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Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

Posted by Cindy-E (My Page) on
Thu, Aug 7, 14 at 18:32

Last December our furnace died and we installed a Bryant 97MA42080V17 3.5 ton furnace. Now our Carrier A/C has died. It was also 3.5 ton. We have three proposals:

Bryant HP 286BNA036 $ 9,033
Bryant HP 280ANV036 $11,873
Bryant A/C 126BNA042 $ 6,838

Since these HP's are only available in whole ton sizes, they are proposing 3 ton HP's. Will that negatively impact our cooling? Our old Carrier had trouble keeping the house cool in the late afternoons.

We don't think the most expensive option would be cost-effective since we already have a 97% efficient gas furnace so are trying to decide between the other two systems. Considering we have an efficient furnace, would the HP save us enough money during heating season to be worth the extra cost?

Our house is 2700 SF and we live near Seattle.

Any help you can provide will be greatly appreciated!

Thanks,
Cindy


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

You are on natural gas fuel for your furnace?

You have the Evolution control for your Bryant furnace?

What size is existing AC you plan to replace?

Let me ave your zip code to get an idea of your climate and temp averages.

Post back.

IMO


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

Hi Tigerdunes - so happy you are helping me. I have seen your other posts!

Yes, our furnace is natural gas and we are using the Evolution control. The existing A/C is 3.5 ton, 18 years old, 12 SEER. We're in zip 98006 and at 800 feet elevation - it gets both hotter and colder here than in Seattle.

Cindy


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

Let me do some research and I will come back to you tomorrow.

Let me have your electric and nat gas rates all inclusive please. Most Important. But I suspect I would drop the HP option all together. You have a great furnace by the way.

IMO


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

Thank you!

Our electric rates are 11 cents per KWH and gas is $1.10 a therm.

Cindy


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

OK

I ran a fuel comparison on nat gas and electric using rates given and understanding they are all inclusive. See below. This is a guide only.

Cost per 100,000 btu of useable heat
Heat pump: $1.07
Natural gas: $1.10

Forget the heat pump, can't be justified especially considering your high end modulating furnace.

I don't understand your quotes, both pricing and size. Installing a 3 ton condenser would be a mistake whether AC or HP. You are positive your old AC is 3 1/2 ton? Please verify and also verify again complete model number of your furnace.

I am concerned about your dealer. He installed the furnace? The pricing he has given seem high especially the HPs. Is there anything unusual about the scope of work involved that I need to know? You already have a whole house filter media cabinet at the new furnace?

I would get pricing on the following AC models with best matching aluminum Bryant evap coils.

Evolution 187 4 ton
Evolution 186 3 1/2 ton
Performance 127 4 ton
Performance 126 3 1/2 ton

Request the AHRI matching number for each of the above configurated systems. Because of your furnace size, model number, and specifications, it appears from the directory that you are limited to a max 3 1/2 ton condenser. Dealer should check behind me.

According to my research, your summers are relatively mild but with some occasional extremes.this presents a dilemma as far as sizing because you normally size to the averages not the extremes. You really need a lad calc performed and decide how important it is to be sized for your extremes. A 3 ton would probably be OK for low to mid 80s. But for higher temps you will require more cooling BTUs.

Post back with the quotes and/or if you have any questions.

TD

Here is a link that might be useful: Weather Averages for Zip 98004

This post was edited by tigerdunes on Fri, Aug 8, 14 at 10:02


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

Hi -

Thank you so much for all the work you have put into this for us! We definitely want an A/C that can cool when it is in the 90's, not just the low- to mid-80's.

Yes, the same dealer installed the furnace last December. The model number I gave you is off the contract. The price for that was $4,870 including the thermostat and whole house filter media cabinet and was better than the competition. I should note that all the prices I have quoted include 9.5% sales tax. Do you still think that these prices are way too high?

I don't know of anything unusual about the scope of work other than we have requested an outdoor temp sensor. The A/C is located outside not at all far from the furnace. I suppose it is possible that the new indoor coil might not fit where the old Carrier was and could require some additional work.

The new installer told us the old Carrier A/C (#38TRA042-3) was 3 1/2 tons. How would we verify that?

I will pursue getting additional bids and and get back to you.

Thank you again!

Cindy


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

Don't get the model number of furnace off the contract. Get it from the data plate at the furnace. May be inside the control panel door or close by on the outside. I need this.

Your old AC was a 3 1/2 ton. I would stick with Bryant or sister company Carrier to have a complete matching system.

