savings of 14 seer vs 16 seer

stapleman527September 15, 2009

Hey Everyone,

I saw a thread from a few months ago about a similar subject, but had a few differences mainly location. I am trying to decide between a 14 SEER and a 16 SEER system. The contractor that I am working with likes to use Ruud, which I have read a lot of good things about.

I live in Houston, TX and so it is really the heat and humidity that we need to worry about here. Yes it does get cold every now and again but I am much more worried about the days it is 110+ with 100% humidity.

My house is about 50 years old and is not the most well insulated house, but isn't horrible. As far as I can tell it is about average for a 50 year old house in the area. Not really sure if it has exterior wall insulation or not. It is one story right about 2000 sq. feet and all on one zone. Also, the furnace uses natural gas.

I dont have the exact model numbers for the 16 SEER system but it is a Ruud UARL Ultra 2 stage upflow/horizontal R410A 4 ton heat/cool system, which I was told was a 15 SEER and 11.85 EER, but when combined with a third party condenser such as Aspen, ADP, All-Style, etc. it would push it to 16 SEER and qualify for the tax credit. The 14 SEER system was also a Ruud and would run about two grand less.

Our electric rates are about 11.7 per KWh and gas rate is 1.11026 per ccf.

Just wanted to get some opinions on if it would be worth it to get the 16 SEER.

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The _ARL (R or U) is an air conditioner (also known as a condenser). What are you using for heat?

The other names, Aspen, ADP, etc., are for the indoor coil, which should be specified.

Ask for an AHRI certificate.


    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 10:16AM
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IMO, it's a waste of money going to 16 SEER for that reason alone. You will not see pay back. If it is a two stage 16 SEER system with the right variable speed air handler, or variable speed furnace with the right coil, properly set up and integrated with the right thermostat, then it is a different matter. You probably still won't see a payback, but the system should provide superior comfort.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2009 at 11:18AM
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You need to insulate your exterior walls first. Probably need more attic insulation too. Those investments pay back in energy savings.

2 stage condensers are good for humidity removal because of their long run times on 1st stage. EER is also higher on 1st stage cooling compared to second stage, so you have some operating $$ savings as long as it runs on 1st stage.

With that said, 2-stage condensers are really for comfort and not energy savings.

If you can afford a 2-stage then go for it. Understand that you'll never make up the additional $2000 for the 2-stage with potential energy savings over the life of the equipment.

Take that extra $2k and insulate your house better.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2009 at 6:58PM
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The operating savings you'll receive are offset by the higher cost of purchase. "Deluxe" models are priced higher and have higher profit margins. Sometimes the quality can be better too.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2009 at 7:19AM
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Are you saying if you spend an extra $2000 on the 16 SEER system, you will qualify for the tax credit? If that is true, then you can recover up to $1500 in tax credit savings (or 30% of money spent whichever is less). Your out of pocket additional cost is then $500. You then need to calculate the amount of money you will save going from 14 to 16 SEER and how long it will take to get back your $500 investment.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2009 at 7:43AM
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The Fed tax credit requirements for a heat pump are 15 SEER, 12.5 EER, and 8.5 HSPF. All 3 must be met.

A straight a/c system is 16 SEER and 13 EER.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2009 at 6:36PM
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