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Old 07-07-2019, 12:47 PM   #1
Hammerdown15
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Default A/C System Recommendations

Iím about to replace my entire system and duct work. Want to balance between cost and efficiency. I think thereís probably a point where added cost doesnít necessarily return itself on the electric bill but donít know where that is.

2000 SF home, two story, 4 ton unit, gas furnace.

1. Variable speed compressor or not?
2. Zoned or not?
3. Variable speed furnace?
4. SEER minimum?

Thanks.


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Old 07-07-2019, 01:17 PM   #2
oktx
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I just had a Daiken installed after 14 years of hell with a Reem. 2100 square feet 5 ton, 16 seer, Variable speed. I have not seen an electric bill yet for the month.
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Old 07-07-2019, 01:18 PM   #3
Ttechhunter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammerdown15 View Post
I’m about to replace my entire system and duct work. Want to balance between cost and efficiency. I think there’s probably a point where added cost doesn’t necessarily return itself on the electric bill but don’t know where that is.

2000 SF home, two story, 4 ton unit, gas furnace.

1. Variable speed compressor or not?
2. Zoned or not?
3. Variable speed furnace?
4. SEER minimum?

Thanks.


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1. Variable speed compressor or not? No- More electronics, higher maintenance costs and more likely to break. Don't get me wrong, there are benefits to a variable speed system, but unless you don't really care about spending money on maintenance when the time comes, go with a single stage unit.

2. Zoned or not? Volume dampers in the ductwork is always a good thing. It will allow you to get the airflow you need to the second level, remember heat rises both in summer and winter.

3. Variable speed furnace? modulating heating is going to cost you a bunch, again, its more electronics. In Texas, the winters are so mild buy whatever is cheapest and most serviceable, which is staged heating.

4. SEER minimum? 14 SEER is now code minimum. That will get you a bang on bang off unit which is cheapest to service and most simple. It will probably drop your bill by a hundred bucks a month if you keep your home at 73-75 during July-August, and if you had an old 10 seer unit.

Last edited by Ttechhunter; 07-07-2019 at 01:21 PM.
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Old 07-07-2019, 01:38 PM   #4
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I actually just did exactly what your getting ready to do. I had a new system installed on May 17th. This is what I have

20 Seer Full Variable Carrier Infinity system
It cost about $13,700 for everything (except ductwork, that was still fine).

I secured a 5-Year 0% interest loan.

Here is what I can tell you. Last year at this time, I was easily using 85-100 kWh per day. Exceeding 2000 every month. Currently, I am averaging 60-75. My bill last year was $250-$300 each summer month. I am only hitting 155-160.

The humidity control is amazing. It is mid to upper 90's outside and you wouldn't know it in my house. At night, it gets outright cold!

I keep my thermostat at 72 then drop it to 68 for bed.

Bottom line, it was worth the extra few thousand to get the comfort.

BTW, with that cost, I have a 10-year Parts and Labor warranty. If something happens, all I do is make a phone call.
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Old 07-07-2019, 02:05 PM   #5
double bogey
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If you are replacing your system, being that the 14 seer is the minimum, get cost for that as a base. You are spending that anyway. Now look at higher efficiency units cost. Look at payback on the cost of operation of the difference in price. To me, that is the best way to select on a payback basis. On Blitz's example above, he is saving $100+ an few months out of the year. Takes a long time to payback $13,700, but it should hppen in the life of the system. That being said, his increased comfort is well worth it.


Since your house is 2 story, I would zone the floors, and get a 2 stg, system (this will be at least 16 seer) at minimum. Better would be a variable (at least for cooling) and zone the floors. Variable gas heat is nice, but not needed. Depending on layout you can consider a third zone with the variable. The variable system properly set up will give you the best comfort and efficiency.


I don't like zoned systems unless the zone loads are fairly equal, excepting variable systems. 2 stg. systems operate at 100% and 60%. Too small zones put the system out of design specs.


Good luck with whichever you go with, and hope you get the best contractor.
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Old 07-07-2019, 03:28 PM   #6
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From what the salesman told me, zoning a system adds cost as well.
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Old 07-07-2019, 04:06 PM   #7
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Ever thought of spray foam in your attic rafters? May cost you $2,500, then you would need less tonage on the AC. Differently, my whole house is foamed and the attic is never hot. Do some research with a few AC guys, your AC is a marriage. You don't want her to leave you.
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Old 07-07-2019, 05:42 PM   #8
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Listen to post number 5 way more than post number 3.

