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Thread: HVAC Systems

  1. Top | #1

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    HVAC Systems

    We will be replacing our two heat pumps in the near future, once a 15 year old Trane XL13i and one 20 year old Janitrol (Goodman), both are 2.5 ton. The Trane has never worked correctly on the cooling side. The Janitrol has been rock solid until last winter when it stopped heating.

    We have had many contractors (12+) representing many brands come out to give us bids. Very few were interested in doing load calcs and several just wanted to replace what we have without verifying duct work. We know we have duct work issues simply due to air flow, some registers blow hard others you can barely feel anything. We have narrowed it down to 3 contractors. All 3 did a load calc and all 3 will properly size the ducts.

    Contractor 1 is proposing Amana (Goodman) middle of the road equipment, has been in business here since 1972 and has a good reputation. Our Janitrol (Goodman) unit has given great service and this contractor does good work. He is also $2k cheaper

    The other two contractors are proposing Carrier. One is proposing two middle of the road units while the other is proposing a single higher end unit with zoning. Money is pretty close to equal. The two unit approach has the advantage of if one system goes out at least an area in the house will continue to be conditioned. In everything I've read the zoning advantage will be better efficiency, better humidity control and better temp control due to the variable speed compressor.

    The contractor that is proposing zoning on a single unit is the only one to do so, everyone else has recommended staying with two units because zoning is allot more work to get right.

    I have spoken to references of all three contractors, read all reviews and am pretty confident in their abilities. The contractor proposing zoning did a home fairly similar to ours with zones and the homeowner was ecstatic with the results, everyone else face good reviews. The Carrier equipment is probably better, maybe but $2k is 17% of the job.

    I am leaning towards zoning but am nervous as this will be an extreme change to what is normal but zoning has come a long way.

    Anybody have any experience or input?
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  3. Top | #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by psrumors View Post
    We will be replacing our two heat pumps in the near future, once a 15 year old Trane XL13i and one 20 year old Janitrol (Goodman), both are 2.5 ton. The Trane has never worked correctly on the cooling side. The Janitrol has been rock solid until last winter when it stopped heating.

    We have had many contractors (12+) representing many brands come out to give us bids. Very few were interested in doing load calcs and several just wanted to replace what we have without verifying duct work. We know we have duct work issues simply due to air flow, some registers blow hard others you can barely feel anything. We have narrowed it down to 3 contractors. All 3 did a load calc and all 3 will properly size the ducts.

    Contractor 1 is proposing Amana (Goodman) middle of the road equipment, has been in business here since 1972 and has a good reputation. Our Janitrol (Goodman) unit has given great service and this contractor does good work. He is also $2k cheaper

    The other two contractors are proposing Carrier. One is proposing two middle of the road units while the other is proposing a single higher end unit with zoning. Money is pretty close to equal. The two unit approach has the advantage of if one system goes out at least an area in the house will continue to be conditioned. In everything I've read the zoning advantage will be better efficiency, better humidity control and better temp control due to the variable speed compressor.

    The contractor that is proposing zoning on a single unit is the only one to do so, everyone else has recommended staying with two units because zoning is allot more work to get right.

    I have spoken to references of all three contractors, read all reviews and am pretty confident in their abilities. The contractor proposing zoning did a home fairly similar to ours with zones and the homeowner was ecstatic with the results, everyone else face good reviews. The Carrier equipment is probably better, maybe but $2k is 17% of the job.

    I am leaning towards zoning but am nervous as this will be an extreme change to what is normal but zoning has come a long way.

    Anybody have any experience or input?
    I would definitely recommend getting inverter technology fully modulating systems. The small extra cost will pay off in the long run. The system will save you money by not having to run all out every time it turns on.
    I would recommend Goldman over Train or Carrier systems. The newer offerings ain't what they use to be. Fujitsu makes a really nice unit. I would stick with 2 separate systems. Unless they are going to run all new ducts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by H-D dealer dude View Post
    I would definitely recommend getting inverter technology fully modulating systems. The small extra cost will pay off in the long run. The system will save you money by not having to run all out every time it turns on.
    I would recommend Goldman over Train or Carrier systems. The newer offerings ain't what they use to be. Fujitsu makes a really nice unit. I would stick with 2 separate systems. Unless they are going to run all new ducts.
    The zoned unit would get everything new due to the nature of the install. The others would make right what is wrong with our current ducting.

    To go with inverter technology on the Goodman units would bring the price up $3k and $4k on the two Carrier system. The zoned proposal is an inverter driven unit

    Why would you choose Goodman over Carrier? Not that I disagree just curious
    1025r TLB w 60D MMM & Independent Lift
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    180 degree thermostat
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    We looked at ground water heat pumps for the home I built 20 years ago. While they boasted high efficiency, they were also at least four times the cost. I did some checking with folks that had installed them, and virtually everyone had to replace them in less than 5 years. The big issue was the iron bacteria in the water would plug them up. A closed loop system would have resolved this at even more cost and the loss of a number of trees.

