DO they void Trane warranties? Is it worth the add-on in money?

4) How do I protect myself that the "A team" will perform the installation (and even if there is an A team)?

Thank you,


    Bookmark   May 15, 2010 at 9:32PM
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For Return Air Grills: 2cfm per 1" minimum, 2 cfm per 1" of free area- recommended. 5 ton @ 2000 cfm would be 1000" minimum. This is all based on airflow across the grill for noise. Free area on a r/a grill is usually around 80%. Your system will work w/ less, but could be noisy. A 5 ton will work much better w/ at least 2 r/a.

The XL20i is a 'communicating' system. It uses 2 wires outside and 3 from the stat to the furnace. No reason to convert 'back' to 24 volt controls unless you are using zoning.

I'm not aware of any voided warranties due to uv lights. The factory line is that the composite (plastic) drain pans in the coils do not have uv inhibitors and could be damaged. The same holds true for the duct liners in flexible duct. This being said, I've not heard of any failures due to uv lights. I don't have one in my house, so can't comment on effectiveness.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 12:55AM
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Thanks, so what is the effect if I just keep my Return air grill at 516 square inches for the 5 ton unit? Does it just mean it will be noisy or do I lose efficiency and am losing the effect of the reducing my electrical bills not to mention making the unit work harder and more wear and tear over the years to come? (I would prefer that I keep my r/a grill as is and not start cutting up my ceiling).

For the wiring system to condenser for the Trane 20XLi I do not need to add a #6 wire? (I have the standard wire from the late 1990s for a Rheem 5 ton Builder Model)

Thanks for all your help.


    Bookmark   May 16, 2010 at 6:26PM
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Assuming no nicks or breaks in your low voltage, you should be fine. If you have 6 wires inside and out, you should be fine. Even w/ a broken wire or two, you have others you can use.

Too small of a return can cause minor problems such as an increase in air noise at the return .... to low airflow across the evap coil and sending liquid refrigerant back too the compressor causing premature compressor failure. I don't know of anyway to guage where you would fall, but others on this board might.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 12:01AM
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Where is the air handler located? Closet, Garage, Attic?
Where is your return or returns located at?
do they come in from the side wall or they in your ceiling?
Does it have flex ran to the return?

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 6:59AM
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Have an electrician install a whole house surge protector on your AC panel. It's the best insurance you can get for your new HVAC system and other sensitive household electronic devices. You can also have the electric company put one on your meter base, but you will pay for it forever.

I installed one when I lived in S. FL. It made a big difference. I never lost anything to strikes (except the power, which went out a lot) when I was down there.

When I built a new house in TN, I wouldn't allow the HVAC contractor to hook the new system up until the benighted foot dragging electrical contractor installed the whole house surge protectors in the electrical panels.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 7:19AM
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Classicdave: Air handler is located in garage.
Return is located within the house approximately 15' away. The 5 ton unit for which this return is responsible probably cools about 2600-2700 sf (guess). Comes in via the ceiling. I am not sure if it has flex run to return.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 9:07AM
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one return for a five ton unit that serves apprx 2600 sq ft?

has any dealer suggested adding more returns? this will improve airflow and comfort.

just a thought.


    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 9:18AM
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if it's in the garage, then it probably has flex ran down to a return box in the garage.
Normally I see here in N Fl 18" duct ran for 5 ton, because it seems to be the minimum you can get by with. The better would be 22" then 20" but you will be restricted by ceiling joist space with 22" inch flex. Or when I see a improper 16" flex run I give the customer an option to upgrade to a larger diameter of flex or run another 16" flex to the return box.

Now I'm talking real world stuff, I don't want to get blasted by numbers in a book because the numbers are not correct per book.
The minimum that I would ever use is 18" round flex, after doing tests with Bryant Evloution equipment these systems actually test static pressure when they run, for 5 tons, 18" return and 16" supply is the minimum I would go with only because of real field test results.

I'm not sure what the contractor has plans for.
If you don't enlarge the flex or add another flex to the return box then enlarging the grill doesn't do anything for the return.

Next, what I do, and most contractors don't is on every home that has a 5 ton system, I give the customer an option to go with zoning. Some elect not to zone but some do because it really works if set up correctly. With that I can drop the tonnage of the system to a 3 or 4 tons(depends how many zones are implemented) and then there is absolutely no issue with return air. With that said you want a contractor that has experience in doing zoning.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2010 at 10:52AM
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I have the XL20i with washable filter on air handler in my garage and another filter in my house on the return. Some have told me that I only need run one or the other filter but not both is this correct confused?

    Bookmark   August 29, 2012 at 4:20PM
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