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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have gotten a few estimates to replace my entire 16 year old heat pump and air handler. The existing unit is a rheem 2.5 ton 10 seer heat pump. The company that I liked the most out of the 4 that came out to give me an estimate quoted me for a 2.5 ton 14 seer unit and also a 2.5 ton 15 seer unit. The other companies quoted 14 seer 3 ton units but I did mention to them that that's what I was looking in to. The house is close to 1800 sqft 2 story with 10 vents down and 5 vents upstairs. Should I consider another 2.5 ton or go up to a 3 ton? It's important to also point out that I have a very tight space to install the air handler and every one told me only certain units from what ever Brand they use could fit up there. The trane guy said he would make the opening bigger to install a 15 seer trane up there if I wanted that.
 

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Your current duct work is either border line, or under size for your 2.5 ton heat pump. So going to a 3 ton could cause problems, unless you redo your duct work.

1800 sq ft, 2.5 tons is plenty in most areas. Has the current unit had a problem cooling your house when unit was working right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It's hard to say. I'm fairly certain the unit had a small leak when we bought the house 5 years ago and no one caught it or told us about it at the time. All I know now is every year one the first or second hot day of the year the ac will not blow cold and I have to get it recharged. It's needed more freeon every year sI leak is obviously getting worse and worse and all hvac people say it's not worth fixing. The cold winters we've had our electric bill has been above $300 some months because the AUx heat runs constantly. In the summer my son's room (farthest from unit) stays a lot warmer than the rest of the house. One guy that just came out told me I'd be lucky to be getting 2 seer out of my current unit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
One more question. Is it worth getting a 15 seer over a 14 seer? It's about $1000 difference and online calculators don't show a huge utility savings between the 2. I know 14 is the minimum recommended and that that number goes up every few years.
 

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Make sure any contractor you choose is doing a load calculation, and load calculations are not rules of thumb such as "x square feet = y tons of cooling" or "I've done this for 20 years and just know by now what people need"... Load calculations are done with measurements and detective work looking into your home, things such as insulation R value in ceiling and walls, how many windows and what type and size, direction Windows are facing ect...

Try your own at loadcalc.net

Sent from my LG-D852 using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm meeting with the company tomorrow. I'll ask them about that. He did take some measurements but don't know about the load calculations stuff. Is bryant good? I keep hearing that brand isn't as important as the install. I read good carrier reviews and they are basically identical to bryant from what I understand.
 

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One more question. Is it worth getting a 15 seer over a 14 seer? It's about $1000 difference and online calculators don't show a huge utility savings between the 2. I know 14 is the minimum recommended and that that number goes up every few years.
You won't save a thousand bucks in 20 years on a 1 SEER increase.

And going 1/2 ton larger won't make your sons room cooler or warmer. Unless you lower or raise the thermostat setting.
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
That's what I figured about the 1 seer difference. Only reason why I am leaning towards 3 ton over another 2.5 ton is because I have been told several times since buying the house that the unit was a little to small. Even the home inspector mentioned it when he was doing a final inspection before we bought the house. 3 ton system is $225 more than 2.5 ton system plus they will deduct the cost of the thermostat that they include in the install because my current one is not that old and has more features then what they typically include.
 

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Has anyone tried to locate leak, Once its charged does it do a good job cooling, In other words on the hottest day does it run all the time and keep set temp. On most estimates most companies will not do a load calculation because of the time involved on a free estimate, Once the contract is awarded will they do one then before install
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Leak is in the coil and my go to hvac guy said the coil would need to be replaced and that it wouldn't be worth it on such an old unit that could fail soon after anyway. The outside unit also has issues that apparently lead to the system crapping out. All I know about hvac is what I've learned over the past week talking to the different techs that came out. Another thing I know is that the older units use a much more expensive freeon than the newer ones and I've already paid over $400 charging this old thing.

I also learned that I have had a clog in the drain somewhere since I bought the house because water drips out of a pipe under my gutter and it's not supposed to unless something overflows? I never even thought about that because it's ALWAYS dripped water when the system runs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I'd say it does good right after being charged. It will cool the house down to set temperature and keep it there. But a couple months later it seems to struggle and run more than it should.

Really cold days are the real issue. I keep the thermostat on 68 for heat and I've seen AUX heat stay on for so long that I bumped it down just to give it and my electric bill a break. Lol Once you get a $300+ electric bill you tend to pay more attention to things.
 

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Based on what you've posted, it sounds like 2.5T is the correct sized.

