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New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need help

Posted by Timobkg (My Page) on
Sat, Nov 3, 12 at 22:35

I live in South Jersey, near Philly, and our existing furnace is 25ish years old, oil burning, and starting to fall apart. In replacing, we wanted to move to gas. I've gotten proposals from two contractors so far, and I'm rather lost. The NJ Energy Star program gives us up to a $5k rebate, and a $10k interest free loan, if we go through the program.

Existing furnace is 100K BTU oil furnace, estimated 80% Eff. Existing water heater is 40 gallon electric, .88 Eff, and 8 years old, and I've heard conflicting advice on if we should replace it or not. I think our house is 1800-2000 square feet. Electricity cost seems to be $0.16 per kWh after supply + delivery charges. I don't know the natural gas price as we don't have it yet.

Here are the proposals I've gotten, all of which include various amounts of air sealing / insulation.

Proposal 1
Modulating, variable speed, 60K BTU Carrier Furnace 59MN760V17-14
2-ton, variable speed heat pump Carrier condenser 25VNA024A003
Carrier evaporator coil CNPVP4821ATA
Carrier Infinity thermostat
Bradford White 50 gallon gas water heater .63 EF M1TW50S6FBN
$21113 total after rebate ($18,285 for the HVAC equipment, $5678 for air sealing / insulation, $2150 for water heater)

Proposal 2
Modulating, variable speed , 60K BTU Carrier Furnace 59MN760V17-14 (same as Proposal 1)
2-ton, 2-stage Carrier condenser 24ANB724A003
Carrier evaporator coil CNPVP3117ATA
Infinity thermostat
Bradford White 50 gallon gas water heater .63 EF M1TW50S6FBN (same as 1)
$17719 after rebate ($14891 for the HVAC equipment, same $5678 for air sealing / insulation, $2150 water heater)

Proposal 3
2-stage, variable speed, 60K BTU Carrier Furnace 59MN6A60V17-14
2-ton, 2-stage Carrier condenser 24ABC624A003
Carrier evaporator coil CNPVP3017ATA
Infinity thermostat
Bradford White 50 gallon gas water heater .63 EF M1TW50S6FBN (same as 1+2)
$15741 after rebate ($12913 for HVAC equipment, $5678 for air sealing / insulation, $2150 for water heater)

Proposal 4
Modulating, variable speed, Carrier Furnace 59MN7080-14
Variable speed 36K BTU Carrier Heat Pump 25VNA036
Carrier evaporator coil CNPV3717
Infinity thermostat
Optional Navien Tankless water heater NNR-180-ANG - $3500
$17155 after rebate with water heater, $13655 without water heater

Proposal 5
2-stage, variable speed, Carrier Furnace 59TN6080-14
2-stage 36K BTU Carrier Heat Pump 25HNB636
Carrier evaporator coil CNPV3717 (same as 4)
Infinity thermostat
Navien Tankless water heater NNR-180-ANG (same as 4, but not optional)
$15547 after rebate with water heater

Proposal 6
2-stage, variable speed Carrier Furnace 59TN6080-14 (same as 5)
2-stage Carrier AC 24ANB736
Carrier evaporator coil CNPV3717 (same as 4,5)
Infinity thermostat
No water heater
$11552 after rebate without a water heater

Proposal 7
Carrier variable speed furnace 59SP5080
1-stage Carrier AC 24ABC636
Carrier evaporator coil CNPV3717 (same as 4,5,6)
Honeywell VisionPro 8000 thermostat (different from all other proposals)
No water heater
$10904 after rebate without a water heater

I've read here that the ATA coils in proposals 1-3 are the old style, and we should request the new ALA coils. Does it make a big difference, or just something we should get because it should be a free upgrade?

The company for proposals 1,2,3 seems much more detail oriented towards their air sealing / insulation - they said exactly what they were going to do, where as company for the others said they'll bring in their subcontractors in for 9 hours to air seal. But then the price for 1,2,3 is significantly higher.

I was told that a Heat Pump would save us money, but reading these threads I see that's not necessarily the case, and may be unnecessary or even cost us more.

I was also told that a tankless water heater would save us a fair amount in heating costs, and make sure that we wouldn't run out of water.