If an ac guy ever recommends a single stage system with zoning, kindly ask him to leave.

My advice is this:

Do more research on contractors and less research on the equipment. Use the internet, read reviews, bbb complaints, how those complaints are handled, the company’s longevity, awards they have won locally for service.
They should give you several options and recommendations. Pick what is comfortable for your budget.

Last edited by bowhntrmatt; 07-07-2019 at 05:49 PM.
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Old 07-07-2019, 05:44 PM   #9
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.

Last edited by bowhntrmatt; 07-07-2019 at 05:44 PM. Reason: Duplicate
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Old 07-07-2019, 05:47 PM   #10
oktx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bowhntrmatt View Post
Listen to post number 5 way more than post number 2.

If an ac guy ever recommends a single stage system with zoning, kindly ask him to leave.

My advice is this:

Do more research on contractors and less research on the equipment. Use the internet, read reviews, bbb complaints, how those complaints are handled, the companyís longevity, awards they have won locally for service.
They should give you several options and recommendations. Pick what is comfortable for your budget.
LOL! I wasn't giving advice, just stating what I did.
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Old 07-07-2019, 05:48 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by oktx View Post
LOL! I wasn't giving advice, just stating what I did.
Sorry! Meant to say number 3!
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Old 07-07-2019, 05:49 PM   #12
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Sorry! Meant to say number 3!
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Old 07-07-2019, 05:51 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blitz View Post
From what the salesman told me, zoning a system adds cost as well.
Zoning will absolutely add cost to your system. If you have a 2 story house and one system, it will exponentially add to the comfort level. Very difficult to cool 2 areas that have completely different condition profiles with a single zone setup.
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Old 07-07-2019, 05:59 PM   #14
double bogey
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One thing to add. I lived in the country with an on again off again power system, and I would have to consider the quality of the power available before getting a variable speed system. Not from the reliability standpoint, but from the quality standpoint. As posted above, lots of electronics from the outside unit, to the temp control that may not like dirty power. I would be afraid of dirty power. May not be an issue, your contractor will know if he has had past problems.


Internet access could be a problem also, some controllers have issues with satellite internet, at least a Lennox control a good friend had issues. System still worked, but remote access was affected. First world problem.
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Old 07-07-2019, 08:44 PM   #15
Colorado87
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammerdown15 View Post
Iím about to replace my entire system and duct work. Want to balance between cost and efficiency. I think thereís probably a point where added cost doesnít necessarily return itself on the electric bill but donít know where that is.

2000 SF home, two story, 4 ton unit, gas furnace.

1. Variable speed compressor or not?
2. Zoned or not?
3. Variable speed furnace?
4. SEER minimum?

Thanks.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk


Just replaced one of my systems. I did a lot of research and got multiple quotes and opinions. I went with. 16 deer American Standard. I like American made with a great warranty and a quality product. Consumer reviews are great for American Standard/Train.
As to your questions:
1. After a lot of research and a lot of math I found that there is no way a higher seer or variable speed system would pay for itself. It will reduce the cost and there are some comfort benefits but energy savings will not cover the cost delta. The salesmen kept insisting it would until I showed them my math. They could not argue with my math.
2. I would stay away from zoned. Passive control is more fool proof.
3. As with number one above there are comfort reasons to have a variable speed system but they will not save enough to pay for themselves. Also only get a variable furnace if you get a variable compressor.
4. 14 is minimum required. I went with 16 just because itís more common.

Hope this helps. I am not saying the variable/ high efficiency systems are bad. There are certainly a lot of great things that come from them but I was surprised how far from paying for themselves they were. Even if I assumed 100% of my kWh were going to the AC (clearly over conservative) the payback was in the 20-25 year range giving no consideration to TVM.


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Old 07-07-2019, 08:46 PM   #16
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Also get lots of quotes. I saw deltas of $500. That was after I narrowed down to a specific brand and system.


