Trane xl15i questions

silverhawk95June 30, 2012

Looking to replace the oldest HVAC system in our house (we have 3, 2 for main level and 1 small system for upstairs). The system in question is the oldest, a 30 year old 3.5 ton GE/American Standard condenser and 25 year old Trane furnace (I think about 80-100k BTU). We are looking at replacement since the system is old, condenser unit is physically damaged and is requiring a freon charge every cooling season now. Other than maintenance costs, the system cools and heats well, no humidity issues in the summer.

Home is in West TN.

I have quotes from a Carrier dealer and a Trane dealer. For various reasons I am only giving the Trane quote a serious look at this time.

The Trane dealer gave me an estimate of $7995 for a single-stage AC and dual stage furnace. (Pardon if the numbers are wrong, I'm deciphering his handwriting):

xl15i (4TTX5042) with coil 4TXCC043BC3HCBA

xv80 (TUD2C100A9V5BA)

Does not include thermostat as I convinced him I have a Honeywell IAQ (turns out I do not, I have a Visionpro a step or two down). Also does not include new refrigerant line.

He quoted another $1500 if we want a heat pump, which he did not recommend, as he felt the efficiency gain was too small to recover for the additional cost, and said most people claim that the air blown from a HP 'feels' cooler than from a furnace, so perceived comfort is less. Based on experience in a relative's home w/ HP, I can see this.

I also inquired about a higher AFUE furnace. He was happy to quote one, but discouraged me from considering one since all furnaces are in attic space. He said the 95+ AFUE systems drain water in the winter, and can be prone to icing in the condensate drain. Again, he felt the cost was not worth the tradeoffs.


* Should I demand new refrigerant line? He said he would perform a test to ensure the existing line would work, and if not, replace it. He did not write down cost of replacing, but if I recall he verbally stated around $500. FWIW, the Carrier dealer quoted new copper and said the existing line would be unable to handle the pressure that their "Puron" operates at.

* Would a Heat Pump be a worthwhile investment?

* Is condensate freezing a real issue with high AFUE systems in the South? Is the additional efficiency worth it?

* Do I need an IAQ thermostat to take full advantage of the multi-stage furnace?

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Several questions.

What size living area does existing system serve?

If existing refrigerant lineset is to be flushed and reused, it must be the correct size to the Trane recommendation for a 3 1/2 ton XL15i mdl. This
is important. If not the right size it should be replaced. New lineset should not cost $500. If you do replace it, save old for the copper value you could get at a scrap metal yard. People do it all the time.

I can not make a recommendation on the worth of a HP upgrade without knowing your electric and nat gas rate. BTW, a HP upgrade should not cost $1500- maybe up to 1/2 that cost.

You do need a true two stg thermostat to take advantage of the staging of
the furnace. The HW VP IAQ is a good one plus it allows for dehumidify on demand feature.

As far as condensate freezing, that can be an issue with high eff condensing furnaces that are placed in the attic. where will new furnace be located? There is also the issue of venting a condensing furnace
normally through an external wall in a crawlspace or basement. If attic location as indicated, I probably would stick to the two stg var speed mdl quoted.

Post back.


    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 3:09PM
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Sqft for the space in question is right about 1750. Seems to me a 3.5 ton might seem a bit large, but the house is not the most tightly sealed, and all doors to the house are in this space.

I suspect the $500 estimate is because the run is actually very long and passes through some difficult to reach areas. Perhaps a little high but I'm willing to pay it after looking at the effort expended to pull a new line and not screw it up. I know I wouldn't be able to do it. I will demand line replacement on the revised estimate. The other contractor included it as part of their estimate and still came out over $300 higher for a very basic 13 SEER system.

Our electric is about $.10-.11 per KWH. Gas is about $27/CCF.

I will also have him provide the HP model #s. I think for comparison sake I will get a 2nd estimate from another Trane dealer.

