*** Heat pump recommendations

HI Folks,
A relative needs to replace a heat pump and I was wondering if people could either recommend a good manufacturer or steer us away from a problem one.
The current heat pump is a Tempstar 2.5 ton 10 SEER (model NHP030, I've been told). I've gotten two estimates so far, one for a Tempstar and the other for a Carrier. [Unfortunately, neither estimate included the exact model number of the units! I have to go back and have them specify exactly which model they will be installing.] I have taken a look online and, for now, am guessing that the Tempstar will be a SmartComfort 2000 and the Carrier will be a Comfort 10 Series but, as I've said, I will certainly get that spelled out exactly.
The prices are close enough ($2,200-2,300) to make the quality of the unit the deciding factor. The price seems reasonable given the bare price of the units but please let me know if it is way out of line.
I am leaning towards the Tempstar because the old one lasted over 15 years, but things change.
Can anyone give me some feedback on these two manufacturers? Are they basically of equivalent quality? I know that everyone has their own preferences and horror stories but I know nothing about heat pump manufacturers and would really appreciate any suggestions.
Thanks, Zag
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Zag wrote:

In general the quality of the installation is much more important than the brand of equipment. You should get a minimum of three bids from three different contractors.
Having said that it is true that HVAC manufacturers tend to segment their product lines. There are 'low end' manufacturers such as Goodman (Janitrol), 'mid end' such as United Technologies Carrier and ICP divisions (Heil, Comfortmaker, Arcoaire & Tempstar), and 'high end' such as American Standard (Trane) and Lennox. And many more. Of course each manufacturer also has "builders grade" products which tend to be at their own low end of the product line, and deluxe products which are at the high end. Both the units that you listed are lower end products. Your contractor should have told that that due to EPA requirements to increase the minimal SEER to 13 next year, manufacturers won't be able to make 10 SEER systems after January so you are getting some close out units and they should be priced accordingly. Assuming you need a significant amount of A/C and HP run time each year you should also consider a minimal 13 SEER system since your power bills will be 30% lower.
Now, back to the installing company. How did they know you need a 2.5T HP? Did they do a heat loss / heat gain calculation to see what size A/C load your home presents, and what size the auxiliary heat elements should be? What do they say when you ask about this? If the answer is "we size by your existing system" or "we size by square feet", find another contractor and get another bid.
Once you have tentatively settled on a contractor check with your state's business licensing department to make sure they are properly licensed and that they don't have any sanctions against them. Also check the BBB. If the contractor passes these screens then call your local municipality's building department and ask for a mechanical inspector that does HVAC installation inspections. Run the name of your selected contractor by him/her and get their reaction before you sign any contracts.
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Travis - I didn't write the question but it's nice to see such a rational response.
Curious about your view of YORK's high-end equipment?
Thanks
Bob
Zag wrote:

In general the quality of the installation is much more important than the brand of equipment. You should get a minimum of three bids from three different contractors.
Having said that it is true that HVAC manufacturers tend to segment their product lines. There are 'low end' manufacturers such as Goodman (Janitrol), 'mid end' such as United Technologies Carrier and ICP divisions (Heil, Comfortmaker, Arcoaire & Tempstar), and 'high end' such as American Standard (Trane) and Lennox. And many more. Of course each manufacturer also has "builders grade" products which tend to be at their own low end of the product line, and deluxe products which are at the high end. Both the units that you listed are lower end products. Your contractor should have told that that due to EPA requirements to increase the minimal SEER to 13 next year, manufacturers won't be able to make 10 SEER systems after January so you are getting some close out units and they should be priced accordingly. Assuming you need a significant amount of A/C and HP run time each year you should also consider a minimal 13 SEER system since your power bills will be 30% lower.
Now, back to the installing company. How did they know you need a 2.5T HP? Did they do a heat loss / heat gain calculation to see what size A/C load your home presents, and what size the auxiliary heat elements should be? What do they say when you ask about this? If the answer is "we size by your existing system" or "we size by square feet", find another contractor and get another bid.
Once you have tentatively settled on a contractor check with your state's business licensing department to make sure they are properly licensed and that they don't have any sanctions against them. Also check the BBB. If the contractor passes these screens then call your local municipality's building department and ask for a mechanical inspector that does HVAC installation inspections. Run the name of your selected contractor by him/her and get their reaction before you sign any contracts.
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Bob Alan wrote:

