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Air source heat pump or 'conventional' system? Quotes...

Posted by theyardbird (My Page) on
Wed, Nov 9, 11 at 15:59

Good afternoon. I am in the process of going through some quotes to replace our 22 year old system.

Our house is a little over 2700 sq ft, single story. We are in central OK.

This past year was just nuts, weather-wise. We had 61 days over 100F in the summer, and got down to -19F for a day or two in the winter. Needless to say, there are some extremes.

The current NG furnace and AC units are both 5 tons.

Current rates:
Electricity - $12.48 Service fee, $0.0806/kWh
Natural Gas - $12.22 service fee, $3.7323/Dth

I initially considered a geothermal heat pump because of some outrageous rebates available right now. There's a city one that is $1800/ton (not a typo). Pair that with the 30% fed tax incentive, and that's a pretty significant chunk of change. But our lot is not great for this. We're on a corner lot. Current condensing unit is on east side of house. Furnace is on west side of house in the garage. There's a street on north and west sides of lot. The front yard, closest to current condenser, is littered with natural gas, cable, and electrical lines, so it's not a good place to put wells. There is plenty of space for wells on west side of house, but I don't want a condensing unit on that side of house, and our furnace closet isn't big enough for a package unit.

So, that leaves me with conventional and air-source solutions. Here are the quotes I am considering. I'd like to see what you think about them.

Contractor 1:
Quote #1

Carrier Greenspeed Heat Pump (18.1 SEER/12.5 EER/12 HSPF), Infinity 80% AFUE furnace, Coil, Infinity Communicating TSTAT, legs for outdoor heat pump, increasing return airflow, miscellaneous materials, 10 year parts and labor warranty and 1 year maintenance plan. The cost to do this scope of work will be $16,067.00 - $500.00 comfort cash, - $1,200.00 Carrier Cool Cash, total paid to Inc will be $14,367.00. City rebate is $1250.00 and IRS credits are $350.00 total after all rebates and credits is $12767.00.

Quote #2

Carrier Performance Series Condenser (24APA760A003 with a 16.5 SEER/13.2 EER), Infinity 80% AFUE furnace, Coil, Infinity Comm. TSTAT, outdoor pad for condenser, increasing return airflow, miscellaneous materials, 10 year part and labor warranty and 1 year maintenance plan. The cost to do this scope of work will be $13,71.00 - $500.00 Comfort Cash and $1,000.00 Carrier Cool Cash, total paid to Inc. will be $11,571.00. City rebate is $500.00 and IRS credits are $350.00 total after all rebates and credits is 10,721.00.

Contractor #2
The other two had increasing return airflow in the cost. This contractor forgot to add it to the quote he gave me, but will at a later time. Said it would be ~$800.

Quote #1
90 plus furnace 21 seer condenser

Carrier upto 96.6 eff furnace model# 58MVC100-F-1-20
Carrier 5 ton coil model# CNPVT6024ATA
Carrier 5 ton upto 21SEER model# 24ANB160A003
Carrier thermostat model# SYSTXCCUID01
Replace furnace vent

Price includes sales tax and city inspection
System qualifies for $1000 cool choices rebate from Carrier

$12,585

Quote #2
90 plus furnace 12 seer condenser

Carrier up to 96.6 eff furnace model# 58MVC100-F-1-20
Carrier 5 ton coil model# CNPVT6024ATA
Carrier 5 ton upto 17SEER model# 24APA760A003
Carrier thermostat model# SYSTXCCUID01
Replace furnace vent

Price includes sales tax and city inspection
System qualifies for $1000 cool choices rebate from Carrier
$11,530

Quote #3
80 plus furnace 19 seer heat pump
Carrier 80 eff variable speed furnace model# 58CVA110-F-1-20
Carrier 5 ton coil model# CNPVT6024ATA
Carrier 5 ton upto 19SEER heat pump model# 25HNA960A003
Carrier thermostat model# SYSTXCCUID01

Price includes sales tax and city inspection
System qualifies for $1100 cool choices rebate from Carrier
$11,438

Quote #4
80 plus furnace 16SEER heat pump

Carrier 80 eff variable speed furnace model# 58CVA110-F-1-20
Carrier 5 ton coil model# CNPVT6024ATA
Carrier 5 ton upto 19SEER heat pump model# 25HNA660A003
Carrier thermostat model# SYSTXCCUID01

Price includes sales tax and city inspection
System qualifies for $1100 cool choices rebate from Carrier
$10,554

Contractor #3

Quote #1
1-XC21-060……Lennox 15.5 SEER 2 stage condensing unit.
1-SLP98DF110..Lennox 98% furnace with modulating heat and variable blower.
1-CR33-50/60….Lennox 5 ton down flow evaporator.
1-I-Comfort Lennox thermostat.