I've read that a 2-stage furnace is better from a comfort perspective (but won't really lower energy costs, contrary to what I've been told), but what about a modulating furnace, or a 2-stage condenser vs a 1-stage condenser?

Any advice on which way to go here would be really appreciated. There are so many model numbers, and so many spurious claims, that my head is spinning.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

It can certainly make you crazy. Been there, done that. How large is your home and how many square feet (approx), is your attic? That air seal price seems quite high to me, but they probably inflate it so they can keep the hvac part looking more reasonable. It's all a package and so try to look at what you are getting and the bottom line, unless you want to try to negotiate each component. You also have to decide if an efficient electric heater is cheaper to run that a moderate (tank) to High eff (Navien) gas unit. I doubt electric is lower, esp if it's in a cool basement.

I had one guy break down his prices . I did have a quote similar to your #6, for the same hvac equip but inlcuding air sealing and R-19 insulation for approx 900 sq feet. My price included a 50 gal gas hot water heater- power vent. His price was 18,500 less 550 rebate and the 5000 nj rebate, so my cost would have been 3000. Based on that, I think your #6 price is in the ballpark for South Jersey. The quoted price included $1880 for the water heater, which would bring your total similar to mine.

I did not choose the option like your option 6, instead I opted to choose the tankless option and get 2-stage a.c w/tankless, rather than the heat pump option w/tank heater. It felt like I was getting more due to low gas rates and very high eff furnace.I also got a step down on the heater (59TP5) which I didn't realize would mean I didn't get variable speed blower, only "multi" stage, but I ended up with a decent hvac system (2-stage heat and air) and a tankless water heater and the sealing etc for 2k cash and the 10k 0% loan so it's all good. The heat and a/c do their job and I didn't have to drain the bank to do it.

Here is my thread, it tells what I ended up with. http://ths.gardenweb.com/forums/load/hvac/msg0613455019230.html
You will see how I went nearly crazy and some people on this board got VERY annoyed with my indecision. Until you've lived it, it's hard to understand. At the end of the thread there is some info from another person going through it and his quotes and stuff. Also there is another person I corresponded with. He went pretty basic with a new tank water heater and the lower a/c than I got, but he ended up just under $10k, so no out of pocket. I think ANY new equip is better than we are all replacing so only you can decide how many bells and whistles you want/need and if you want to pay for them.

I like the tankless. It is more useful (in a practical supply way) to me than a heat pump would ever be. Wish I could have afforded both! I have a Roman tub and I can fill it and then if the water cools, add some more hot, and my kids can still shower right after I fill the tub. I requested an upgrade to the 210 from the 180 (Navien). If you have a large tub that you like to use (I love it when I get winter chilled), or a large family, I would suggest that as well. The large tub faucet puts out serious gpm's and my Navien seems to put out less with that faucet than my old tanked heater, but it's adequate to fill the tub in a timely manner.

Good luck. Don't go crazy but get it done before the rebate program gets changed for 2013 (it might.)


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

As I said in my original post, my house is 1800-2000 square feet. I have no basement, and I have no idea how large the attic is.

The insulation and air sealing for proposals 1-3 were broken down as the following:
General air sealing (attics, garage) - $1440
Garage attic - install 180 sq ft of 1" polylsocyanurate on exterior walls, tape seams and seal top - $1850
House attic - add 6" of blown celluose (1170 sq ft) to attic, polyvent eaves, seal and insulate hatch
Clean and insulate dryer vent in attic, and vent and insulate bathroom fan - $725

The air sealing and insulation for proposals 4-7 was described as "we have our air sealing subcontractors come in for 9 hours and add 6 R- to the attic and do whatever else they do."

I had a blower door test done (without sealing the existing furnace's intakes) which gave a result of 3000 cfm50, or leaky.

Thanks for linking your thread, I think I read it sometime earlier, but I'm re-reading it now as I have a better grasp of what I'm looking for.

Based on Mike's advice there, the tankless water heater would be a waste of money, as would Options 1 and 4 with the Carrier Greenspeed Intelligence Heat Pump and 97% furnace, and probably option 5 with the Heat Pump. Mike also suggested getting a 2-stage furnace and 2-stage AC, so Options 3 and 7 are out.

