I'm back. This time better prepared. Please help me choose HVAC.

april_loveSeptember 23, 2011

Hello all.

I'm back with more detailed information on quotes. Please help me decide what will work best in my home.

I live in Michigan. My home is a colonial with almost $2400 sq ft. (Yes $2400 sq ft - this house has been costly) ;-)

My current HVAC system is 50 years old and on it's last leg. I'm preparing to upgrade the system before it dies on me in the middle of winter.I'm not quite sure if the third contractor was just more thorough or if I kind of knew what to ask about this time around.

Contractor #1

Furnace

Option 1: Carrier Comfort. 80% efficiency Carrier Comfort. 13 SEER. 3.5 ton

Price: $4895

Upgrade to 95% Comfort furnace +$600

Upgrade to 96% Performance furnace +1300

Contractor #2

Furnace

Option 1: Lennox 2 stage High efficient furnace model G61MPV60-091.

This unit has a AFUE rating of 95% with a Life time warranty on the heat exchanger.

Price $3,800.00.

Furnace

Option #2: Lennox high efficient furance model G61MP60C-091. This unit has a AFUE rating of 95% with a life time warranty on the heat exchanger and five years on all parts.

Price $3,300.00.

Air Conditioning

Option 1: Lennox 13 SEER air conditioner model 13ACX-036 this unit is 13 SEER rating. Price $2,400.00.

Option 2: Lennox Elite air conditioner model XC14-036 this unit has a 15.5 SEER rating. The compressor has a 10 year warranty.

Price $3,000.00

The price for a Lennox Merv 10 filter is $150.00.

The price for a Lennox Merv 16 filter is $250.00.

The price includes all labor, material, tax, taking away old equipment, 5 year warranty on all parts and labor.

The unit must be serviced in years 2-5 for the labor warranty to be valid.

Contractor #3

Furnace

Option 1: 58STA 110,000btu Carrier 80% efficiency $2795

Option 2: 58UVB 100,000btu Carrier 95% efficiency Performance 2 stage heat $3895

Option 3: 58MVC 100,000btu Carrier 95% efficiency Infinity 3 stage heat $4195 + $299 for Infinity Control

Air filter and Condensate pump included with all

Air Conditioning

Option 1: 24ACB3 Carrier Comfort Series Air Conditioner, 4 ton, 13 SEER $3495

Option 2: 24APA7 Carrier Performance, 2 stage, 4 ton, 17 SEER $4595

Option 3: 24ANA1 Carrier Infinity, 2 stage, 4 ton, 21 SEER $5195

If I purchase Option 3 furnace and air conditioner Carrier offers a $1000 rebate

Options 2 and 3 furnace - local energy rebate of $450

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mike_home

Welcome back April. I am glad to see you have done some more homework.

I own Carrier Infinity equipment, so I know it will keep you comfortable in the cold Michigan winters. I have heard mixed opinions about Lennox, but I have no direct experience.

I am going assume Contractor #3 is a competent installer and he has sized your equipment properly. I am glad to see he is offering the Carrier rebates.

Here are my comments for the Contractor #3 options:

Furnaces:

Option 1: I would not recommend an 80% AFUE furnace for your winters.

Option 2: This is the two-stage Infinity furnace. It is a good furace and will work with the Infinity controller.

Option 3: For $300 more you get a three-stage furnace. This would be my recommendation with the Infinity controller.

Air Conditioning:

Option 1: This is a single stage compressor. I think 4 tons is oversized for your climate.

Option 2: This is the two-stage compressor. This is the AC to get if you have humid summers. This AC will work with the Infinity controller. I believe this AC with the 58MVC furnace will qualify for the $1000 Carrier rebate.

Option 3: This AC in my opinion is over kill for your climate. It is not worth the money.

Ask contractor #3 how much a 10 Carrier labor warranty would cost. You should consider getting this warranty for peace of mind for the next 10 years.

I would also want to upgrade to a 4 inch media filter. This should not be a costly upgrade assuming you have to room to fit it.

