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Old 12-28-2009, 01:34 AM   #1
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Want to replace heat pump.


Ok looking to replace my old inefficent heat pump system in my condo, im trying to do some research about what i will need but i am confused so im hoping you guys can help me out some here. What i have right now is carrier heat pump system. What im looking at doing is ditching the heat pump system and just going with a standard furnace and air conditioning system. Ive been able to determine that what i want is a 3ton unit with 95% efficency. I guess what i need is an idea of what all i will need as well as some questions answered so this thread will most likely be an ongoing one.

I guess my first question is what all will I need to purchase for the system? Furnace obviously, a/c condenser unit, coil. I'm sure there are other items as well. I will be trying to DIY this myself as I have found some pretty good resources out on the net for doing this as I am a pretty handy individual and have all tools needed.

The other question I have I guess is how my system I have right now works. I will be able to post a picture up tomorrow of what it is but let me shoot out a quick description and maybe you guys can help me out with what I am confused with. Just strictly speaking of the furnace unit itself right now. It appears as If I have 2 plenum's on my unit, One goes under the house I will have to crawl under the house tomorrow to look at it, but im assuming it feeds the floor vents on the bottom level of the condo, and the other comes out the top of the unit and I will assume that feeds the upstairs of the unit? as well the return air comes into the rear of the furnace, now this wouldnt be a huge ordeal to route to the side of the furnace when the old heat pump stuff is out of the way but are there furnaces i can buy to keep that original setup. I guess what i am by far confused the most over is the bottom plenum. this plenum also houses the evaporator unit for the A/C, so would that mean i would need to get 2 coils. Or am i just uttely confused as to what this bottom plenum is? Thanks for all the help guys and Happy New Year!

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Old 12-28-2009, 01:51 AM   #2
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Want to replace heat pump.


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Originally Posted by brewmastr View Post
Ok looking to replace my old inefficent heat pump system in my condo, im trying to do some research about what i will need but i am confused so im hoping you guys can help me out some here. What i have right now is carrier heat pump system. What im looking at doing is ditching the heat pump system and just going with a standard furnace and air conditioning system. Ive been able to determine that what i want is a 3ton unit with 95% efficency. I guess what i need is an idea of what all i will need as well as some questions answered so this thread will most likely be an ongoing one.

I guess my first question is what all will I need to purchase for the system? Furnace obviously, a/c condenser unit, coil. I'm sure there are other items as well. I will be trying to DIY this myself as I have found some pretty good resources out on the net for doing this as I am a pretty handy individual and have all tools needed.

The other question I have I guess is how my system I have right now works. I will be able to post a picture up tomorrow of what it is but let me shoot out a quick description and maybe you guys can help me out with what I am confused with. Just strictly speaking of the furnace unit itself right now. It appears as If I have 2 plenum's on my unit, One goes under the house I will have to crawl under the house tomorrow to look at it, but im assuming it feeds the floor vents on the bottom level of the condo, and the other comes out the top of the unit and I will assume that feeds the upstairs of the unit? as well the return air comes into the rear of the furnace, now this wouldnt be a huge ordeal to route to the side of the furnace when the old heat pump stuff is out of the way but are there furnaces i can buy to keep that original setup. I guess what i am by far confused the most over is the bottom plenum. this plenum also houses the evaporator unit for the A/C, so would that mean i would need to get 2 coils. Or am i just uttely confused as to what this bottom plenum is? Thanks for all the help guys and Happy New Year!
Are you sure you don't have a return coming into the top of the furnace and in from the side? Chances are that you have your upstairs plenum hidden in the house and there are two returns coming into the air handler. Where are the furnace filters?

Seems odd that you'd have a supply out the top and the bottom if the coil is on the bottom. I bet you more or less have a downflow setup with something more funky on the return.

You can punch a small hole in the plenum's and put out a match and see if the smoke goes in or out of the hole..


Also, why do you want to ditch the heat pump? I'm doing a High-Eff furnace and a 14SEER heat pump in my setup. All the calculators say I'll save money with the heat pump most of the year. It was only a few hundred dollars more to get the AC unit that has the reversing valve (thus turning it into a heat pump) and the coil is the same for AC or heat pump. Now I will be able to choose electric or gas based on energy prices..