I got a good feeling about the first guy, he was great about answering questions, but I agree his numbers seem a little high but they are much better than the Carrier quote.

The new furnace will be located in the same spot in the attic. I did not mention the quote includes new pan, float switch, upgrade to the existing condensate drain as it doesn't meet current code, and new concrete pad for the condenser unit.

We did get a quote for an xl16i but based on research here and other places, as well as the contractor's own discussion on it, we have decided against it.

Another question - he talked about the CleanEffects filter system and quoted it at $800 as an option. I don't normally go for add-ons like that, it seems a little gimmicky to me, but based on searches here & other sites, it seems like some people are going for them, and the price quoted seems at or lower than most I've seen so far. Question - are they at all worth the money? Do they demonstrably improve air quality? I noticed they require a larger transformer which tells me they probably are not real energy efficient.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 5:11PM
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OK, made a mistake calculating that NG charge. More like $1.081 give or take depending on time of year.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2012 at 5:19PM
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Price may be slightly high but different areas have different price considerations. system as quoted is a great system.

As far a lineset, if it is sized right it can be flushed and reused. But if it is not, $500 for a long run if it includes labor is not a bad price.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 9:14AM
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Thanks Harlem. How would I know if it is correctly sized? I've had one contractor claim it "wouldn't be suitable" and the other claim it's fine, pending a drain & pressure check.

I ran some numbers at, and it looks like at my utility prices, a HP is breakeven at best, unless my NG prices went up drastically.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 12:27PM
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With the rates you provided, there is about a 15% savings using HP down to balance point over 80% nat gas furnace. I used a 2.75 COP which is probably on conservative side.

You do want a whole house media filter cabinet.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 2:27PM
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I'm still skeptical about the HP, unless I can find a Trane dealer that has better pricing on them. As you pointed out, it does seem a bit high.

I see the CleanEffects system is now free for July, so it is a bit easier decision there.


    Bookmark   July 2, 2012 at 11:47PM
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silver hawk,
Sorry it took me so long to respond. But on the line set, if your contractor is a trane dealer he has a chart that tells him what size refrigerant lines to run depending on the length of it. On your system they have quoted it is 3/4suction 5/16 liquid line up to 80'.

by the way cleanEffects while not a miricle worker it is worth the money at the price point. I have it at my house. works pretty well.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 12:31PM
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$1500 upgrade cost for a heatpump is very pricey.
That would bring the cost of an 80% furnace and a nice heatpump to $9500.

There are other installers that can install comparable quality equipment for alot less. Trane is good but I'm not sure it warrants these high prices. If your interested in considering some other brands have some independent installers give some prices on other brands.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 3:02PM
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Memphis just finshed a week of +100* weather. Same for the next week.

Having been raised there I can say that this is not strange, though not necessarily expected. Also, humidity is an issue. Snow is rare in winter, but every several years or so there can be temps in the teens. Record is -13*.

I think that $1500 increase for the HP version of the X15 is too much.

Does the power company offer rebates?

    Bookmark   July 3, 2012 at 3:50PM
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No rebates that I can find. I missed the window on the state's rebate program by 3 months. The energy company's own calculator/wizard tool seems to think a HP is not worth it.

I think I'm going to pull the trigger on the basic system quoted above plus the Clean Effects unit. Just waiting on a 2nd quote for comparison.

Thanks all.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2012 at 9:06PM
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Silver hawk

If you do select the CleanEffects, you need to have a thorough understanding of a homeowner's responsibility for regular maintenance/cleaning that is required for filter to operate best. Most homeowners don't and this can be problematic.

I personally would recommend the Perfect Fit Media cabinet over the
CleanEffects. No maintenance, no cleaning. Changeout is easy and filters last up to one year before replacement.

For best operation of the XV80 furnace, make certain you get true two stage thermostat like HW VP IAQ.


    Bookmark   July 7, 2012 at 7:07AM
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