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Old 06-15-2012, 12:57 PM   #1
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New Furnace & AC Which to choose


Ok, so my all of my Freon recently leaked out of my condenser and, given that the furnace and ac are both several decades old, I've decided that it's time to pony up and get replacements. I'm a new homeowner, so all of this is very confusing for me.

I've gotten a number of bids from different HVAC companies:

Bid #1
Carrier 24ABB3 (Comfort Series) 13 SEER A/C
Carrier 58STA (Comfort 80 Series) 80% Single-stage Furnace
or upgrade to
Carrier 24ANB6 (Infinity Series) 16 SEER A/C
Carrier 58CVA (Infinity 80 Series) 80% Variable Two-stage Furnace
both with a CNPVP3617ATA Cased Vertical Tin-Plated N-Coil

Bid #2
Carrier 24ABB3 (Comfort Series) 13 SEER A/C
Carrier 58CVA (Infinity 80 Series) 80% Variable Two-stage Furnace
with a CNPVPB617 coil

Bid #3
Lennox 13ACX (Merit Series) 13 SEER A/C
Lennox ML180 (Merit Series) 80% Single-stage Furnace
or upgrade to
Lennox 14ACX (Merit Series) 14 SEER A/C
Lennox SL280V (Signature Series) 80% Variable Two-stage Furnace
with a CX34 coil

I live in Missouri, so we have a temperate climate but do get a few very cold days in winter and very warm days in summer. I'm also a spendthrift and use the A/C and heat as little as possible. I'd generally rather open a window or put on a blanket than spend the extra money on utilities. I also plan on being in my home for the next 7-10 years. Funds are tight, so cost (short and long-term) are definitely a concern.

So, which system do you think would be best (I've omitted prices in accordance with the forum rules)? What are the differences in quality/lifespan? Is choosing the 80% efficiency, which every installer recommended, a bad idea? Is the upgrade to a two-stage variable furnace worth it? What about the upgraded a/c systems and are the coils properly matched? Any other models that I should consider that would better fit my needs. Sorry for the long list of questions, but this stuff is just so confusing to me. I'm completely overwhelmed with information.

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Old 06-15-2012, 02:27 PM   #2
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New Furnace & AC Which to choose


I am on my phone, typing with my thumbs... So excuse my brevity. I would go with the first system you mentioned, based on your comments about being thrifty. But before saying that is my "final answer", can you tell me where (what part of the house) your furnace is, and where the majority of your ductwork is (attic, crawl, interior bulkhead...)
Thanks

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Old 06-15-2012, 02:45 PM   #3
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New Furnace & AC Which to choose


Thanks for the reply! Which do you mean by first system? The base-level Carrier?

The system is located in the basement of our 1 1/2 story home. The majority of the ductwork is in the basement with the ducts going up the interior of the first floor walls, but we also have two registers in the second story. It does get a bit hot/cold up there, but I'm told that's just what's going to happen with a converted attic.
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Old 06-15-2012, 02:54 PM   #4
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New Furnace & AC Which to choose


I personnaly like the Carrier package #2. The 2 stage infinity furnace is very adaptable as far as fan speed, control application etc. works, but I wouldn't spend a pile of money on the infinity AC. The basic AC will work just fine.
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Old 06-15-2012, 03:04 PM   #5
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New Furnace & AC Which to choose


You will probably get as many different answers as you get resposes. But here is my thinking:
The higher efficiencies probably aren't worth the money to you the way you use your system (sparingly).
There are, however, some other advantages to the upgraded systems, as Dave points out, like the variable speed fan, which can circulate air quietly between cycles, possibly helping out that top floor.
That's why I asked about where the furnace was; the 58STA doesn't have any noise-reducing features.
Also, if your ductwork was in the attic, then I definitely wouldn't recommend two speed equipment, as you would lose too much heat or cool during low speed operation.
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Old 06-15-2012, 06:14 PM   #6
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New Furnace & AC Which to choose


i prefer Lennox 2 stage variable and either an XC-13 or a 13-ACX.... probabbly because we sell Lennox.... 4 years now and zero furnace trouble... one bad hi pressure switch in condensing unit and 2 coil leaks... pretty good record so far..and we sell lots of them... bottom line is all furnaces are good ...get a good install and you will be happy
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Old 06-16-2012, 01:35 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carmon View Post
i prefer Lennox 2 stage variable and either an XC-13 or a 13-ACX.... probabbly because we sell Lennox.... 4 years now and zero furnace trouble... one bad hi pressure switch in condensing unit and 2 coil leaks... pretty good record so far..and we sell lots of them... bottom line is all furnaces are good ...get a good install and you will be happy

Yea me too, I prefer Lennox. We sell and installed lennox and had little problems. To the OP, you will get mix reviews when asking about brand. Both brands are good, just make sure you get a quality install. As far as model, GET THE VARIABLE SPEED. You will not regret it.

Last edited by Mr.HVAC; 06-16-2012 at 01:39 PM.
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Old 06-17-2012, 03:45 PM   #8
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Thanks for the replies! So my first inclination is to either go with the base Lennox system, as the Carrier cost significantly more. Is this a good idea? Is Carrier THAT much better/more reliable? If I don't use my a/c or furnace, is there any reason to upgrade to the more efficient a/c and the variable furnace? From what I hear, a 90%+ furnace isn't going to be a good ROI.
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Old 06-17-2012, 07:20 PM   #9
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New Furnace & AC Which to choose


In my area there is NO Lennox warehouse so everything to repair a Lennox has to be shipped in. We have warehouses for basically all other manufacturers though. That is really the only reason I can think to maybe go with one over the other. Ask your contractor if they stock parts for the unit and where the nearest warehouse is for said brand.
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Old 06-20-2012, 01:46 PM   #10
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Ok, so I've finally narrowed it down to one contractor. He's got good reviews on Yelp, Angie's List, and Google and was the only one who both showed up on time and performed a load calc.

So we've got a couple choices here:

I can go with the base system, which includes:
ML180 80% Single-Stage Merit Series furnace
13ACX 13 SEER Merit Series Air Conditioner
CX34 Evaporator Coil

I also have the option of upgrading to:
14ACX 14 SEER Merit Series Air Conditioner
SL280V 80% Two-Stage Variable Speed Signature Series furnace

or go the whole hog with the SL280V and a XC14 16 SEER Elite Series air conditioner.

Now, I know that prices aren't up for discussion here, but The 14acx has a very small upgrade cost while the other two (xc14 a/c and SL280V furnace) represent a pretty substantial additional costs. Is it worth it? Are the upgrade significantly more reliable and efficient than the base Merit series systems? Also, 5 year parts/labor warranty? Worth it? Thanks so much!
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Old 06-20-2012, 05:10 PM   #11
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New Furnace & AC Which to choose


Yes it's worth the upgrade. The signature series have a 10 year warranty on all parts while the merit only has a 5 year. An evap isn't likely to leak in 5 years but 10 years I have my doubts, that's $1000 to replace it. The V drive motor is also high dollars for a replacement.
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Old 06-20-2012, 05:55 PM   #12
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New Furnace & AC Which to choose


No installers that install Rheem/Ruud? They also have 10 year standard warranties even on their base models.

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