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Discussion Starter #1
HI,
Realizing most of how HVAC is valued depends on the installer and techs!

We have been looking at Split heat pumps systems.

Two of our best offers seem to be either American Standard or Lennox for various reasons and not just more utility.

These are 15-17 SEER systems.

Are these reputable solid brand items? Do either have a reputation for high maintenance? or do you think they will last?

(we do plan to pay for the biannual maintenance plan.

We are doing a variable speed fan to help cut humidity and keep the air

going more often, esp when the temp is constant.


Lennox had a class action suit on some copper coils a few years ago, now they do aluminum and are supposed to be quality! The large distributer is about 40 mins away.

One site said American Standard had the lowest amount of maintenance calls.

Both of these were not at the top of my list when we started... but I was swayed.

Thanks in advance.

If it matters, here is some more info:

American Standard Silver or Gold heatpump and TEM6 Handler /M30 or Ecobee 5

or

Lennox ML14Xp1-018-230 and CBA25UHV-024 /Gold824

It is currently 79 degrees in here as I type and the sun is coming up. We have held out to try and make the best choice with the most bang.

You guys are my last filter. Any advice is appreciated.

Oh yeah.... I am in Charlotte NC.
 

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Most brands had leaking evaporator coil problems and huge numbers of warranty returns.

It had to do with the global price of copper and they all made them too thin. Now they are better and that is not a problem.

Both brands are comparable and in the top 4 category along with Carrier and York IMO so choose whichever contractor has the best reputation.

Make sure they do a heat load calculation and show it to you so you get properly sized equipment.

I don't trust any sites that say their brand has the least amount of service calls as there are way too many liars and people getting paid to do positive reviews.

In your case it is like saying Ford has less problems than GM. Everyone has problems eventually and I am sure you can find someone claiming Ford is best and someone saying GM is best.
 

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The consumer report sites for hvac are essentially worthless. They don’t take any of the important information into account.
Choose your installer over the brand. And make sure whatever brand you choose is supported locally.
 

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I see no way of getting references for a installer other than face to face / word of mouth and i recommend 5 references. Will this be the most difficult part of the decision? Probably so.


Please report back with your experience.




EDIT: EDIT:
 

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You need to find a reliable installer, not necessarily a large company. Large companies have revolving doors - techs come and quit very quickly. You need a tech who's more stable. More like an independent.
Go to the distributor you mentioned, talk to the sales guys, they will recommend independent contractors who frequent the warehouse. Another source is friends and relatives.
Ask your installer: What equipment would you buy for your house?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
well both the two top contenders are registered with Duke energy and have a lot of high ratings... (registered with Duke, we can get the energy rebates.)
getting more for our money... this seems like our best options out of 40:


Less expensive on top. The top one is iffy,


The Green ones can also get us a VERY good deal on a water heater and have it done at the same time.

Welcoming comments, good mentions, warnings.

(This is a huge expense for us, I am not working... and this is not a good time... but then again... is it ever. So I really appreciate the help.. I have worked hard on getting estimates and checking up.)
 

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Welcoming comments, good mentions, warnings.
Head the advice in this thread - don't shop for the machine in itself, the contractor is far more important.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Yes. We like both installers. (We liked a lot of them.)
Still, there are good and bad things about the equipment that fall into play.
Crappy coils or sloppy assembly... sub-grade materials, bad circuit boards... will be beyond the control of the installers who also do the maintenance.

They can be the best, and charge a lot or a little to fix the issues that will ensue.

I see votes of confidence... or a lack of confidence in the equipment.

Next question will be if I want to keep my coils clean (I use a merve 11-13 filter.)
and wish to keep the air clear of mold and fine particulates...
Would it be better to put a UV in on the coils... or use a plasma type system like the Phenomenal Air C6 (made locally.)
 

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If you care about quality, you don't buy the cheaper ML series heatpump with a flimsy cabinet. Go for at least the XP14 elite series.

I would go for an all aluminum coil because there have been problems with formicary corrosion due to making the tubes thinner for efficiency. Aluminum apparently isn't subject to that kind of corrosion.

Actual install aside, the most important thing to do is match the equipment to the house and ducts. You've given zero information about the house.

When doing a heatpump you have to be extra-careful because some of them have poor heating performance. The heating btu ratings must be checked.

As well sizing one is a balancing act too especially if you're in a climate that requires supplemental heat. Strip heat really jacks up the electric bills.

One strategy is getting a larger 2-stage heatpump and only using it on low in cooling mode.

I would want a stat that can lock out the aux heat above x temp and lock out the heatpump if desired when it's too cold.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
If you care about quality, you don't buy the cheaper ML series heatpump with a flimsy cabinet. Go for at least the XP14 elite series.
Sounds like the merit line? Lennox?

I would go for an all aluminum coil because there have been problems with formicary corrosion due to making the tubes thinner for efficiency. Aluminum apparently isn't subject to that kind of corrosion.
I read the American Standard is all aluminum... supposedly the lennox is, but hard to find that info right this sec.

Actual install aside, the most important thing to do is match the equipment to the house and ducts. You've given zero information about the house.
I have a lot of information... the ducts get a little tricky. No one wants to go up there. it is an 1150sq ft condo, second floor vaulted ceilings 7 registers. The farthest room is generally the coldess.
4 sides 3 common, 1 north side with windows, 1 shared w/ neighbor, 1 w/neighbor and thick firewall, 1 with common and not air conditioned hallway. old system was 1.5 ton byrant condensor and 2 ton carrier handler struggled some times... getting hotter now here.

When doing a heatpump you have to be extra-careful because some of them have poor heating performance. The heating btu ratings must be checked.