-Jeff


Last edited by zootjeff; 12-28-2009 at 01:57 AM.
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Old 12-28-2009, 02:06 AM   #3
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Want to replace heat pump.


well if the heat pump technology is drastically better than what i have now, (the system is original from 1984) i may choose to still go that route, however using the system as a heat pump now does not properly heat the unit, so its always running on emergency backup heat. That was the idea behind ditching the heat pump as it is never used for heat, just a/c.
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Old 12-28-2009, 05:14 PM   #4
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Want to replace heat pump.


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well if the heat pump technology is drastically better than what i have now, (the system is original from 1984) i may choose to still go that route, however using the system as a heat pump now does not properly heat the unit, so its always running on emergency backup heat. That was the idea behind ditching the heat pump as it is never used for heat, just a/c.
What part of the country do you live in?

Basically my heat pump heats my house from Feb to May and from September to Nov. I'll be running on Backup heat from Dec to Jan. According to the numbers, I save money during those months using the electric heat pump over the gas.

I have a 2.5 ton 14SEER and 1900 sq feet in Portland OR.

How are those pictures coming?
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Old 12-29-2009, 12:17 AM   #5
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Want to replace heat pump.


well wow sounds very similar, i am in portland oregon as well in a 1300 sq foot condo, i was directed to look at a 3ton 60,000 btu system, it currently has a 60,000 btu furnace, i would say though being original from 1984 its efficency is probably 60% or so. Im not sure who you are using for your setup, but i was looking at purchasing my stuff through ebay but would be curious to find out. through your description and crawling under the house i have determined what my setup is, it is downflow, the return comes in through the top, and the ducting that is running in back of the furnace (i could not see very well as it is in a closet) runs all the under the house and is the ducting that runs upstairs for the upstairs vents, so simple enough the return comes in to the top and the plenum is on the bottom being a downflow system. seems like a simple install to perform. Let me know the plans on your system as i would be curious to compare. I think i will still ditch the heat pump setup, but am undecided.
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Old 12-29-2009, 01:23 AM   #6
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Want to replace heat pump.


Brewmastr:
1) If you buy a heat pump from an online distributor, the unit will have NO manufacturer's warranty whatsoever. Beware!

2) The quality of the installation for HVAC equipment is more important than the equipment itself. Air balancing, ductwork, system charging, etc. can be tricky. You sure you want to do a DIY job?

3) "i am in portland oregon as well in a 1300 sq foot condo, i was directed to look at a 3ton 60,000 btu system," FYI: Heat pumps are measured in tons, with each ton referring to a nominal BTU output of 12,000 BTU. So, a 3-ton would be rated at 36,000 BTU. There's no such thing as a 3-ton 60,000 BTU HP. Also, you should do a heatload calc (aka Manual J) to determine what size unit you actually need. FWIW: 60K BTU seems oversized for 1300sf. But don't guess using square feet or prior unit size. Do a proper heatload calc first.
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Old 12-29-2009, 01:27 AM   #7
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Want to replace heat pump.


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Originally Posted by brewmastr View Post
well wow sounds very similar, i am in portland oregon as well in a 1300 sq foot condo, i was directed to look at a 3ton 60,000 btu system, it currently has a 60,000 btu furnace, i would say though being original from 1984 its efficency is probably 60% or so. Im not sure who you are using for your setup, but i was looking at purchasing my stuff through ebay but would be curious to find out. through your description and crawling under the house i have determined what my setup is, it is downflow, the return comes in through the top, and the ducting that is running in back of the furnace (i could not see very well as it is in a closet) runs all the under the house and is the ducting that runs upstairs for the upstairs vents, so simple enough the return comes in to the top and the plenum is on the bottom being a downflow system. seems like a simple install to perform. Let me know the plans on your system as i would be curious to compare. I think i will still ditch the heat pump setup, but am undecided.

I ordered my heat pump, coil, pad and txv valve online from http://www.acwholesalers.com/


I got a Goodman 14SEER heat pump and a 3636 coil. My existing furnace was a Trane 80,000 BTU furnace 92% efficient that was put in in 2002. I was really annoyed at the quality of the install back then which helped nudge me into to DIY. I am still using this furnace in my new setup.

Here is what my stack currently looks like, I need to connect the re-fridge lines and run one more thing of ductwork from the base can to the celing:


I ordered my line set and thermostat from www.pexsupply.com

Then for supplies and ductwork I used locally here in Portland OR:
John Stone Supply (Near Burnside and Sandy)
Johnson Air Products (near OMSI)
Vinje and Sons do it yourself heating (http://www.doityourselfheating.net) over on SE 78th & Stark.


