Lennox Repair / Replacement

bmoore2310September 18, 2012

I have a 18 year-old Lennox A/C and furnace that I don't know how to proceed with. We live in Nebraska with hot/humid summers and generally cold winters.

We recently moved into the house and the sellers provided us with a home warranty with a local company due to the age of the units. We have a 1 1/2 story with 2 aging units that are not very efficient but until 3 weeks ago worked ok. Don't know of the exact sizes of each of the units, but the larger (I think a 3.5 ton 10 SEER unit) developed an A-Coil leak over the past week.

The home warranty will cover the A-Coil replacement but I could, instead, use the coil replacement cost towards the purchase of a new system from the warranty company. They sell and install American Standard equipment. If I decided to go this route I would get a number of quotes to make sure that I wasn't getting a bad price just due to the credit.

The technician was very helpful and explained to me a lot about the systems that I had. He indicated that the Lennox A/C was pretty reliable and could be "repaired" but he had seen more problems with the furnace (heat exchanger cracking).

Obviously, I would like to have new equipment but we are looking at a number of improvements to our house so I would like to delay the Heating/ A/C replacement until at least next summer.

Couple of questions for the experts out there I would like your advice on:

How much does pricing fluctuate between the year? Is the pricing right now (at the end of the cooling season and before the beginning of heating) a good time to buy?

I think I can wait on the coil replacement until next spring - what's the likelihood of my heat exchanger cracking on a unit this old?

Any help/thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks

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mike_home

You can get better pricing during the spring and fall. This is the period when the manufacturers offer rebates and contractors aren't as busy. What is more important is contractors have time to review your system and discuss possbile options. In addition the installation crews are rested and are not working around the clock.

Your best option is to have the warranty company give you a check for the coil replacement so you may use it to purchase new equipment from a good contractor. The probablilty of the heat exchanger cracking this winter is small. You can wait until spring. This will give you time to do some research.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 4:33PM
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tigerdunes

These third party warranty companies are usually hacks. If you are relying solely on their "expertise and professionalism", I would consider a second opinion.

If truly the coil, then I agree it would be a poor use of resources to make a repair like this on 18 yr old HVAC. Take the settlement and apply toward new equipment.

IMO

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 12:07AM
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joe_mn

2 separate ac/furnace units in house?

    Bookmark   September 19, 2012 at 10:12AM
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bmoore2310

Have now received a few bids and am trying to compare. Would really like some assistance from the experts out there.

3200 sq ft 1 1/2 story house. South facing. Equipment worked fine all summer with extreme heat but larger unit has a coil leak.

Bid 1 - Carrier
Basement / Main Floor - 59TN6A120V24-22 96% Furnace / 24ABC642 16 Seer 3.5 Ton A/C
Second Floor - 59TN6A060V17-14 96% Furnace / 24ABC624 16 Seer 2 Ton A/C
Coil model number unknown
Matching Infinity controllers
AprilAire 2210 air cleaners
UVC Air Purifiers
New lineset, all new electrical connections back to panel, new pad, etc.
10 year parts, 2 year labor
$22,500

Bid 2 - Carrier
Basement / Main Floor - 59TP5A100E21-20 96% Furnace / 24ABC642A003 16 Seer 3.5 Ton A/C
Second Floor - 59TP5A060E17-14 96% Furnace / 24ABC624A003 16 Seer 2 Ton A/C
Matched Case Coil - model number unknown
4" Pleated filters
Air Knight Photohydroionization air cleaner
Matching Performance series controllers
New lineset, new pad
10 year parts, 2 year labor
$16,800

Bid 3 - American Standard
Basement / Main Floor - AUH2C100A9V4VA 95% Furnace / 4A7A5042E1 15 Seer 3.5 Ton A/C / 4TXCC043BC3HCA Coil
Second Floor - AUH2B060A9V3VA 95% Furnace / 4A7A5024E1 15 Seer 2 Ton A/C / 4TXCB025BC3HCA Coil
5" Pleated filters
Honeywell Controller(s) - YTH9421C1002
New lineset, new pad
10 year parts / labor
$21,000

Questions - is the Carrier upgrade to Infinity really worth the price difference? Know that I need to get the coil model numbers for both of the Carrier quotes, is there a model I should be asking for? Does the warranty difference on the Am Std equipment make it the way to go? Does the UV light or other air cleaning equipment make that much of a difference for the added expense?