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Old 07-07-2019, 10:32 PM   #17
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We replaced our unit 3 years ago. Have a Lennox unit. Went with zoning the upstairs...it has a thermostat like downstairs. One system can run both floors and only heat/cool the floor calling for it. My kids went from complaining it was always hot, to wow it is cold. The zone was well worth the cost!.

16 seer seemed to be the division for my budget requirements. Did not do variable speed. Like others said, seemed the cost would never catch up to benefit.

$17k was the cost that included duct replacement. I think 4 ton system. Gas heat. House has never been more comfortable. We found 76į to be the comfortable summer time temp.

.....and God Bless America.
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Old 07-08-2019, 01:32 AM   #18
Uncle Saggy
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Being that you are planning on doing ductwork, why not install two systems?
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Old 07-08-2019, 06:23 AM   #19
Lungbustr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blitz View Post
I actually just did exactly what your getting ready to do. I had a new system installed on May 17th. This is what I have

20 Seer Full Variable Carrier Infinity system
It cost about $13,700 for everything (except ductwork, that was still fine).

I secured a 5-Year 0% interest loan.

Here is what I can tell you. Last year at this time, I was easily using 85-100 kWh per day. Exceeding 2000 every month. Currently, I am averaging 60-75. My bill last year was $250-$300 each summer month. I am only hitting 155-160.

The humidity control is amazing. It is mid to upper 90's outside and you wouldn't know it in my house. At night, it gets outright cold!

I keep my thermostat at 72 then drop it to 68 for bed.

Bottom line, it was worth the extra few thousand to get the comfort.

BTW, with that cost, I have a 10-year Parts and Labor warranty. If something happens, all I do is make a phone call.
That's pretty insane money for an AC unit, how many tons is it?
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Old 07-08-2019, 05:17 PM   #20
double bogey
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I have seen variable speed systems with duct modifications and zoning go for $20k+.
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Old 07-08-2019, 06:12 PM   #21
Hammerdown15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by double bogey View Post
I have seen variable speed systems with duct modifications and zoning go for $20k+.


The quote for that setup came in right under $20k.

I went with a 4 ton 16 SEER unit with a variable furnace and zoning. The contractor is a great guy who volunteers with me at the rodeo. He has done work for multiple committee members and they all highly recommended him. We talked about my goals and he actually said the lower level system would have been fine for my goals but this slight upgrade will be better in general for everyone (including future owners). Of course, the variable system was the BEST but he didnít push it and said that itís not what everyone needs and was honest that it doesnít have a lot of return on the investment.

Looking forward to my house not being 82 degrees for most of the day and night.

Thank you all for the suggestions and the advice. I feel like I had a much better basis for making a decision on an investment that is more than most of the vehicles Iíve owned.




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Old 07-08-2019, 10:00 PM   #22
double bogey
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Good luck, glad to be of help. Glad you didn't go single stage on zoned, it would be a compromise. Since ductwork is modified, get them to balance the airflow.
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Old 07-08-2019, 10:19 PM   #23
Mike D
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hammerdown15 View Post
The quote for that setup came in right under $20k.

I went with a 4 ton 16 SEER unit with a variable furnace and zoning. The contractor is a great guy who volunteers with me at the rodeo. He has done work for multiple committee members and they all highly recommended him. We talked about my goals and he actually said the lower level system would have been fine for my goals but this slight upgrade will be better in general for everyone (including future owners). Of course, the variable system was the BEST but he didnít push it and said that itís not what everyone needs and was honest that it doesnít have a lot of return on the investment.

Looking forward to my house not being 82 degrees for most of the day and night.

Thank you all for the suggestions and the advice. I feel like I had a much better basis for making a decision on an investment that is more than most of the vehicles Iíve owned.




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That sounds high. I just had a 4 ton plus a 2 ton 17 SEER 2 stage systems with 4 zones and a 7k BTU minisplit plus vent hood makeup air and 5 exhaust fan ducts installed for just under $20k.

Of course this is new construction and not remodel so that will make some difference.


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Old 07-09-2019, 09:00 AM   #24
double bogey
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike D View Post
That sounds high. I just had a 4 ton plus a 2 ton 17 SEER 2 stage systems with 4 zones and a 7k BTU minisplit plus vent hood makeup air and 5 exhaust fan ducts installed for just under $20k.

Of course this is new construction and not remodel so that will make some difference.


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The $20k price was for duct and variable speed system.
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