Help picking HVAC System

CDH001December 13, 2013

I have a 2100 sq. ft., 2 story home, in Louisville KY that needs a replacement HVAC system. I have two quotes that I've received that are vastly different in price that I am trying to make sense of.

The first is for a Bryant Evolution system. The AC is a 4 ton, 16 SEER. The Heat is 80% 90k BTU. Both are 2 stage and include a variable speed fan. This system includes a 4" media air filter. I want to get a Humidifier, which is an additional $660. The total installed is $9260. Model numbers are 315AAV048090 (gas furnace), 187BNA048 (AC), CNPUP4821AIA (Coil)

The second system is a Trane. Same stats, but with a 100k BTU furnace. They'd install the system plus a Honeywell Steam Humidifier and 4" media air filter for $12,364. The guy said that this is a complete communicating system. It drops to $10,871 for a non-communicating system. Model numbers are 4TTX8048A1000A (communicating AC), 4TTR70481000A (non-communicating AC), T4D2Z100ACV52A (furnace)

First, is the Bryant Evo a communicating system and what does that really mean? Second, why would the Trane system be 3k more? Which would you recommend? Last, is the Honeywell Steam Humidifier worthwhile?

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tigerdunes

Fully communicating systems have been around for a few years first from Carrier/Bryant with their Infinity/Evolution models paired with their proprietary controller. Trane and sister company Am Standard are following the same concept. These are pricey top of line systems.

The Bryant system quoted is not fully communicating because of the model condenser that was selected, their Legacy series.

You should note that the Bryant furnace is an 80% eff model.

I don't recognize the model number of the Trane furnace you listed. This should be checked.

It appears though the Trane furnace has been oversized because of the blower size. I don't like that.

I would ask Bryant dealer to quote you on an 80 K Evolution furnace 95+% efficient. Of course you will require their Evolution controller.

I think one has to weigh carefully the benefits of a fully high eff communicating system versus the cost.

IMO

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 11:46AM
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mike_home

For Bryant/Carrier communicating means each HVAC component has the ability to send status to the controller. This status can include the RPM of motors, temperatures, static pressure, and any faults in operation. It is a nice feature to monitor the health of the system. I would spend the money on more efficient equipment and a variable speed furnace first.

What are the sizes of the current equipment? This would give an indication of the replacement sizes. Ideally you want a load calculation to confirm the correct sizes.

Do you have a humidity problem in the house. If not then you don't need to purchase a humidifier. This could be added later if there is a problem.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 12:06PM
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jackfre

You post no Manual J information but for 2100 sq ft, I think both your AC and heat side are likely oversized. Is the home well built, insulated, etc?

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 12:54PM
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CDH001

My house is about 20 yrs old and is well insulated with double pane windows. The 95% Evolution furnace was about $1100 more, but I did the math on the energy star site and it looked like 10-12 years before it would pay off. Does that sound right? Why would they quote a Bryant Legacy condenser with the other components being Evolution? I'll definitely ask about the 80k furnace. Also, is the 4" media usually sufficient?

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 8:55AM
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tigerdunes

While the payback on the 95% eff is 10+ years according to your calculator, there is the negative of an 80% eff furnace when it comes to selling your home. Something to think about. I personally think an 80% furnace is fast becoming a dinosaur.

However if you are intent on the 80% eff furnace, then consider pairing with a high eff heat pump assuming you have reasonable electric rate.

Check with dealer to see if you get full communicating functionality if you move up to the Preferred series condensers.

And just so you know, I was speaking about an 80 K high eff furnace. If staying with 80% eff furnace, then the 90 K Evolution 80 furnace you were quoted is the correct size if you truly need a 4 ton condenser which is another question to answer. Either way, you will need to the Evolution controller.

The 4" media cabinet will be fine. However I do prefer the 5" models. Ask dealer about what's available from Bryant.

IMO

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 9:35AM
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CDH001

Good point on the value of the house. The company selling the Bryant option spent an hour measuring my house, counting windows, etc. and said that I really needed a 3.5 ton A/C. Today I have a 3 ton, but he said that the Bryant Evolution comes in only full tons, which is why he suggested a 4. Does that makes sense? So, I think that I'll have him re-quote with the higher efficiency furnace and a communicating condenser. Any other changes that I should consider? Really appreciate the guidance.

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 10:06AM
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tigerdunes

CDH

Please excuse an error on my part.

You were quoted an Evolution condenser, not a Legacy series as I initially thought. It is hard to keep up with all these model numbers. My bad.

So not to worry about that. You do want to get the evap coil model number and verify system qualifies for AC Fed Tax Credit. The qualifying standard is 13 EER and 16 SEER from the AHRI AC DIrectory.

If you do decide to move up from a 3 ton condenser to a 4 ton condenser, dealer should survey your ductwork system to see that it can handle the additional cooling CFMs. That's a 33% increase.

And again sorry for error.

TD

Here is a link that might be useful: Bryant 187 Evolution AC Condenser

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 11:42AM
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CDH001

TD,

No problem and I really appreciate the help. Hopefully I'll be able to decide on one of the quotes this week and get this behind me.

Take care,
Chris

    Bookmark   December 15, 2013 at 10:29PM
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CDH001

So I think I'm sold on the Bryant Evolution with a heat pump and gas furnace as backup. The heatpump was an additional $600; that seemed reasonable to have the dual fuel option. What I don't really understand is how you have to get the high seer and hpfs ratings. The quote I like includes the following: Furn M#315AAV060110, Coil M#CNPVP6024ALA, HP M#286BNA048. This combo gets me 16 seer and 8.5 hpfs. My house was sized for a 4 ton and 100k btu furnace. The quote is larger. He had to make changes to get the higher seer/hpfs ratings and mentioned a larger coil, etc. being necessary. Does that make sense? The total package with the Evo controller and whole house humidifier is $9400. Sound reasonable?

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 8:38PM
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CDH001

So I think I'm sold on the Bryant Evolution with a heat pump and gas furnace as backup. The heatpump was an additional $600; that seemed reasonable to have the dual fuel option. What I don't really understand is how you have to get the high seer and hpfs ratings. The quote I like includes the following: Furn M#315AAV060110, Coil M#CNPVP6024ALA, HP M#286BNA048. This combo gets me 16 seer and 8.5 hpfs. My house was sized for a 4 ton and 100k btu furnace. The quote is larger. He had to make changes to get the higher seer/hpfs ratings and mentioned a larger coil, etc. being necessary. Does that make sense? The total package with the Evo controller and whole house humidifier is $9400. Sound reasonable?

    Bookmark   December 17, 2013 at 8:51PM
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tigerdunes

I would prefer a high eff Bryant Evolution furnace 80 K size over the Evolution 80% furnace you have been quoted. Then drop the HP for the AC condenser model.

Plus be aware the dealer had to oversize the Evolution 80% furnace you were quoted to reach the qualifying standard for Fed Tax Credit.

If you do decide to move up from a 3 ton condenser to a 4 ton condenser, dealer should survey your ductwork system to see that it can handle the additional cooling CFMs. That's a 33% increase. This is no small issue.

Of course any Evolution furnace will require matching Evolution controller latest model please.

IMO

    Bookmark   December 18, 2013 at 9:19AM
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