13 vs. 15 SEER build quality? Aprilaire? t-stats?

GoldWingerJuly 27, 2011

Just got the bad news on my 16-year old Trane 10 SEER units (one 3 ton, one 3-1/2 ton) - leaks in both evaporator and condensor coils in both units. I'm in Memphis, TN, area. One unit's leak is so small could probably limp by another season, but contractor willing to make me a deal if I do both at once. Looking at Trane XB13, but he will do 15 SEER for about $300 more/unit. Not especially concerned about efficiency improvement between 13 and 15, but parts/labor warranty doubles from 5 yrs/1 yr to 10/2 if I go to 15 SEER. Just wondering if I'm simply buying better warranty or if the 15 SEER units are really a little better built than 13 SEER units? Also would be interested in opinions on Aprilaire-type filters (thinking of upgrading at same time) and programmable t-stats. This contractor installs Honeywell 8000's as part of their standard deal and I've found good reports on them. Think I would like the new Trane XL-950's, but appears they are quite expensive and may still have a few bugs since they are so new. Thanks...

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many times leaks can be repaired...why always selling all new equipment...

Efficiency depends on a lot of factors separate from SEER Ratings!

Do a little Research on Return Air Filter Sizing, etc.

Here is a link that might be useful: Importance of Filter Types Sizes Plus Data

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 12:13PM
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Would you spend $300 more for a car that got 15mpg rather than 13mpg? You would save something like $500 the first year in gas.

Higher efficiency saves money in the long run. For me this would be a very simple decision, especially with the warranty increase.

I'm not a big lover of electrostatic filters. Pleated filters are easier to maintain. The newer 4" filters are once a year.

What size house? Two-story? brick? wood? windows? Shaded?
Any cooling issues? Any heating issues?

Gas furnaces? Will the blowers be replaced? Which blower models?

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 1:29PM
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Lots of ways to look at it. What does an extended coverage plan cost for 5 years?

DOE probably has a worksheet on their web site to figure utility savings using your electricity rates.

15 mpg vs. 13 mpg over 10,000 miles would save $358 at $3.50/gallon. I only put about 5,000/year on my Grand Marquis and the pot holes don't phase it so I am keeping it. I do run my AC a lot so I have upwards from 17 SEER.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 1:56PM
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spend the extra for the 15 seer units. If you own the units for 10+ years you will surely see the savings.
THe 15 seer will cut your bill by alotvs. the old 10 seer.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 3:09PM
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Are you deciding between two condenser models? If so please post them. This will help determine if you are better off with one unit versus another.

In my opinion you should avoid builder's grade models. I think the XB13 falls into this category.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 4:30PM
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2 story house, but upstairs is normally closed off. When not, it has a separate 2-1/2 ton unit that we run and it is fine. Downstairs sq footage that these 2 units cover is about 3100. Brick, 14 windows (double pane), heavy shade most of the day. No heating or cooling issues. Gas furnaces/blowers will not be replaced unless problems are found during the AC install.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 6:33PM
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The biggest bonus in my opinion between a 15 seer and a 13 is the 15 seer units usually come with demand defrost which helps tremendously with unwarranted defrost cycles and with a txv valve at the coil instead of a piston type orifice which tremendously helps with humidity control and increases overall efficiency. These two items alone make the 15 seer pretty much the best bang for the buck of all seer ratings.

I replaced a perfectly good working builders grade system that was noisy and obnoxious for a 15 seer because of a zero interest option that ran for a limited time at work. It was a nice investment.

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 7:58PM
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