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Big Decision on A/C unit

Posted by starhikers (My Page) on
Mon, May 2, 11 at 20:10

I've had 5 quotes on a new system with prices all over the place. Does anyone have good news about a Carrier 13-15-or 19 seer heat pump? I have big deal humidity problems in my house, so one said I need the variable speed air handler in the 19 seer to assist. another told me you could get a variable speed air handler with any system. Someone else told me just get the 13 seer unless you are planning to stay in your house for at least 5yrs. So much to think about, it's making me dizzy. I just want heating and cooling without going bankrupt. Do I need the 15 or 19 seer which is almost double the price? Help :) thanks! ps. we're talking Florida here......

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Big Decision on A/C unit

SEER has more to do with efficiency than cooling power.

The furnace or air handler part of the system is what controls the air speed. It's where the indoor fan for the system is located . Some have variable speed or modulating fans, that run in stages which helps with dehumidification. Others are single speed. Even "single speed" systems have a speed tap control that allow the installer to select a fan speed to run. My house has a single speed air handler, set on medium-high speed.

Slower airflow (airspeed) acros the cooling coil will help dehumidify. Longer running times per cycle will help dehumidify. Short run times with the air blasting quickly cool but don't dehumidify very well. A dehumidifer in your ductwork can also help if it isn't very hot, but is very humid.

IMHO, 19 SEER is likely more money than you need to spend.

I would look at Heat Pump systems around 13-16 SEER range. Higher than that gets into top of the line equipment. This is great if you really won't miss the money and want optimal comfort. But not necessary for a nice quality system.

Also check with your utility company and see if there are any rebates or special rates they offer, and if there are, see if they must have a particular SEER on the system to qualify. Also see if there must be an approved dealer to qualify.

Above all, select the dealer that you think knows what they are doing.

RE: Big Decision on A/C unit


what location-coastal or inland?

what size are you replacing?

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

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.


RE: Big Decision on A/C unit


SEER and EER are AC efficiencies.

HSPF is heating efficiency for HPs.

suggest you Google for HVAC dictionary to understand the particulars for these efficiencies.


RE: Big Decision on A/C unit

Thanks so much for the info. I have read that it's really who does the work, not necessarily the brand. Still, price is certainly a driver. I am replacing a builders cheapo unit(Goodman) which did last for 17yrs. It's a 2 ton. We since added two rooms to the house, so are looking for a 3 ton unit. I have looked at the HVAC checklist and only one fellow that quoted even asked about the windows or the attic, the rest just tried to sell me something based on the sq footage. In turn, his quote was very high. The difference between 15 and 19 seer is about 500.00. The 13 is roughly two thirds the price of the 19 seer. I am leaning towards just getting the 13 seer and new windows with low e. This may be the same effect as the more costly HVAC system with old windows. Again, thanks for your replies :)

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