I'm actually not done yet as I have not had the system brazed and the condenser unit is not setup outside yet.. I spent the last 6 months re-doing ductwork. Would have gone really fast but I have a new son and have no time for projects..



Do you know what the SEER of your old unit is? do you have the model number?

Are you looking at something like a Goodman 93% downflow 70,000 BTU GCV90704CX? They have that that unit for $1250..

Or you could get GCH90703BX (Not variable speed) for $869..

Last edited by zootjeff; 12-29-2009 at 01:36 AM.
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Old 12-29-2009, 01:34 AM   #8
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Want to replace heat pump.


Good to see that you are researching this instead of just going ahead and trying to install the system without asking any questions- really shows that you care about getting the job done right! I've been installing HVAC systems for a while now (mainly Heat Pumps).

"What im looking at doing is ditching the heat pump system and just going with a standard furnace and air conditioning system. Ive been able to determine that what i want is a 3ton unit with 95% efficency." - A heat pump system is far more efficient, provided that it is sized properly. This includes the evaporator, the condenser, the blower(or furnace) and the ducting (supply and return). Your old system may not be functioning properly because it is old technology, or it has not been maintained properly. My experience is that the majority of homeowners do not do necessary routine maintenance on their systems, and are surprised when they cease to function as intended.

I am a pretty handy individual and have all tools needed- Really doubtful. I'm sure you have corless drills, hammer, screw driver, calking gun, wrenches, etc, but do you have these necessary tools or supplies: refrigeration gauges, acetylene torch, brazing rods, vacuum pump, nitrogen, r410A, tube benders, etc, etc, etc.?

As for your ducting setup, it sounds like you have two return duct lines. Furnaces don't come pre- fab for any particular setup- they are all field modified.

Finally, you will have to pull permits to do this work, and although homeowners in most areas can do this, you really have to know what you are doing to be approved. My advice is to find a knowledgeable hvac contractor who would be willing to let you help in order to keep costs down. If you have any more questions, I am more than willing to help. Good luck!












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Old 12-29-2009, 01:46 AM   #9
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Want to replace heat pump.


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Originally Posted by HPGui View Post
Brewmastr:
1) If you buy a heat pump from an online distributor, the unit will have NO manufacturer's warranty whatsoever. Beware!

2) The quality of the installation for HVAC equipment is more important than the equipment itself. Air balancing, ductwork, system charging, etc. can be tricky. You sure you want to do a DIY job?

3) "i am in portland oregon as well in a 1300 sq foot condo, i was directed to look at a 3ton 60,000 btu system," FYI: Heat pumps are measured in tons, with each ton referring to a nominal BTU output of 12,000 BTU. So, a 3-ton would be rated at 36,000 BTU. There's no such thing as a 3-ton 60,000 BTU HP. Also, you should do a heatload calc (aka Manual J) to determine what size unit you actually need. FWIW: 60K BTU seems oversized for 1300sf. But don't guess using square feet or prior unit size. Do a proper heatload calc first.
Well im not talking about keeping the heat pump, im talking about just going straight gas furnace and a/c.i have found many 3 ton 60,000 btu setups out there from york,carrier,rheem etc... I do realize there are some hurdles to overcome doing DIY but I am a very handy person as well am EPA 609 certified, i realize thats automotive air conditioning, but a/c is a/c, give me a pressure to temperture relationship chart for the refrigrent im using, and a set of gauges and im good. i fully understand the laws of thermodynamics and how it works. Im not saying this would be 100% DIY as when it is finished i would call out a pro to tune the system most likely unless i can find a DIY on that as well, I do have a fluke meter that is approved for hvac work as well. For the most part from what i have researched and read this is something that is within the capability of my skill set.
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Old 12-29-2009, 02:18 AM   #10
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Good to see that you are researching this instead of just going ahead and trying to install the system without asking any questions- really shows that you care about getting the job done right! I've been installing HVAC systems for a while now (mainly Heat Pumps).

"What im looking at doing is ditching the heat pump system and just going with a standard furnace and air conditioning system. Ive been able to determine that what i want is a 3ton unit with 95% efficency." - A heat pump system is far more efficient, provided that it is sized properly. This includes the evaporator, the condenser, the blower(or furnace) and the ducting (supply and return). Your old system may not be functioning properly because it is old technology, or it has not been maintained properly. My experience is that the majority of homeowners do not do necessary routine maintenance on their systems, and are surprised when they cease to function as intended.