IMO


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

OK, the furnace number is 97MA42080V17A-B

Cindy


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

I believe that should be 987M..but that's OK...

A very nice furnace but it appears you are boxed in and limited to a 3 1/2 ton condenser according to AHRI AC Directory. But your dealer should verify.

IMO


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

You're right! 987M. Bummer about only being able to go to a 3.5 ton. Luckily it heats OK and that is our biggest need here.

Thanks,
Cindy


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

What's done is done but your Bryant dealer did you a disservice by not specing the same furnace with the larger rated blower to allow you to at least go 4 ton condenser.

IMO


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

You're right! 987M. Bummer about only being able to go to a 3.5 ton. Luckily it heats OK and that is our biggest need here.

Thanks,
Cindy


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

The summer outdoor design temperature for Seattle is 80. If we assume an 85 degree design temp, you should be OK with a 3.5 condenser. I would not recommend anything smaller.

Did anyone to a load calculation? I would be curious to see the results.

Your old unit may have struggled for reasons other than size. Where is the duct work located? Are there any visible leaks? Did you service it regularly?

How much insulation do you have in the attic?


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

Hi Mike,

Thanks for jumping in and trying to help. I am glad you are also ruling out the 3.0 condenser.

No one did a load calc for us this time; I think they may have done it 18 years ago though.

We have added all the insulation we can in the attic and under the house and have insulated the ductwork too. The ducts are under the house but were designed for heating (e.g. 90 degree turns, etc.) We have always maintained our HVAC equipment annually.

The challenge we are having is that we have been told that the Evolution series heat pumps and A/C units (which are more efficient) only come in full tons. And the AHRI website doesn't rate the 4 ton units with our 3.5 ton furnace, but they do rate it with the 3 ton units which you agree aren't sufficient for our needs.

We don't usually turn the A/C on unless the outside temps are at least in the upper 80's. We have a whole house fan that we run 24/7 most of the summer unless the A/C is on. I run it in the a.m. to cool off the house, then shut the downstairs windows but continue running it upstairs to keep the upstairs cooler. Most of the time that works fine. But we are east of Seattle so away from the water that moderates the temps. As a result, we get higher highs and lower lows. so when it gets hot, the highs are in the 90's and sometimes our overnight lows are only in the 70's which is too warm to sleep comfortably. So unlike most installations, we really are trying to cool for the extremes, not the averages, if that makes sense.

Let me know if you have additional questions or suggestions.

Thanks,
Cindy


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

for Cindy

It should be noted that you want whatever size AC condenser you select (Bryant or Carrier) set up for dehumidify on demand for AC cooling. You have the Evolution controller.

IMO


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

OK, today I talked with another Bryant dealer. He agreed with you guys that I would not be happy with a 3 ton HP or A/C.

He also said that my furnace will not support a 4 ton and that having an oversized A/C would (I think) cause the coils to freeze up. Because of that, I am completely locked out of going to the more efficient Evolution products which are only sold in full ton increments. None of the three quotes we got on the furnace last December had the foresight to upgrade us to a 4 ton system. (At the time, the installing dealer told me our furnace would support a 4 ton A/C or HP.)

Anyway, do you guys agree with the second dealer that we are stuck with a max. 3 1/2 ton A/C or with the original furnace install dealer who is now recommending we go with a 4 ton A/C. But again that is not the Evolution.

Hope this makes sense -

Cindy


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

I tried searching for your furnace in the AHRI directory to see which AC condensers are valid matches. But for some reason the furnace model does not appear.


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

Hi Mike, Here is an AHRI link from my dealer: 6866968. You are right - the furnace number in AHRI isn't exactly the same. Hope this helps.

Also, I have one bid where they want to replace my refrigerant lines and one that just wants to flush them (the 18 year old A/C wasn't Puron). Which way should we go?

Thanks,
Cindy


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

I tried the AHRI number you posted and I get no results. Either I am doing something wrong, or the number is not valid.

It always best to replace the lineset. If you do keep the old one, you have to verify it is the correct size (diameter) for the new equipment.


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

Thanks, Mike. I just tried the number and it didn't work for me either. Then I realized that one was for a best pump. If you try it there, it should work.

Thanks for your input on replacing the lines!

Cindy


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

This is the furnace model model number taken from the AHRI Directory.

98(6*B,7*A)42080V17***

There really are only 2 AC condenser models in 3 1/2 ton size that I would be considering. Understand these are single stage models. I would lean toward the Evolution for full functionality. Dealer would need to advise you on best matching evap coil for your application.