    So we went with two forced air natural gas high efficiency furnaces, with A/C evaporators, and a hot water boiler for in-floor heat beneath the concrete slab. Due to the size of the home, 5 bedrooms & 7000 sq ft; we zoned all three. This is where I ran into trouble with HVAC contractors. Most were afraid of zoning. I suspect most of that fear came from the control side. So I finally assumed responsibly for the controls and over saw the duct sizing for the different zone trunk lines. I utilized opposed blade electrically operated dampers in each zone's trunk line.

    It has worked out very well and has been trouble free for what has been near 20 years now. You could look at a single heat pump and zone the duct work, depending on the specifics of your home.

    Our other home is a foreclosure we had purchased in southern MN. From what I've been able to deduce, it originally was constructed with a forced air high efficiency LP gas furnace. At some point shortly after construction, and air to air heat pump was added to the force air furnace. I think this was more about obtaining A/C than the heating aspect. It is powered from the "Dual Fuel" electric meter, which yields a rate about half of the general service rate, but it can be shut off during peak demand periods and requires a backup heat source, which the LP gas furnace readily supplies. Air to Air heat pumps loose their heating capability the cooler the outdoor temperatures become and I believe they don't do much at all with temps below 15F. With the prices of LP unpredictable and subject to substantial rate spikes, at some point a few years later an electric plenum heater was added to the LP furnace to supplement the heat pump. It is also powered from the dual fuel meter.

    So when there is a call for heat, the electric plenum heater controller receives the input from the thermostat. It also has an outdoor temperature sensor. If the outdoor temp is above the cold temp limit and the dual fuel is energized the heat pump operates alone, as it becomes colder and the heat pump plenum temp drops, sections of the electric plenum heating elements engergize. If the dual fuel electricity is de-energized, it falls back on the LP furnace.

    It cools the home well in the summer and we have never experienced any peak controlling where the indoor temp has become uncomfortable.

    I did have to straighten out a bunch of the low voltage control wiring and I replaced the thermostat with the Honeywell Vision Pro IAQ series to consolidate the air exchange control into the thermostat, support the central humidifier I added, and provide outdoor temp sensing for winter humidity adjustment (to avoid condensation on window sills) and outdoor temp display on the stat.

    The second home is substantially smaller and no need for zoning. The combination of the three, heat pump, plenum heater, and LP gas have yielded very affordable heating bills.
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    I can't offer any advice, but I will be watching this thread closely as we will probably be doing the same soon.
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    Quote Originally Posted by psrumors View Post
    The zoned unit would get everything new due to the nature of the install. The others would make right what is wrong with our current ducting.

    To go with inverter technology on the Goodman units would bring the price up $3k and $4k on the two Carrier system. The zoned proposal is an inverter driven unit

    Why would you choose Goodman over Carrier? Not that I disagree just curious

    The number and type of failures.

    A lot has to do with the quality of the installation. Good equipment installed wrong will still give you problems.
    coaltrain likes this.
    2014 X540 with HDAP tires, 54" deck, brush guard, arm rests and cargo bag.
    JD 48" plow with angle from seat kit & heavy duty skid shoes.
    4 suitcase weights and chains.
    JD tow behind spreader.
    JD 42" lawn sweeper.
    JD 10P cart.
    JD JS61 RWD walk behind mower.
    Stihl KM110 power head with pole saw, shaft extension, power scythe, curved shaft edger, 2 straight shaft cutters (string & blade).
    Stihl MS180-CBE 16" saw.
    Stihl SH86C hand held blower vac.

  9. Top | #7

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    To give an update;

    Our new HVAC system is installed and we are thrilled with the end result. We went with a single Carrier Infinity 4 ton system with three zones. The system has 5 stages so it can run as low as 25% of it's capacity up to full capacity. We got all new duct work properly sized and placed.

    We have seen about a 30% reduction in energy usage and are much more comfortable than we were previously. The only way could have been happier is if the system had been free.
    1025r TLB w 60D MMM & Independent Lift
    SN 114287 Built April '13 received 8/21/13
    180 degree thermostat
    Omni Transformer w/ integrated weight bracket
    Single Point
    Ken's Bolt on hooks
    Artillian Forks (42")
    Full Compliment of Wheel Weights (340lbs)
    Custom Seat Springs

    Kubota 326H 72" deck ZTR

    Stihl MS361, FS250R

  10. The Following User Says Thank You to psrumors For This Useful Post:

    Kennyd (08-17-2017)

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