So I'm down to options 2 and 6. Progress!

Proposal 2
Modulating, variable speed , 60K BTU Carrier Furnace 59MN760V17-14 (same as Proposal 1)
2-ton, 2-stage Carrier condenser 24ANB724A003
Carrier evaporator coil CNPVP3117ATA
Infinity thermostat
Bradford White 50 gallon gas water heater .63 EF M1TW50S6FBN (same as 1)
$17719 after rebate ($14891 for the HVAC equipment, same $5678 for air sealing / insulation, $2150 water heater)

Proposal 6
2-stage, variable speed Carrier Furnace 59TN6080-14 (same as 5)
2-stage Carrier AC 24ANB736
Carrier evaporator coil CNPV3717 (same as 4,5)
Infinity thermostat
No water heater
$11552 after rebate without a water heater


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

On a related note, I have an 8-year-old electric water heater now. I think it makes sense to switch to a gas water heater at some point, since gas will be an option with this conversion, and they cost less to run.

Does it make sense to do it at the same time as the rest, to save on labor costs since they're already going to be in there running lines and such? Are there any downsides to the power vent heater, or reasons why I shouldn't get such a heater?


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

Regarding equipment specifically, am I correct in that the only real difference between the Carrier 24ANB7 Infinity line and the 24ACB7 Performance line condensers is that the Infinity is quieter?

And with furnaces, I see that 59TP5 Performance model is 2-stage with multi-speed motor, the 59TN6 Infinity is 2-stage with variable speed motor, and the 59MN7 Infinity Greenspeed model is modulating with variable speed motor. I assume variable speed motor makes it quieter with better heat distribution across the 2 floors, while modular makes it even more quieter with even better distribution? Is there a compelling reason to go with the modulating over the 2-stage?

Would there be any issues in using an Infinity line furnace with a Performance line AC condenser?


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

By the proposal, it looks like the attic is 1170 sqft.

The air sealing is absolutely ridiculously priced. They are charging $200 an hour for labor I am guessing.

I'd personally do the least cost air sealing since it is such a ripoff, that it will never payback. Do what you have to to participate in your state's ridiculous program.

Switching to gas alone will probably save you 75% on heating costs and 50% on hot water. So while air sealing will still help, it will be chasing $100 a year with $5000 in labor. There probably is $600 in supplies.


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

Timobkg,

Did you lose power during hurrican Sandy? People with convential gas hot water heaters were able to take hot showers during the power outage. You should factor this into your decision if this is important to you.

Getting a heat pump with a 95% AFUE furnace and electricity rates at 16 cents per KWH makes no sense at the current gas rates.

I like proposal 2, but I would not get a hot water heater with a power vent.

My advice is to get a quote with another contractor without using the NJ Energy Star program. You may be surprised in the prices differences. Upgrading the insulation is a great idea. Call an insulation company directly. You will save a lot of money by switching to a gas hot water heater. You don't have to do it now, but have the gas line connection set up for the future.


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

Thanks for your advice.

Mike,
I only lost power for a few minutes, but I also asked for a revised quote without the power vent.

I am trying to get a quote from a contractor outside the program, but have had scheduling difficulties so far. I'll try to contact an insulation company separately too.

Any advice on the Carrier 24ANB7 Infinity line condenser vs the 24ACB7 Performance line?

Same for Carrier 59TP5 Performance vs the 59TN6 Infinity vs the 59MN7 Infinity Greenspeed furnace? What do the digits after the model numbers mean, or are they not significant?


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

The 24ANB7 is quieter than the 24ACB7. The performance and build quality of each is going to be about the same. Check it makes a difference for the Carrier rebate. In the past it did.

The 59MN7 is variable speed and has a modulating gas valve.
The 59TN6 is a variable speed and has a 2-stage gas valve.
The 59TP5 is a multi-speed and has a 2-stage gas valve.

I personally would get a variable speed furnace. The 59MN7 is the best. My second choice would be the 59TN6. This would depend on the price premium for the 59MN7.

For the furnaces:
The "60" means 60,000 BTU input, "80" means 80,000BTU.

The "-14" means 1400 CFM blower.

For the AC:
"24" means 24,000 BTU or 2 tons.
"36" means 36,000 BTU or 3 tons.