Preferred16 Mdl 126BNA042

Evolution MDl 186BNA042

Here is a matching system configuration for example only.

6864577 Active Systems BRYANT HEATING AND COOLING SYSTEMS EVOLUTION SERIES PURON AC BRYANT HEATING AND COOLING SYSTEMS 186BNA042****A CNPV*4821AL* 1130 98(6*B,7*A)42080V17*** 40500 12.50 15.50 1 RCU-A-CB 324

IMO


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

Tigerdunes, are you saying there IS an Evolution air conditioner that comes in half ton sizes?? I have been told by two dealers that Evolution A/Cs only come in full ton sizes. If that Evolution 186B comes in a 3 1/2 ton size, I think it is our best option - as we would like something that integrates with our smart thermostat and furnace. And if you found a solution for us that they couldn't find, they should pay you a commission!

Could you please verify that the 186B does come in a 3 1/2?

Cindy


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

That is correct...

The 186 Evolution model is single stage and comes in 1/2 ton sizes beginning with 1 1/2 ton up to 5 ton...

That model would be my choice.

IMO


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

Thank you so very much! This forum is the best! Thanks to you and this forum, we knew not to pursue a heat pump, that we would not be happy with a 3 ton cooling solution, that we should request our thermostat be set for dehumidify on demand, we should make sure to have our refrigerant lines replaced, not just flushed, and that there is a furnace available that will meet our needs and integrate with our smart thermostat. We have so much more knowledge than before I posted.

Thanks so much to all of you who helped us with this, and thanks, too, for posting so promptly. We really appreciate it!

Cindy


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

I was able to talk with one dealer yesterday and he checked and said the 186B doesn't come in half tons. It looks like it used to and hopefully still does. On Monday I will check with the other dealers. I wish we weren't locked out of the two stage Evolution, but hope we can at least get the one stage.

The weather forecast highs here for today and the next two days are 89, 99 and 87. These are the temps we need A/C for.

Cindy


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

Here is the product data for the 186B. You can see it comes it half ton sizes. I would be surprised if the half ton sizes are no longer available, but anything is possible.

I am not sure you are saving money by running your whole house fan. When you get the new AC you should try keep the fan whole and setting the temperature at 78 degrees at 40% humidity. I think you will be comfortable and use less energy. If that works for you, then seal up the whole house fan. It represents a big whole in your ceiling.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bryant 186B Product Data


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

The 186BNA is listed on website as a single stage Evolution AC condenser. It is also listed on the AHRI AC Directory with a 3 1/2 ton size as you can readily see on the example I provided. You will note this is an active configuration.

The identical Carrier Infinity model is 24ANB6 is single stage and lists sizes beginning at 1 1/2-5 tons. Also the identical Carrier system is listed as active in the AHRI AC directory and clearly lists the 3 1/2 ton Infinity 16 AC. See below.

6403739 Active Systems CARRIER INFINITY 16 PURON AC CARRIER AIR CONDITIONING 24ANB642A**30 CNPV*4821AL* 1130 59*N*A080V17**14 40500 12.50 15.00 1 RCU-A-CB 335

Now I may stand corrected but I think your dealer is mistaken. Push him on this and give him the 2 AHRI configurations I listed and get his response. Granted I don't think this is a popular model but I find it puzzling that both models are listed on the Bryant and Carrier websites. Take a look yourself.

IMO

Here is a link that might be useful: Infinity® 16 Central Air Conditioner 24ANB6

This post was edited by tigerdunes on Sun, Aug 10, 14 at 11:51


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

Thanks, guys! I will share the AHRI info. with the dealers tomorrow. I also thought it was odd they were on AHRI and the Bryant websites. I am curious how much more we should be willing to pay for the 186B that will talk with our thermostat. I will post the price comparison tomorrow when we get it and would value your opinions.

Re our whole hose fan, it is one that has R-38 insulated doors like a refrigerator. Here is a link to it.

http://www.tamtech.com/store/hv1000-whole-house-fan-r38-insulation,Product.asp

We love having it.

Cindy


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

Cindy,

Have you ever calculated how much it costs to cool your house per year?


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

Hi Mike,

No, we have not, but would like to try. How would we do that?

Cindy

This post was edited by Cindy-E on Mon, Aug 11, 14 at 8:15


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

Get your electric bills for the last 12 months. Select the months you know you did not use your AC and whole house fan. Take the average of those months and multiply by 12. This number represents the annual electricity costs without cooling.