You should also qualify for the $500 tax credit if you haven't already used it.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2011 at 8:03PM
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busboy

Make sure your AC is properly sized. Too big a system will cause it to cool in short bursts as opposed to low and slow steady operation. Low and slow is best for removing the humidity.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 9:40AM
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neohioheatpump

Have any of the installers offered to upgrade the a/c to a heatpump? This doesn't cost too much typically, and the time to do it would be when replacing the a/c. If you have reasonable priced electric, it could be a good idea. If gas were to get expensive again someday you would have another option. At the very least you could use the heatpump for the very mild cool weather of spring and fall.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 11:20AM
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heatseeker

whew

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 1:28PM
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weedmeister

It would be good to know what your electrical and gas rates are.

Secondly, you've been offered a 3 ton, 3.5 ton and 4 ton AC. You need to know the correct size. A load analysis (ManualJ) would be good to determine the correct size for both heating and cooling.

Also, as to location, UP or near the lakes? Or southern?

Agree with the higher efficiency furnace for a northern climate.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 2:34PM
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april_love

Hello all,

I'm not sure if the third contractor did a ManualJ. He asked me questions about insulation in the roof, how well the current system worked, and he looked at the windows. He went to his truck, wrote up the quote, and said something about being surprised that the calculation for the air conditioning came back at 4 ton. He told me I could go with a smaller sized furnace because it was more efficient.

I also asked him about the heatpump. He told me he didn't recommend it because if I planned to use it during a Michigan winter it probably wouldn't hold up well. He also said the price to repair those untis were more expensive.

The unit also includes the 4 inch media filter.

I'm a little concerned about contractor number 3. Getting the initial quote was difficult. I called asking for a quote and the rep called me 2-3 days later. He also told me I could email him with questions, which I've done. That was Tuesday or Wednesday; It's now Friday. I'm wondering if the rep represents the company. If I need service I'll probably need it immediately rather than 2-3 days later.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 11:57PM
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neohioheatpump

The idea of having the heatpump in the northern climate is to be coupled with a gas furnace. The heatpump is only used when milder outside (so its not running constantly), and the gas furnace when cold out. Last night it was 45 degrees fahrenheit outside. My heatpump probably ran about 10 or 12 minutes per hour to maintain 68 inside. This type of usage won't wear out a heatpump that soon. The rooms get more evenly heated this way and provide comfy feelings inside.

Its not uncommon for an A/C to only run 3 months of the year in a northern climate. Its not a great investment but its necessary unless you like being hot all summer. The heatpump model can be used alot more than 3 months.

Typically a heatpump model is only a few hundred dollars more than the same model A/C. You also need a newer fancier thermostat. My thought is if your spending $6000 for a new 95% furnace and A/C, why not upgrade to a heatpump model of A/C for $500 for some extra energy savings, comfort, and flexibility.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 8:50AM
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tigerdunes

April

You have had a lot of info thrown at you. I'll add my two cents.

Can you tell us what size furnace/efficiency you have now as well as AC condenser?

What are your nat gas and electric rates?

What area of Michigan do you live and could you describe your typical winter climate?

How would you describe your home's insulation qualities?

Any comfort issues with existing HVAC either in heating and/or cooling?

I always tell homeowners looking at new HVAC system to ask dealer to inspect existing ductwork system both supply and return plus insulation qualities.

If this was my home, I would look into a full modulating high eff furnace like York/Luxaire and probably forget the suggestion of an add on heat pump.

Post back.

IMO

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 4:22PM
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april_love

Tigerdunes,

I'm not quite sure what size my furnace is. I was told that it was probably 60-70% efficient. The AC is 4 ton.

I live in Southeast Michigan and the winter weather can be pretty brutal here. We typically get down to about 10 degrees here.

Your questions really show me how ignorant I am about my own home. I guess the house is insulated pretty well. I don't have drafts of air in the winter.

The heating system works well. The only problem I have (and I'm not sure it's a furnace issue) is that two of the second floor rooms, on the front side of the house are always cold when the doors are closed. One of the contractors told me that the ducts were ran up exterior walls and the cost to re-route them would be astronomical. The AC was on its death bed this summer.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2011 at 11:29PM
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