Thanks in advance for all of your help!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 2:30PM
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tigerdunes

What size living area is each zone?

What size furnace/eff and AC are you replacing?

Before worrying about brands and models, I would want to know that I am being sized correctly. From a distance, I think you are being grossly oversized on furnaces.

BTW, where are current furnaces located?

Post back.

IMO

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 4:14AM
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bmoore2310

Main floor is approx 2300 sq ft with ceilings of at least 9 feet and up to 14 feet in 2 large areas. Top floor is approx 1000 sq ft. Basement is finished.

Furnaces are located in basement. Current equipment is 100,000 btu and 50,000 btu. 70% efficiency. A/C is same size as quoted above and all 10 SEER.

Thanks for your help

    Bookmark   October 6, 2012 at 12:54PM
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bmoore2310

The quoted furnace for #2 has the 2 stage gas valve that the contractor indicated fired at 63K on the low setting or 97K on the high setting. He also had a lower priced option that included a single stage furnace without the ECM blower at 95% and 80K. Would this one still be too big? Should I be getting a bid for a smaller furnace with the 2 stage valve?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 11:23AM
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neohioheatpump

Keep in mind that a 95% produces significantly more heat than the same size btu 80% furnace. So if your old furnace on the main zone was 100K btu and was 80% efficient and it did fine than you should be fine with an 80K btu furnace that is 95% efficient. That puts out roughly the same heat as the 100K btu that is 80%.

What was the size of the old furnace you are replacing?

On the coldest days, did the furnace keep up fine? Did it run non-stop or stop often? If it stopped often even on the coldest weather than your existing was oversized a bit and you could go smaller still.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 12:37PM
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bmoore2310

We are replacing a 100K BTU furnace paired with a 3.5 ton A/C and a 50K BTU furnace paired with a 2.0 ton A/C. Both were 70% efficiency at best. Unfortunately, I can't tell you how it operated as we recently moved in. Can only say that while working, the A/C cooled fine

    Bookmark   October 9, 2012 at 9:01PM
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bmoore2310

Please help with my thinking here....

I had a 100K BTU furnace at 70% = 70K BTU. So on my larger unit am I better off with a 80K BTU 96% furnace that would give me approx 76K BTU? I thought I had discussed with one of the bids that I needed to move enough air? I get that the Carrier bid for the 120K furnace sounds too big, but will I effectively be able to control temperature with a 80K furnace? On both heating and cooling will it be sufficient to move enough air to avoid hot/cool spots?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2012 at 10:38PM
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tigerdunes

Insist on a load calculation in writing for both zones.

You can even perform it yourself at a nominal cost. I can provide a link if interested.

However if existing furnace performed satisfactorily, I would not go higher than an 80 KBTU model 95%+ efficiency two stage var speed and a 4 ton rated blower motor. You want a media cabinet and of course a correct thermostat that controls staging of the heat, no timer on the control board. That's a cheap shortcut that reduces full functionality of a nice furnace.

IMO

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 11:40AM
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bmoore2310

Thanks tigerdunes

Would love a link to perform a load calculation. Appreciate the feedback

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 5:27PM
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tigerdunes

Here it is...

Here is a link that might be useful: HVAC Calc Residential Software

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 6:20PM
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bmoore2310

Thanks for everybody's help. Still working on trying to get the load calculation done myself (not enough free time). However, I have what looks to be a decent quote from a local Trane dealer that matches what you have been saying is more appropriately sized.