Now add up the electricity charges for all 12 months. Subtract the the two totals. The difference is the annual amount spent on cooling. If you can do this for two 12 months periods so you can calculate a 2 year average.

This method is not exact and assumes all non-cooling electricity costs are constant throughout the year. It gives you a ball park estimate of your cooling costs.


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

Hi Mike,

OK, I did that but instead of looking at annual costs I looked at monthly. But I am not sure what the average cost for the month or year is telling me about cooling because we have more electric usage in the winter with the furnace fan. Our average electric cost per month without the furnace, whole house fan or A/C is $52.57. Our average cost for all months is $67.40. Our average cost for the summer months when we would be using the whole house fan plus the A/C on only the hot days is $66.56. So I guess you could argue that our cost of cooling is $66.56-52.57=$13.99 a month. Now I guess I should someday run the A/C for a month in the summer to see how much more it costs us to do that instead of using the whole house fan. Just curious if you can think of anything else this would tell us.

Cindy


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

Less interested in AC operating costs than what Bryant dealer said about Mdl 186 in 3 1/2 ton size.

TD


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

The numbers seem low even for your electric rate. If the monthly cooling cost is $14 and I assume you need to cool the house 5 months during the year means it is only costing you $70 to keep cool!

Even if your numbers are off, and you doubled it $140, your costs are still very low. The bottom line is you should not be losing sleep over not being able to get the most efficient AC condenser. Even if you could match it to your furnace, it is unlikely you will ever see a return on investment.


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

Hi TD - Unfortunately Bryant said the 186B is not distributed anywhere west of the Mississippi River. There may be a new Evolution model coming that is a 5 speed inverter-type. Again it is only in the whole tons but they think they can limit the 4 ton to work with my furnace. They are waiting for a call back from the Bryant people re when/if that is coming. Depending on what we learn it may be worth waiting for. One big benefit is it would be quieter.

Mike, the reason our cooling costs are so low is that we only very rarely have been running the A/C since we can get by with the whole house fan most days. Even if we used the A/C every day we might benefit from it, it would be about half of June, all of July and August, and half of September at the most. Today is not one of those days we can get by with the whole house fan and it is hotter than heck.

If we had a more efficient A/C my husband would like to run it more often than we have been...when we run it, it basically doubles our electrical costs.

Cindy


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

So I got a better bid today from a different dealer for the 126B 3 1/2 ton A/C. And the reason it was better is they measured the coil case and figured out they could put the new coil in the existing coil case (with a Bryant cover, not a Carrier cover) and save 3 1/2 hours of labor vs. removing the newly installed furnace. Does anyone see any problems with that? I kind of liked it as the furnace is working fine and I don't want it messed up.

Also, the original dealer thinks we should get the 4 ton 126B since our old 3 1/2 ton A/C had trouble keeping up on hot days. Here is the AHRI #6364408. It is a generic listing, not for our furnace like the 3 1/2 ton is. Does that matter? They say they are confident it will work with my furnace, but does that impact the SEER, etc?

I still have not heard anything re the new model that may be on the way, but the Bryant rep is at a training conference in Oregon so isn't as easy to get a hold of right now.

I would appreciate any thoughts you guys have on these two proposals.

Thanks,
Cindy


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

Cindy

You keep missing the point.

That AHRI number does not include your furnace and is therefore no good.

And has been said in numerous posts, your furnace has a 3 1/2 ton blower meaning you can't go above that size on your AC condenser.

At this point of time it appears that the 126 model is your best choice.

I intend to make an inquiry today about the 186 model not being sold in the West. Not sure I believe that. On your end, you might want to check with a Carrier dealer about the availability of the identical model 24ANB642A**30.

IMO

This post was edited by tigerdunes on Tue, Aug 12, 14 at 8:54


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

TD, Thank you for your reply. I was concerned about that but the dealer poo-pooed my concern and said, "These are indoor coil and outdoor unit tests at a specific air flow not tied to any furnace. There are nearly 700 listings, none list your furnace specifically."

So on the 126B, do you have any concerns about them replacing the coil in the Carrier case with a Bryant coil so they don't have to remove and replace the furnace? That sounds like a good option to me but I would like your input.

Cindy


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RE: Bryant A/C vs Heat Pump Help

As long as it doesn't affect warranty or the performance/efficiency numbers. I would want that in writing. If my decision, I wouldn't do that.

IMO


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