Advice on replacing heat pump

I have to replace my 11yrs. old 3ton Rheem heat pump(inside and outside unit). I have contacted several companies and most are reluctant to do a room by room load calculation. Will the load calculation act as insurance in case the unit fails to perform adequately and is it something I should definitely insist on.? What SEER and HSPF rating should I select? I live in southern Maryland and was considering a unit with a 10 SEER rating and 7-7.5 HSPF. Your input will be greatly appreciated.
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The hvac 'experts' around here will tell you it is important to have a load calculation done. If you were happy with the performance of the present one, a similarly sized unit will be ok. I suspect that is what most contractors will quote you. Theoretically it may be possible to drop to a 2 1/2 because of the higher seer rating in a new one but if you want a 10 seer I don't think I would. If you conside a 12 or 14 seer then I would ask the contractor if they think a 2 1/2 would do the job? The load calcualtion is not insurance, finding a good contractor is the best 'insurance' you can get.

definitely
and
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definitely
and
Spend as much as you can, do not get the most expensive unit nor the cheapest. Look for something in the middle. I believe you will need to replace ton for ton. More seer will only serve to have the unit cycle less. If your rooms were good before then they will be good again. If you had a room that was warm or cold when you did not want it now it the time to look at the duct work. IMO more air rarely cures poor installations. A room by room calculation in a home seems a waste to me.
I would look more toward the 12-14 seer units. I have read about 18's for a 3 ton. I have one that is a 12 and it is 8 years old. Look at the amp draws between the units. More seer usually less amps. Cheaper to run. Good luck
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definitely
and
You have gotten two other replies, one of them is slightly incorrect.
To answer your questions, in order, here goes.
A room by room manual J will insure that they can do a manual D, and thats a duct calculation to insure that you have proper BTU delivery, and airflow to each room based upon its load and size. No, the manual J, or T in the case of a heat pump, will NOT act as insurance to anyone but the installing company, as if you are not satisfied, they can say, well, we sized it correctly. It can, also, act more as a piece of mind to you, since at 11 years old, you have no way of knowing if it was sized correctly from the start or not.
As far as SEER and HSPF...easy enough...as high as you can afford. The price of electrical is never going to be as cheap as it is today. Who knows what may happen in a year or so? 10 SEER is the bottom of the barrel, and the new standard is 12, or even 14. I dont even mess with the 13SEER units as there is literally not enough of a difference to matter. Start looking at 12 and go from there. All of the units we sell carry the Energy Star rating now, and you should look for that as well. Not all 12 SEER units are created equal.
Now...keep in mind, that the higher the SEER, the LONGER the units going to run in the summer time. Why? Simple. Humidity removal. Most brands get the 12 SEER rating with a larger outdoor coil, and the next size up air handler. The idea is to reduce load on the compressor, and it works. The longer run time will not cause your bills to go up, provided that the unit is installed correctly. Many, like the new Twin York, actually will have up to 75% fewer starts...and thats due to the longer run times. It benefits you in heat mode as well, and unless someones got something new I dont know about, (and we check weekly) they are the only ones advertising a HOT heat pump...as most people know a heat pump is designed to provide a constant heat...not the sudden hot blast from a gas or oil unit...the new units confuse even the inspectors here...they take a duct temp reading, and go....Its GAS right?? Nope...good old electric :)
Now..the MOST important thing is this...forget the name on the unit (unless its Goodman or Janitrol, then run) and look for an installing company that listens to you, and does what you want. The install is the most important part. All units are literally garbage till they are installed in the manner they are designed, and trust me, there is more than one way to install any of the units.....right way, kinda right, maybe right, and wrong. Make sure that the company is insured, and licenced. Without that, you have almost no fallback in case he bails, or does a very bad job, or just in general f*cks up. Make sure that if the electrical needs to be upgraded, that he provides his own electrican, or is licenced to do the electrical work, as in most states, it is illegal for the HVAC contractor to do anything but take the unit out...NOT make the final connections to the unit, or run new wire. Make sure that HE pulls the permits, and calls for inspections. IF they ask you to pull the permits, stop and find a new company right then. Make sure that you are getting a service contract included for at least 2 years after the installation at no cost. A legitimate company will offer this for a couple of reasons....one, it gets you used to the fact that the unit must be serviced at least one time a year, prefer 2X in this climate a bit farther south of you, and it allows them to get used to you and your habits with the unit. IF you are going to be using those damn 3M type Filtrete filters, make sure they know that up front, as they can create a hell ofa problem if the duct return is not sized correctly to compensate for the added restriction they cause.
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I replaced my 15 year old builder pos with a seer 14 Trane, I am in Gaithersburg, Md and my heat and cool bills dropped almost 100 a month, and the house is now comfortable.
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