Main Floor / Basement
XV95 4 Ton Variable Speed Furnace (TUH2C80A9V4VAA)
XR15 3.5 Ton A/C (4TTR5042E1000A)
3.5 Ton Coil (4TXCC044BC3)
Thermostat (TCONT602AF22MA)

Upstairs
XV95 2 Ton Variable Speed Furnace (TUH2B060A9V3VAA3)
XR15 2 Ton A/C (4TTR5024E1000A)
2 Ton Coil (4TXCB025BC3)
Thermostat (TCONT602AF22MA)

Total cost of $15,000. This dealer is pushing the clean effects pretty hard, but I am not convinced of the cost/benefit of such equipment. Seems way more reasonable than the American Std setup.

Thoughts/comments/things that I need to consider? Should I upgrade to the 800 series thermostats?

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 1:48PM
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tigerdunes

Moore

Just a few observations.

I don't care for the thermostat selection at all.

For the main floor and basement system, I would want zoning controls so that each of these zones can be controlled independently from the other.
You will be better served if comfort is important to you. Will more than
likely require some ductwork modification. You may just need a cheap on/off thermostat if the zoning controls actually control each of these
zones. Best to discuss this with dealer as well as qualify his expertise in this area. If not going with zoning controls, then I would want XL900 Trane
stat or HW VP IAQ stat.

Now to the second floor. I don't care for the furnace selection primarily because you would never need or use the higher stage. Save some bucks and go with the XT95 with high eff blower sgl stage in 40 KBTU size. Would recommend the 803 stat.

And what does dealer recommend on whole house air filter cabinet for each system?

IMO

    Bookmark   December 28, 2012 at 4:57PM
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bmoore2310

Thanks for the input.

Thermostats - dealer has said to upgrade from the 602 to the 803 is $150 each system. Sounds a little generous to me. I would think that I could get the 900 upgrade for this price. Thoughts?

Filtration - dealer is still pushing CleanEffects. Think that they just like the continued revenue stream that it provides. Alternative is 5 inch pleated media filter @ $450 per system. I really don't think its a good idea to keep my 1 inch filters with the 95% furnaces.

Second floor - I could save about $500 by going to the XT95. Dealer continues to push the XV95 for humidity control. Thinking about staying with the XV as it gets pretty warm upstairs today when the heat is on (its currently 5 degrees outside) and the lower stage on the XV95 should even out the temperature swings, right?

Very appreciative of all of your comments / recommendations.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 10:37AM
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tigerdunes

Just so you know, HW mdl 8321 is same stat as Trane's 803.

I would stay with Trane's Perfect Fit media cabinet over the Clean Effects on both systems.

On the downstairs system, I would want the HW VP IAQ stat over the 803.

On the upstairs furnace, I would go with the XT 95 40K furnace. Why? Because I doubt you would ever use the high stage on the XV95. I would use the 803 thermostat that has overcool feature for AC cooling.

Save the $500 and put toward the correct stat.

IMO

    Bookmark   January 22, 2013 at 11:49AM
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bmoore2310

So, why would I want to go with the HW VP IAQ over the 803 for the downstairs unit? Also, what's a fair upgrade charge from the 600 series that has been quoted? Looks like I can get the HW 8321 for less than $200 from lots of places. Of course, that doesn't include install.

Is the HW VP IAQ the same as the Trane 900 series thermostat?

Thanks again for all of the help.

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 2:16PM
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tigerdunes

If the best dehumidification is important to you, then the HW VP IAQ is the best with dehumidify on demand feature for AC cooling. XL900 does the same. Second would be Trane's 803 or identical HW mdl 8321 that has dehumidify overcool feature.

Definitely not the 600 series for downstairs system.

If you go with the 803(8321), it is especially important that one or the
other is wired up correctly for downstairscsystem so that the thermostat controls the staging, not the timer on thevfurnace control board that will keep you in high stage all the time whether you need it or not. Many dealers want to take a shortcut using the timer which only shortchanges the functionality of a nice furnace like the XV95. This is a big deal as far
as comfort and operating savings.

I am not going to speak to your pricing question. You can check the Internet including eBay. Pricing is all over the place.

IMO

    Bookmark   January 23, 2013 at 2:28PM
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