Heat Pump replacement in Maryland

zucchini2June 9, 2009

I am looking for advice on replacing the original heat pump and air handler installed in a 25 year old townhouse in Maryland. It is an 1800 sq foot, 3-level end-unit townhouse with a walk out basement. The original Trane is a 2-ton heat pump paired with a 2.5 ton air handler. So far, I have talked to 3 different HVAC contractors. Two contractors recommended 2.5 ton replacements (Heat pump and air handlers) and the other recommended 2 ton replacements. Below are the quotes that I am currently considering.

Quote #1 (1st contractor) $6500

Furnish and install a 2 ½ ton 15 SEER, RÂ410, Carrier Performance Series Heat Pump unit

Model # 25HPA530A003

 Furnish and install a 2 ½ ton variable speed Air Handler Unit Carrier Performance Series

Model # FV4BNF003T00

 Furnish and install a 10kw electrical heater

 Furnish and install 35ft 3/8 x 3/4 refrigerant line set

 Furnish and install 8000 series Honeywell Thermostat

 Furnish and install heat pump unit pad and a 30 amp electrical disconnect box

 Install any miscellaneous wires, parts, accessories and duct work modifications,

and reconnect any electrical piping

 Perform system startup, check for optimum system performance

 Remove old parts and equipment from property

10yr warranty on parts & 5yr warranty on labor and parts (the 5 year warranty is from the contractor and I believe he said I have have to pay for an annual check up to qualify).

Quote #2 (2nd contractor)$6498

- Supply and install a Bryant Preferred 15 heat pump model 265ANA024

- Supply and install a Bryant electric furnace/air handler model FV4BNF002T with a fused 10-KW strip heater.

-Supply and install Honeywell 8000 programmable thermostat

-New line set (25 foot 3/4 and 3/8 copper, bi-flow filtered line dryer)

-New 25 amp disconnect box, #10 electrical whip

-1 year parts and labor, 10 year parts, free 1 year maintenance agreement with a checkup this fall.

Quote #3 (2nd contractor)$6198

- Supply and install a Bryant Legacy 15 heat pump model 225ANA024

- Supply and install a Bryant electric furnace/air handler model FV4BNF002T with a fused 10-KW strip heater.

-Supply and install Honeywell 8000 programmable thermostat

-New line set (25 foot 3/4 and 3/8 copper, bi-flow filtered line dryer)

-New 25 amp disconnect box, #10 electrical whip

-1 year parts and labor, 10 year parts, free 1 year maintenance agreement with a checkup this fall.

Quote #4 (2nd contractor)$6998 (I'm not sure I want to spend this much)

- Supply and install a Trane XL-15I heat pump model 4TWX05024A1000A

- Supply and install a Trane electric furnace/air handler model 4TEE3F31B1 with a fused 10-KW strip heater.

-Supply and install Honeywell 8000 programmable thermostat

-New line set (25 foot 3/4 and 3/8 copper, bi-flow filtered line dryer)

-New 25 amp disconnect box, #10 electrical whip

-1 year parts and labor, 10 year on the compressor, 10 year labor on any failed Trane parts, free 1 year maintenance agreement with a checkup this fall. (I thought he verbally said 10 year parts; but, I don't see it other than the compressor.)

The second contractor said Carrier and Bryant were the same company and the equipment was interchangable. If the Bryant was out of stock, he would substitute Carrier.

The 3rd contractor was much higher priced; so, I didn't post any of his quotes.

Should I go with 2 ton or 2.5 ton units? What should be the cost difference between a 2 ton and 2.5 ton quote. What is the reputation of the equipment in the quotes?

Thanks, John

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ryanhughes

Are you in Montgomery County? I'm not sure if you were looking to get another quote, but I can certainly recommend a couple companies if you are (I'm not in the business myself).

First question is how well did the 2 ton heat and cool the place. Oversizing is not good for the equipment or efficiency, but 1/2 ton should not make a huge difference either way. If the 2 ton always kept the home comfortable, I would not change size. Though 2.5 tons sounds more proper for 1800 sqft., many factors determine sizing (windows, insulation, home orientation, etc.). So, really no way to tell you what size unit to get. It's determined by a heat load/heat loss calculation on your home.

All equipment you've been quoted is good and will qualify for the $1500 tax credit.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 8:23AM
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zucchini2

Thanks for your response.

I'm in Prince Georges County near Greenbelt.

The upper story bedrooms on the side of the townhouse that received the afternoon sun, were warmer in the summer with the 2 ton. I don't really use those rooms alot. I'm not sure I would blame the heat pump because I never tried to reduce air flow to the cooler rooms in order to balance the temperatures better.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 1:28PM
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veesubotee

Next time your a/c is on, try adjusting your dampers to see if you can better balance your temperatures.

If that does the job, I would stay away from an 'upsized' air handler, as it will reduce your latent (humidity removal) capacity.

What temperature is your stat set at? Is it colder than you would like in order to feel comfortable? That would be another reason not to upsize.

I spent about 10 months living in AA county (stationed at Ft. Meade), but don't remember what it was like, weather-wise.

Be sure to get a heat calc.

V

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 5:48PM
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ryanhughes

I'm wondering if the original system had the upsized air handler in order to get more airflow for the 3-story townhome.

The warmer rooms isn't really an issue with the unit sizing, but rather inadequate airflow to those locations. Your installer may be able to install some in-duct dampers to help balance the temperatures.

It's hard to compare quotes with different sizes. I'd see if I could get all the dealers to agree on the same size. Perhaps some were not aware that the outdoor unit, despite the indoor unit, was a 2 ton.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2009 at 7:04PM
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zucchini2

All 3 contractors I talked to said that I had a 2-ton heat pump paired with a 2.5 ton air handler. Two of the contractors recommended 2.5 ton heat pumps and air handlers. One recommended 2 ton heat pumps and air handlers. None of them did a survey. I know of one neighbor who went with a 2.5 ton replacement. I don't know if he had any issues nor do I know what most neighbors have used for replacements. One contractor said he would go with the 2.5 ton because I have an end unit.

I have a programmable thermostat. I usually keep it set around 70 degrees (both A/C and heat) when I'm home. I believe the program drops to 62 degrees for heat and raises to 78 for air conditioning from 8 AM to 5 PM during the weekdays.

There are dampers in the basement that would allow me to reduce air flow to the lower levels. I haven't worked with balancing the air flow upstairs as I usually don't use those rooms. My heat pump stopped working; so, I cannot experiment with it now.

We have humid summers where I live in Maryland.

I'm leaning toward the 2.5 ton since 2 of the 3 contractors recommended it, my original air handler is 2.5 ton, and I have an end unit townhouse.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2009 at 6:36AM
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fish30

Hey Zucchini, if you don't mind can you shoot me a message at jyoon8@hotmail.com or post the firms you are working with for your quotes. I also have a 3 story townhome in Montgomery County (Rockville) and have been obtaining quotes. My quotes seem to be consistently higher than yours and I'm wondering if it is just an equipment difference or the difference of different HVAC firms. Thanks!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 5:40PM
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