The BTU ratings are nominal values. You have to look at the product data sheet to get the excact values.

I just noticed your proposals have differing sizes. The quotes from two contractors?


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

Ah, thanks for explaining that.

Yes, the quotes are from two different contractors. I guess one is quoting the 60K BTU furnace and 2-ton AC, while the other is quoting 80K BTU furnace and 3-ton AC? That seems like quite a discrepancy, doesn't it?


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

If it helps, I think our current AC is a York H1CF048A06A - I think that's the model #, but the label is disintegrating and barely legible now.

Should I ask them how they came to their sizing conclusions? If so, what should I ask?

I know that the contractor for the 60,000 BTU / 2-ton AC measured the house with a tape measure and made a sketch, while the contractor for the 80,000 BTU / 3-ton AC did not (at least not that I saw).


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

The contractors should perform a heating and cooling load calculation. It is known in the industry as a Manual J calculation. The correct way to do it is to measure every room and window and determine the insulation values of the walls and attic. If you upgrade your insulation then it needs to be factored into the calculation. The calculation is done by using a software program specifically for this purpose. You should ask to see the the results of the calculation.

Your current AC is 48,000 BTU or 4 tons. It looks like both contractors believe your current AC is oversized. It would seem to me a 2 ton AC for your size house might be a bit undersized. This is why accurate calculations are important.

Two stage equipment only comes in whole tons. Therefore the choice would be 2 or 3 tons. In order to get 2.5 tons you would have to get a single stage unit. The benefit of having a 2-stage AC for the 2 ton size is small since there is not a big variation between the low and high stages.

Approximately how many gallons for fuel oil do you use each year and what is the current price per gallon?

What is the cost of bringing the gas line into your house?


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

And stick with a 60K (90%+) furnace. You definitely don't need an 80. My 2500 SF home in Camden Cnty needs just under 60K. You'll be a lot more comfortable.

V


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

If you keep your current electric water heater you won't have hot water once it cools off anyway.

You can get a regular gas water heater, but not as part of qualifying for the program (not eligible for financing)because they require power vent/tankless, I believe due to air quality reasons. Click eligible measures in the first paragraph. http://www.njcleanenergy.com/multifamily

I think I needed the hot water heater changed to reach my percentage and the tankless nudged me into the higher rebate. The contractors tried to tell me it was due to venting concerns once the house is sealed that it needs to be power vent etc. I did some research and there is some validity to that, though I doubt my basement is tight enough to really make a difference.

I'd skip all that fancy insulation in the garage unless you have a room over it.

If I did it again I might go for the TN6 instead of the TP5, but I'm not sure I'd ever really notice the difference, partly because I tend to turn my stat up and down often. With rebates it might be a good bet.

The tankless pushed me towards buying a generator, and after last week I'm glad it did! I didn't end up needing it but my parents did (they were out for a while, though they didn't need it for water.) My parents bought mine (never used) from me and now I'll buy mine when I can get one. Not a bad thing to have. The motor for the fan is only 200W, so a simple little one would work for just the tankless. It plugs into an outlet so is easy to hook to back up power. For $150 you can get a 1000W one that car run some lights and a TV and your water when needed. Not a bad thing to own.


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Portable Generator

I did not lose power during Sandy, but it caused me to dust off my research into portable generators in part due to the problems many folks are having trying to buy gasoline to keep their generators running.

I do not have natural gas available, so I've decided I will buy a portable generator that uses propane as fuel. Propane will not likely be as difficult to buy as gasoline during a prolonged power outage.

In that you have natural gas, a simple valve and fitting can be added to your piping and you'll have a safe, inexpensive fuel source for your generator. Unless you lose gas, you'll be good for the duration of the outage.

These propane, or propane/NG, or Tri Fuel (propane or NG or gasoline) are all readily available.


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

I believe the utility company will cover the cost of bringing the gas line to the house, we just have to pay the contractor for running it through the house to the room with the furnace.

It's hard to say exactly how much oil we use since the company only bills us when they deliver oil, and they deliver oil randomly. Last year we were sold 400 gallons of oil. So far this year we've been sold 330 gallons, and still have about 70% of the oil tank full (because the oil company decided to fill us up right as it got warm). I don't have the bills atm, but I believe it averaged out to about $3 a gallon.