You have to remember that if you're low on Freon, it won't cool as well. It also won't heat as well, the the Freon leak may be the reason your heat pump is having problems maintaining 68F in the winter. It's also old...

These days, heat pumps are much better at producing heat than an old 16yo heat pump. These new ones can produce heat into the single digits. Yes it's not doing to be as efficient when the temps drop, but compared to your old one, even if that one was 100%, the new ones will do better.

Just remember that if you're sizing for cold, it sounds as a 2.5T is good, but if you want more heat, than get the 3T unit.

BTW, I've been on propane heat since I've been in my place but last fall, I replaced my AC with a heat pump. I kept the propane furnace for a dual fuel setup. I have my thermostat set to switch from heat pump to propane when temps drop below 30F... And I have to say I love my setup. I'm in a 2400sqft home with a 3.5T Rheem (14 seer) and the thing has no problems heating my place this winter. Here's the kicker... Before, I was using some electric heaters to try and save a bit of dough because of the cost of propane; which increased my electric bill. With the heat pump, I no longer use them.. I just got my electric bill for January and it was $182. In the past it was always just over $200 in Jan or Feb. But here's the kicker.... yes I know we've had a warm winter, but because of the heat pump, I haven't had to have my propane tank filled since early December. This to me is a miracle!! I've been here now for 11 years and this is the 1st time I haven't had to have my propane tank filled monthly in the winter!! Propane prices are down, but man, I know I still have to be saving some coin... Last winter, my propane bills were around $400 to $500 a month, in addition to my electric bill! I'm loving my 14 seer Rheem heat pump!!
 

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I'd say it does good right after being charged. It will cool the house down to set temperature and keep it there. But a couple months later it seems to struggle and run more than it should.

Really cold days are the real issue. I keep the thermostat on 68 for heat and I've seen AUX heat stay on for so long that I bumped it down just to give it and my electric bill a break. Lol Once you get a $300+ electric bill you tend to pay more attention to things.

2.5 tons sounds like the correct size or your house. The leak is probably the cause or your high heating bills. As when its low on charge, the heat pump doesn't put out as much heat, causing the aux to come on quicker, and stay on longer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I'm meeting with the guy today so I'll ask him about the size. I think the people who built my house went pretty cheap on some things like the windows and doors. I plan to replace all of them over time but for now you can feel the cold draft when standing by Windows aND my 2 back doors. I have a storm door in front of my front door which helps there. So just out of curiosity does the lack of efficient windows/doors mean a 3 ton would be better or does that not matter? It asks about those things on the load calculator.
 

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Anything other then a load calculation is guessing. I'd recommend doing upgrades to the home first, then doing HVAC as you could significantly reduce tonnage by sealing up the structure, as well as reducing energy usage.
Do a load calculation either way and put in what you need.
Bigger isn't better.
 

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Actually bigger may be better in this scenario IMO as the heat pump will be able to handle the heat loss of the structure over a greater range of outdoor temps which would reduce the time the AUX heat is energized. The 1/2 ton increase to A/C is not likely to create really problematic cooling, though it could contribute to less dehumidification taking place in general. I don't know a lot about the Virginia climate, but I have installed quite a few heat pumps here in Canada and have often installed a system a size larger than cooling demand to increase heat pump usability in our primarily heating environment.

Another option would be to move to a 2 stage unit which would more easily match demand with capacity. These units do come with a premium in cost, but can also increase efficiency and comfort in the long haul. That's just my opinion, but I think it is worth consideration.
 

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Actually bigger may be better in this scenario IMO as the heat pump will be able to handle the heat loss of the structure over a greater range of outdoor temps which would reduce the time the AUX heat is energized. The 1/2 ton increase to A/C is not likely to create really problematic cooling, though it could contribute to less dehumidification taking place in general. I don't know a lot about the Virginia climate, but I have installed quite a few heat pumps here in Canada and have often installed a system a size larger than cooling demand to increase heat pump usability in our primarily heating environment.

Another option would be to move to a 2 stage unit which would more easily match demand with capacity. These units do come with a premium in cost, but can also increase efficiency and comfort in the long haul. That's just my opinion, but I think it is worth consideration.
Since it keeps up after a recharge. His 2.5 ton is fine and a 3 ton could cause lots of issues. Even if he got a 2 stage 3 ton unit.

Current leaky doors and windows being fixed or replace is money better spent. Then getting a more expensive heat pump.

OP should reduce heat loss and gain to save money.
 
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