Job Scope
Replace existing 5 ton system. Includes gas piping, condensate drain, flue piping, control
wiring, electrical, precast condenser pad, new copper lines with line hide, new R8 flexible
duct returns, adding (1) one return register to bedroom, sheet metal plenum and coil
base, and filter rack for new furnace. Also includes necessary permit.

TOTAL INSTALLED PRICE ………………………….. $14,725.00

Note: The above system qualifies for a $200.00 federal tax credit, a $550.00 ONG rebate while funds last, and
a $1,200.00 mail in rebate from Lennox. (Lennox rebate good thru 12/2/11)
Warranty: 2-years labor, 10-year parts, and lifetime heat exchanger.

Quote #2
1-XC16-060………Lennox 15.2 SEER 2 stage condensing unit.
1-G61MPV-60D…Lennox 95% furnace with 2 stage heat and variable blower.
1-CR33-50/60…….Lennox 5 ton down flow evaporator.
1-I-Comfort Lennox thermostat.

Job Scope
Replace existing 5 ton system. Includes gas piping, condensate drain, flue piping, control
wiring, electrical, precast condenser pad, new copper lines with line hide, new R8 flexible
duct returns, adding (1) one return register to bedroom, sheet metal plenum and coil
base, and filter rack for new furnace. Also includes necessary permit.

TOTAL INSTALLED PRICE ………………………….. $12,675.00

Note: The above system qualifies for a $200.00 federal tax credit, a $150.00 ONG rebate while funds last, and
a $500.00 mail in rebate from Lennox. (Lennox rebate good thru 12/2/11)
Warranty: 1-year labor, 10-year parts, and lifetime heat exchanger.

Quote #3
1-XP16-060………Lennox 15.2 SEER 2 stage heat pump.
1-SPP98DF110..…Lennox 98% furnace with modulating heat and variable blower.
1-CR33-50/60…….Lennox 5 ton down flow evaporator.
1-I-Comfort Lennox thermostat.

Job Scope
Replace existing 5 ton system. Includes gas piping, condensate drain, flue piping,
control wiring, electrical, precast condenser pad, new copper lines with line hide, new
R8 flexible duct returns, adding (1) one return register to bedroom, duel fuel heat pump
controls, sheet metal plenum and coil base, and filter rack for new furnace. Also includes
necessary permit.

TOTAL INSTALLED PRICE ………………………….. $14,600.00

Note: The above system qualifies for a $200.00 federal tax credit, a $1,950.00 ONG rebate while funds last, a city rebate for 1,250.00 and a $500.00 mail in rebate from Lennox. (Lennox rebate good thru 12/2/11)
Warranty: 1-year labor, 10-year parts, and lifetime heat exchanger.

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What do you think? I originally was going for a fairly efficient furnace/condensing unit system. However, all three contractors added the heat pump quotes for me to consider, and I am now interested. In what climates/situations are air source heat pumps better than a conventional AC/natural gas furnace setup?

Now there is some question as to the eligibility of some rebates. There is a possible rebate from the natural gas company for a backup natural gas furnace for an air source heat pump. Their exact wording is:

" $1,950 Rebate - Natural Gas Back-Up Furnace to Supplement Air Source Heat Pump*

* May not displace existing air source heat pump or replace existing natural gas back-up furnace."

As I read it, I would be eligible for it. I do have an existing natural gas furnace, but it is my primary heater. I have called and emailed them to get clarification, but they keep pointing me back to the webpage, and won't give me a clear answer. Then one of the contractors says "you're not eligible", one says "I don't know", and the other says "you are". Anyway, that $1950 is pretty hefty.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Air source heat pump or 'conventional' system? Quotes...

I like the idea of dual-fuel for sure.