As well sizing one is a balancing act too especially if you're in a climate that requires supplemental heat. Strip heat really jacks up the electric bills.
well that just makes me want to go for the 2 ton 2 stage even more!

One strategy is getting a larger 2-stage heatpump and only using it on low in cooling mode.

I would want a stat that can lock out the aux heat above x temp and lock out the heatpump if desired when it's too cold.
[/QUOTE]

I thought they all could do that.

Hope I am getting you right. THanks.

We were leaning towards the American standard. THey have a plumber that can come in at the same time and replace our water heater at near %60 of what we will pay soon by itself.
 

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well that just makes me want to go for the 2 ton 2 stage even more!
Your ducts need to be able to take the airflow.

With 7 registers I doubt it.

How was heating performance? Do you have aux heat now?

Condos being building or townhouse have lower heat loss than detached.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Yeah, they would come on once in a while.. .you could smell it, especailly the first time.


Not all variable fans are high CFM.... and you could throttle them down, couldnt you? These are only 1.5-258 ton handlers.
 

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If your aux heat rarely comes on, 2-ton 2-stage is not worth the added cost and complexity. Dehumidification can be worse with an oversized (for cooling) 2-stage relative to properly sized single.

Bigger isn't better aside from reduced aux heat use.

7 registers - too little for 2 ton unless the branch lines are large.

So forget my suggestion.

Not all variable fans are high CFM.... and you could throttle them down, couldnt you? These are only 1.5-258 ton handlers
Required cfm is determined by equipment capacity - around 400 per ton +/- a little. You can't just slow them down to match a duct system - creates problems.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Required cfm is determined by equipment capacity - around 400 per ton +/- a little. You can't just slow them down to match a duct system - creates problems.

I see, well...
My current handler is 2 ton...


My Current condenser:


I think the run is about 55-66 feet depending, the condnser is about 14' max lower than the evap coil.



Just because I put all that... I will add this.... I have it in another thread... so hopefully the links to those the floor plan should be below.

The recommendations are split but leaning to 2 tons out side. One guy even had a 3.5 ton inside... which wont even fit.

I was hoping that if we spent the extra for a 2 stage 2 ton... it would run like a 1.2 ton unless it needed more. and would be more forgiving.
The 1.5 had problems once in a while and it got humid in here a lot. We had to keep it cold... and on the really hot days... it was a good thing we have ceiling fans.... with 30 estimates... it is hard to tell mostly who to trust. Lennox people tend to go 1.5 bryant and some carrier...

I am starting to think maybe we should just get the cheapest thing and deal with it when the time comes.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Required cfm is determined by equipment capacity - around 400 per ton +/- a little. You can't just slow them down to match a duct system - creates problems.

I see, well...
My current handler is 2 ton...



My Current condenser a 1.5 ton:


I think the run is about 55-66 feet depending, the condenser is about 14' max lower than the evap coil.



Just because I put all that... I will add this.... I have it in another thread... so hopefully the links to those the floor plan should be below.

The recommendations are split but leaning to 2 tons out side. One guy even had a 3.5 ton inside... which wont even fit.

I was hoping that if we spent the extra for a 2 stage 2 ton... it would run like a 1.2 ton unless it needed more. and would be more forgiving.
The 1.5 had problems once in a while and it got humid in here a lot. We had to keep it cold... and on the really hot days... it was a good thing we have ceiling fans.... with 30 estimates... it is hard to tell mostly who to trust. Lennox people tend to go 1.5 bryant and some carrier...

I am starting to think maybe we should just get the cheapest thing and deal with it when the time comes.
 

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I forgot about the other thread.

You can not blindly upsize without assessing ductwork.

High duct pressure kills the variable speed blower used in air handler for 2-stage units.

Each duct run better be 6"+ metal or equivalent for 2 ton and that's at 350 cfm per ton. The trunks have to be properly sized too.

Dehumidification is worse on first stage and less cycling normally compensates for that, but not when you oversize.

The only reason to get 2-ton is to reduce aux heat use and based on your location, your winters aren't cold enough to justify that. I brought it up without thinking about your particular application.

Do not upsize to "improve" cooling performance, you may be able to keep it a little cooler but dehumidification will suffer.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
We went from a 1.5 ton Bryant Condenser and 2 ton carrier handler (R22) to
an American standard Gold... 2 ton 2 stage condenser and a variable speed 2 ton handler (Tem 6) 410a with a gold 824 humidity sensing thermostat.
We like the company installing it. It is in the middle price range for us, but a lot less than most comparable units, we opted for the 10 yr labor warranty and it is 17 seer.
Hopefully we are not making a mistake. It is my hope that it will run like a 1.5 ton. We are getting a Phenomenal Aire plasma air cleaner. However I am concerned about ozone and an having trouble finding non advertisement information on them.
 

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uh - i think you ignored what i said. did anyone check the ductwork - only 7 registers for a 2 ton? branch/trunk sizes? return?

you may have premature ecm module failures and increased humidity.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
They said they did the load test and it was good... Also it is replacing like for like.. isnt it? The majority of the units recommended were 2 to 2.5 ton handlers... 46 estimates to 12. So I am hoping they are not all shysters. It is not in yet, but will be.
 

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It's not like for like.

A 2 ton air handler can be set up for 600 cfm/1.5 tons airflow and paired with a 1.5 ton condenser.


Load test? What load test? Load calculation?

Was the air ducts system assessed? If your supply runs are 6" flex or 5" metal, the duct pressure may be high when the new one is on high.

Plus, if you don't need the capacity, 2 ton 2-stage is a waste, better to go for 1.5 ton single stage as it's a simpler machine which is cheaper to fix out of warranty.

The bigger 2-stage running on low may not dehumidify as well as single stage 1.5.
 
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