I'll have to ask about the Manual J figures. The contractor that proposed the 2-ton AC certainly measured the house and inspected the insulation. The contractor that proposed the 3-ton AC didn't, at least not that I could so, so might be guesstimating it? I assume the downside to going to small is not enough cooling, while going too big is worse efficiency and increased utility costs?


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

It the AC is too big it will short cycle. This will not allow the AC to run long enough to remove the moisture in the air. You could have humidity problems. Running in short burts is less efficient than long runs, but not by much.


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

Timobkg said, "I believe the utility company will cover the cost of bringing the gas line to the house, we just have to pay the contractor for running it through the house to the room with the furnace."

Oh wow! In my area the Gas Company will do no such thing! The cost would be mine as well as the cost to remove the old oil tank and to neutralize some fill and vent piping.

You may want to verify who pays what.


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

The local gas company said they would cover the cost, just have a small $35 or so activation fee.

If I'm able to get the results of the Manual J calculations, what should I be looking for?


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

It looks like you are spending about a $1000 per year to heat your house. Switching to a $95%+ efficiency gas furnace should bring the annual cost to about $500.

The Manual J should show the total heating and cooling BTU requirements for your house. Ask the review the assumptions for insulation and air changes. See if the room demensions and orientation of the house are correct.


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

Also ask for the Manual J temperatures used to see if they agree with your reality. That is, do they assume an outside temp of 90* and inside of 78* for cooling and an outside temp of 35* and inside of 65* for heating. If you like your house cooler in summer and warmer in winter, tell them and have them recompute the numbers.


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

Mike_Home - NG should be (depends a little on local rates) should be 70% less than oil so his annual bill should be $300 with NG.

Assumming there is some improvement from the "upgrades", the heating cost could be more like $250.

Makes that $5000 air sealing cost seem even more ridiculous than I thought. It really maybe 100+ year payback


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

David,

I believe you are correct. I was being conservative on the estimates. I assumed the oil furnace is operating at 80% efficiency and the price of gas is $1 per 100K BTU. The point is the pay back period is attractive.


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

I received one more estimate, from a non-NJ Energy Star program vendor. As expected, it's a fair bit less, but I don't know how these Ruud models compare to the Carrier equipment quoted above:

Ruud 75k BTU 95% Gas / Upflow furnace (I think this one but I'm not sure)
Ruud 2.5 ton 14.5 Seer AC
Ruud 3 ton evaporator (I think this one)
There's no air sealing included.
$6900 total.

It's a fair bit cheaper, but is it a good option? How does this compare to Proposal 6 above?


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

I am not the Ruud expert, but it appears to be a basic single stage system.

Here is your Proposal 6:
2-stage, variable speed Carrier Furnace 59TN6080-14 (same as 5)
2-stage Carrier AC 24ANB736
Carrier evaporator coil CNPV3717
Infinity thermostat

Comparing Carrier Proposal 6 vs. the Rudd system

2-stage 60KBTU vs. single stage 75KBTU (75K may be oversized)
2-stage 3 ton condenser vs. single stage 2.5 condenser
17 SEER (need to check) vs. 14.5 SEER
Infinity thermostat vs. unknown thermostat

The Carrier system is superior. You can get an equivalent Rudd system but it will cost more. I would spend the extra money on a variable speed furnace and a 2-stage condenser.


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

Thanks for the info. Would you happen to know which Rudd system would be comparable to the Carrier 59MN7 or 59TN6 and the Carrier 24ACB7?


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

It looks like the Rudd RGFG series is a 95% AFUE 2-stage furnace. This would be comparable to the Carrier models. For 2-stage AC the choices are UARL-JEZ, UARL-JEC, and UASL-JEC Series. I am not sure what differentiates these models.

A good HVAC contractor should offer you good, better, best quotes and explain to you the differences in the model.


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RE: New HVAC, going from Oil to Gas, completely lost and need hel

I'm in basically the same position (except I have copper fin baseboard so need a gas boiler instead of a furnace).

Please tell me what you decided to do and how you liked its function this past winter. How did you look for and choose your contractor? Were your heating bills drastically reduced?

Any update you can give would be greatly appreciated.


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