If I were you I would get a 95% gas furnace to handle the extra cold that you get. I would have the heatpump to handle the milder temperatures. Your electricity is cheap and so is your gas.

I would get the highest efficiency single stage heatpump. I'm not sure if getting the greenspeed is necessary since you have nat. gas for when it gets extra cold.

I think I like contractor two's choice either option 2 or 3 but make sure you get the 95% furnace over the 80%.

The super high efficiency 2 stage condensors might be a little overkill since your electricity is cheap. 2 stage condensors are good for very humid places where you can run on the low stage for a long time to dehumidify. If its humid you might still want to consider quote 3 from contractor two just upgrade the furnace to 95%.

Else I like the highest efficiency single stage which is about 15 seer.


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RE: Air source heat pump or 'conventional' system? Quotes...

Thanks for the advice, NEOhio. I just heard back from one of the contractors that they checked with the natural gas company. I will not be able to take advantage of that $1950 rebate. Dang.

We do have reasonably humid summers, so I do like the idea of a 2 stage condenser for dehumidifying.

After doing more research, Contractor 2/Quote 2 has a minor issue. With the higher efficiency furnace, it actually brings the SEER rating below 16, according to AHRI. That will make it ineligible for federal and city rebates that require that the SEER >= 16. Contractor 1, Quote 2 has a similar setup, but with an 80% AFUE furnace that does allow the whole setup to hit some rebates. Of course, the more efficient furnace will eventually earn that rebate difference back. Frustrating though!

Why would the 90+% efficient furnaces drop the SEER rating (as compared to the 80% one)?


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RE: Air source heat pump or 'conventional' system? Quotes...

that really surprises me that going to a 95% furnace slightly hurts the efficiency on the a/c side. Maybe the 95% furnaces they were quoting were not the ones with the variable speed fan which are more efficient.

If your making this good size investment you really want to do it right. With the extreme temperature extremes I think the 95% efficient furnace is a good investment for your home during the brutal cold weather. A 2-stage outdoor condensor for the heatpump is nice also.

I would ask them to find a 95% efficient furnace that doesn't hurt the numbers on the heatpump. I would be surprised and couldn't understand if they couldn't.


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RE: Air source heat pump or 'conventional' system? Quotes...

Thanks again, neo. Yeah, that is odd about the SEER rating dropping. Looking at Contractor #2, for instance. Q1 and Q2 are the same, except Q1 has a 21 SEER condensing unit and Q2 has a 17 SEER. Why would cooling capacity go UP with the 17 SEER? Same coil, same blower, different condensing unit.

#1
21SEER condenser
96.6% furnace
Coil

AHRI:
Cooling Capacity 57000 BTuh
EER Rating: 12.20
SEER: 15.5

#2
17SEER
96.6 Furnace
Coil

AHRI
Cooling Capacity 57500Btuh
EER 12.3
SEER: 15.5

Then Contractor 1, Q2 has the same 17 SEER condensing unit, but with an 80% furnace. Also, this quote has a slightly different coil number, 6124 instead of 6024. See here that the SEER goes up to 16.5, and cooling capacity increases as well.

AHRI
Cooling Capacity 59500Btuh
EER 13.2
SEER 16.5

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I'm not trying to hit every rebate I can. It's just frustrating that some are just barely out of reach with what seem to be pretty efficient systems. You really have to go all out to get them.


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RE: Air source heat pump or 'conventional' system? Quotes...

I was digging through the quotes more and did notice differences in warranties between contractors 1 and 2 (for both HP and conventional quotes). #1 has 1 year labor warranty, 10 year parts and compressor, and 20 year heat exchanger warranty. #2 adds 10 year labor and 1 year maintenance. I called #2 about this. That 10 year labor comes from Carrier, is transferable, and adds $800 to the cost. The maintenance adds $160 (they come out twice to check).

Is adding the 10 year labor and 1 year maintenance a good idea or overkill?


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RE: Air source heat pump or 'conventional' system? Quotes...

10 year labor warranty is nice but you may or may not use it. If its properly installed any problems should be uncovered in the first year you would hope.

17seer HP with 95%+ furnace is plenty efficient. Again I like the 95% gas furnace for your extreme cold temperatures. The HP is worth it over a conventional system in my opinion. Especially with your cheap electricity. I would run the heatpump down to 30 for comfort sakes and so your equipment isn't overused.


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