I am a pretty handy individual and have all tools needed- Really doubtful. I'm sure you have corless drills, hammer, screw driver, calking gun, wrenches, etc, but do you have these necessary tools or supplies: refrigeration gauges, acetylene torch, brazing rods, vacuum pump, nitrogen, r410A, tube benders, etc, etc, etc.?

As for your ducting setup, it sounds like you have two return duct lines. Furnaces don't come pre- fab for any particular setup- they are all field modified.

Finally, you will have to pull permits to do this work, and although homeowners in most areas can do this, you really have to know what you are doing to be approved. My advice is to find a knowledgeable [hvac contractor who would be willing to let you help in order to keep costs down. If you have any more questions, I am more than willing to help. Good luck!
Suprisingly enough yes i do have much of this stuff, tube benders,acetlyene torch, vacuum pump are all items i own, as well as the necessary hand tools to install it, i do not have a set of r410a gauges, or r410a, but again these are supply's i will either need to get before hand, or i can just have a pro come out and charge the system up for me once all the lines are brazed and together, I really appreciate all the input guys. I need as much info on this as possible, time to get my house heating/cooling up to par again the way im lookin at it right now, is getting the stuff and stuffing it in the garage and come like april time when it is mild taking a week of vacation and diving in. sounds like a worthwhile project to me, so this is not something i will be diving into next week by any means, i am too structured and methodical for that, i need all the information i can get before im gonna take this one on. also luckily enough how the stuff is placed throughout the house its all in very close proximity of each other on a corner of 2 outside walls so the venting etc.. should be very easy to accomplish. but again this will be an ongoing thread of questions and answers, so thanks for the help everyone and keep it coming
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Old 12-29-2009, 02:19 AM   #11
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Want to replace heat pump.


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Originally Posted by HPGui View Post
Brewmastr:
1) If you buy a heat pump from an online distributor, the unit will have NO manufacturer's warranty whatsoever. Beware!

2) The quality of the installation for HVAC equipment is more important than the equipment itself. Air balancing, ductwork, system charging, etc. can be tricky. You sure you want to do a DIY job?

3) "i am in portland oregon as well in a 1300 sq foot condo, i was directed to look at a 3ton 60,000 btu system," FYI: Heat pumps are measured in tons, with each ton referring to a nominal BTU output of 12,000 BTU. So, a 3-ton would be rated at 36,000 BTU. There's no such thing as a 3-ton 60,000 BTU HP. Also, you should do a heatload calc (aka Manual J) to determine what size unit you actually need. FWIW: 60K BTU seems oversized for 1300sf. But don't guess using square feet or prior unit size. Do a proper heatload calc first.

On number 3 I think he is referring to the furnace on the 60k part. I think he knows 3ton = 36000 BTU.. You have to have backup heat...
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Old 12-29-2009, 12:30 PM   #12
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Want to replace heat pump.


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Originally Posted by brewmastr View Post
Well im not talking about keeping the heat pump, im talking about just going straight gas furnace and a/c.i have found many 3 ton 60,000 btu setups out there from york,carrier,rheem etc... I do realize there are some hurdles to overcome doing DIY but I am a very handy person as well am EPA 609 certified, i realize thats automotive air conditioning, but a/c is a/c, give me a pressure to temperture relationship chart for the refrigrent im using, and a set of gauges and im good. i fully understand the laws of thermodynamics and how it works. Im not saying this would be 100% DIY as when it is finished i would call out a pro to tune the system most likely unless i can find a DIY on that as well, I do have a fluke meter that is approved for hvac work as well. For the most part from what i have researched and read this is something that is within the capability of my skill set.
OK. However, my comment about HP warranties applies to furnaces and A/C units as well. Check out the written warranty listed on the site of the manufacturer that you prefer. For example, the Goodman/Amana warranty states...

"Neither warranty applies to, and no warranty is offered by Goodman on, any unit ordered over the internet."

Of course, it's your call. I just want you to make an informed decision. (BTW: I am a homeowner, not an HVAC retailer.)
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Old 12-31-2009, 10:27 AM   #13
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Want to replace heat pump.


3 tons for a 1300 sq ft condo sounds oversized to me!!! Always size the heat pump for the AC load unless you are considering a two-stage system, you may be able to oversize it a little. You really donot want to oversize it; It will cool but it will not dehumidity.....it will feel cold and damp and could lead to mold issues. As suggested above a heat/cool calc (Man J) is definetley recommended......I have a 1100 sq ft home in the Twin Cities MN with a 2 ton AC and it is more than adequate to do the job.

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