Heat Pump Replacement Options (Trane vs Lennox)

shazaamJuly 28, 2011

My 10-year old Rheem heat pump is on the way out (failing compressor), and I'd appreciate some input about our replacement options. Quick overview of our home:

1500 sq ft

2 Stories w/ Crawl Space

Near Charlotte, NC

Our house is 10 years old, and the sales reps say that our ducts look fine -- no sweating, etc. to indicate poor performance. So we'll just be replacing the outside unit and air handler in the crawl space. We've received quotes from two different companies -- both well-established, local businesses that have good reputations. Here are the options that they've presented:

Lennox 13HPX (13 SEER) $5100

Trane XR13 (14 SEER) $5425

Lennox XP 14 (15 SEER) $6300 ( before $500 rebates/tax credits)

Trane XR15 (15 SEER) $6500 (before $500 rebates/tax credits)

Trane XL20i (19 SEER) $8450 (before $1500 rebates/tax credits)

All are 2.5 ton systems and include 10 year parts and labor warranties and variable speed air handlers. If I want to cut costs, I can save $650 by dropping the labor warranty to 2 years, and I can save $500 by switching to single speed air handler.

Thoughts or advice?

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10 yr life is not very good but I suspect a low end builder grade was installed.

I would not have a Lennox HP system.

Trane's XR15 would be my choice but I want to know the air handler mdl quoted.

these are my minimum specs for a new HP system. both outside and inside units should be replaced to have a properly matched system.

15 SEER, 12.5+ EER, 9 HSPF
best matching VS air handler
full BTUs in both cooling and heating for your rated size
R-410a refrigerant(same as Puron)
scroll compressor preferred
electronic demand defrost preferred
thermostat with "dehumidify on demand" feature
staged backup heat strips
new and correctly sized refrigerant lineset
10 yr warranty compressor and parts

you want a thorough inspection of your ductwork system. size, overall condition, supply and return lines, insulation qualities, leak test, etc.
any hot/cold spot issues in your home should be addressed.

I would only use authorized dealers for the various brands that provide quotes. see mfg websites.

I would look at Trane/AmStd,Rheem/Rudd,Carrier/Bryant.

I would not purchase a new HP system that did not have electronic demand defrost.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 4:05PM
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Thanks for the quick response, tigerdunes -- I've learned a lot from what you've written in previous posts here in the heating and air forum. One of the sales reps thought our unit was probably builder's grade, as well. That fits with the overall approach that the builder took with our home -- any corner that he could cut, he did cut. If you don't mind, I have a few follow up questions:

1. I understand the basics of what makes the variable speed air handler different from the single speed, but I don't have a good grasp of what the advantages are. I assume that it boosts efficiency, but will that boost translate into enough savings to justify the added cost of $500 or so?
2. Are you a proponent of extended labor warranties on a system like the XR15? For example, I can save $650 if I go with a 2-year warranty over the 10-year. Since we're likely to be in the house for 3-5 years, I'm leaning toward saving the money.
3. I've seen a lot of recommendations for the Trane XL15i. In your mind, would it be worth an extra $500 over the XR15?
4. Finally, the dealer who quoted the Lennox system also sells Trane, but he steered me to Lennox. I wondered if they have a better profit margin on Lennox, but he presented it as more bang for the buck (Trane's more expensive because of advertising, etc.). You clearly prefer Trane, but what are your thoughts on the XP system?


    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 4:53PM
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first of all, I am very familiar with Charlotte area/climate as I live in SC Piedmont along 85 corridor.

I would not have a Lennox HP system, what more would you like me to say? Trane HPs are simply a better product than Lennox.

If 2 1/2 ton is your correct size, then these are the only two matching systems for a XR15 HP condenser I would want.

There are 3 major benefits to a correctly sized var speed air handler.

1.it is quieter
2.improved efficiency which equals better operating costs
3.better dehumidification in AC mode

Extended labor warranty is nothing more than an insurance premium. I don't want to steer you other than to say it is not needed as much with Trane HP systems as other brands. Your decision.

You do get the proprietary top with the XL15i over the XR15 plus an extra two yr compressor warranty from 10 yr to 12 yr compared to XR15. How long do you plan to be in current home? Those are the benefits.

1.4385449 Active Systems XR15 WEATHERTRON TRANE 4TWR5030E1 *AM7A0B30H21 31600 13.00 15.75 29800 9.50 18000

2.3516777 Active Systems XR15 WEATHERTRON TRANE 4TWR5030E1 4TEE3F39A1 30000 13.00 15.75 30000 9.00 18000

Both have VS air handlers.

what thermostat was quoted? what size heat strip?

post back.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 6:47PM
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First of all, I'd like to apologize -- I read your statement about Lennox HP as referring to the 13 HPX unit that I mentioned. When I read your reply, it dawned on me that you were abbreviating "heat pump" as HP, not referring to the HPX unit (as opposed to the XP). That's why I asked your opinion about the XP. Now I get it -- you're not a fan of Lennox heat pumps in general. Sorry for the round-about...

At this point, I only have a formal quote for the Lennox systems (I got the Trane quotes by e-mail and phone), and they include an 8 kw heat strip. That particular sales rep saw no need to replace our existing thermostat, a Robertshaw #9520. I haven't discussed the thermostat or heat strip with the Trane sales rep, but that's something I'll bring up -- I'll be following up with him tomorrow to schedule an appointment for a formal quote. I'll also get more specific information about the air handler.

Again, I really appreciate your help. I'll follow up with more info later tomorrow...

    Bookmark   July 28, 2011 at 8:57PM
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there are always alternatives.

if you know you are only going to live in this home 3-5 additional years, then you could drop down to a lower priced system and forget the var speed blower and ext 10 yr labor warranty.

for instance, lightening could strike your condensor and the compressor might be ruined. Yes, compressor would be covered under warranty but you would be responsible for labor after the second year. Your savings on the warranty would evaporate but probably a good gamble.

As far as the XR15, I would stick with the two choices on var speed blower.

However, you might consider dropping down to the XR13 with a high eff air handler but not vat speed.

4563198 Active Systems XR13 WEATHERTRON TRANE 4TWR3030B1 GAM5A0B30M21 29800 12.00 14.00 28600 9.00 17300

you would lose comfort and reduced performance/effiociency numbers. make the comparison to the AHRI matching numbers listed above. certainly not a bad system and should be much better than what you have now.

just a few thoughts. not trying to muddy the water.

I am attaching a link to Trane HPs. You might want to run a comparison.


Here is a link that might be useful: Trane Heat Pumps

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 7:50AM
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