You mean the Affinity 8T? I don't have any personal experience but I have observed that homeowners like the color coordinated panels. Sorry I can't be of more help.
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The colored panels are now taking a back seat to the ACC panels. I put the UNC ones on a unit, put it on the website and now everyone wants them. The 8T is what you could call, getting it right. Sure...Im biased, I sell them, but then, i can sell whatever brand I want. What is really nice about them, other than the sound rating, (looking at it from a consumers standpoint) is that lifetime warranty, and the controls are more detailed as far as what happened, when it happened, why it happened, and whats wrong, should something go wrong. They are ALMOST foolproof to a tech. The Coleman end, is similar, priced identical, but you cant get the colored panels. Some people prefer the look of the Echilon series better than the Affinity. The Affinity end AHUs and furnaces are a hell of a lot nicer looking, and seem to perform better than the older FRP series AHU.
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Those Rheem/Ruud Puron units sure are quiet! They are used in the national competition for SkillsUSA (www.skillsusa.org) in Kansas City and having several running side-by-side, one can hardly hear them!
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Seems to be a trend towards use of larger diameter fans, running at slower rpm's.
--
SVL





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PrecisionMechanical wrote:

Same theory behind the turbo-prop on airliners -- it's more efficient in terms of kw/cfm. I worked on an old Rheem the other day that had two 1/10th HP 825 RPM motors, .7 amps apiece. About half the total amp draw of a standard single fan motor on the same size unit, and providing more cfm on average too. Too bad both motors were locked up. The overtime repair bill substantially cut into any savings that the unit provided. There are so many factors involved in the calculation of net savings over the useful life of one unit over another that a homeowner would be well advised to do their own homework. Caveat Emptor. The savings of a geo vs. air-source runs zero to negative in the south, over the life of the unit. I read a field study but the bookmark left with my old Gateway. I'm sporting a new Dell since Xmas. Dooood! :) I've had my nose buried in Myst IV since the change. The old PC wouldn't play it.
hvacrmedic
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I think all the higher end units are running quieter.
Im just not impressed with a company that sells out to the Chinese..even if its indirectly. How did that work? Rheem sells out to a Japanse company that is owned by a Chinese company..err...government run organization. Rheem is owned by Paloma, a Japanese privately owned water heater company, and (someone broke it down one time...cant find it now) somehow or another, a large part of the "privately held" group that owns them, is chinese.
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Hi Travis
In an earlier note you ranked producers as
'low end' Goodman 'mid end' United Technologies, Carrier, ICP 'high end' American Standard, Lennox
I know in the past York was definitely 'high-end'. Just curious if their Stealth & Latitude products are still built to last decades.
Bob
Bob Alan wrote:

You mean the Affinity 8T? I don't have any personal experience but I have observed that homeowners like the color coordinated panels. Sorry I can't be of more help.
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Thanks for the update about the Affinity. Am I correct that the Affinity uses a single 2 stage scroll compressor?
Reason I ask - in their description it says . Protected Compressors - Each compressor is protected against high and low pressure as well as excessive temperature.
Wonder why they're using plural

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We can't see it from here. You need to get a professional to advise you.
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Oscar_Lives wrote:

opinion not a diagnosis.
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OK.
Opinion: You need a professional to look it over. Don't waste time with guesses from the internet.
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Its not so much the brand name, but the quality of the installation and set-up that makes or breaks a system

Cheap low end 10 SEER stuff... The installers with those low prices got to be cutting some serious corners. Who did the engineering to correctly size the system for your home?? (rule of thumb and sqft don't count). I just quoted a 3 ton 10 SEER Rheem heat pump system change out(ripping out a propane furnace and straight a/c) for $3,900 plus sales tax. The same customer also got a quote for a new 13 SEER heat pump system that came in at $5,950 plus sales tax.

The prices you got quoted are not even close.... Talk to Trane, American Standard, Rheem, or RUUD dealers... you will get better quality equipment, and most probably a whole lot better installation. You can get it done *cheap*, or you can get it done right. BTW... Did the contractors mention anything about permits and inspections?? If not, definately look elsewhere.

Yes they do.

Check Consumer Reports for specific brand names and how they rate.

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I had a Magic Chef (now Armstrong) heat pump replaced in April. I had 4 bids. I chose Home Depot because they came in $1100 less than the next lower bid. Home Depot did the job for $5900. The other bids were $7000, $7250 and $7700. All were for Trane 14i systems. Plus, only HD had a 10 year warrantee on everything but filter replacement. The HD system also included a Spaceguard filter and a condensate pump, not included in any other bid. Service Today is the company that Home Depot has doing their work here in Delaware. They did an exceptional job. The system has run flawlessly and I notice a significant savings in my electric bill.
Good luck.
Frank

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