new furnace-variable speed carrier or standard rheem?

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In your opinions, what are your thoughts on (regarding a furnace and central air conditioner):
Rheem Weather King 80% (Not a variable speed) and a 2.5 ton Rheem AC unit vs. Carrier WeatherMaker 58CVA , also 80% (Variable Speed) and 3 ton Carrier 38TKB AC unit
I have to choose between the two for my house and I don't know which to go with. I don't have any information on either of the two installers that would help me pick which one was a better installer...both are personally involved with the installation.
The second quote was more money than first, given it's a variable speed furnace and a slightly bigger AC.
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Another key consideration is warranty and repair cost. I've seen many reports that indicate that variable speed DC motors are prone to much more frequent failure. There is not only the motor but the power control circuitry that can fail and to replace either costs a lot more than a std motor.
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The instaler and getting a written load calculation are the most inportant as it is so easy for an installer to oversize you. Larger units cost more, oversize and you wont remove humidity and heat to quickly-unevenly. 80% is for areas that don`t have heat as a main portion of their bill as Carrier has furnaces that are 16% more efficient. Are you sure the Carrier is a VS motor and not 2 speed. You did not say where you live and realy need more than 2 bids and a load calculation.
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10 yr warrantys are usualy offered. A must with VS DC. Although GE redesigned the VS motor a few years ago moving the electronics outboard so hopefully they now last. With the power you save and low fan dehumidification they are worth it and you get maybe a 6 yr payback in electrical costs.
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I've seen many reports that indicate that variable speed DC motors are prone to much more frequent failure. There is not only the motor but the power control circuitry that can fail and to replace either costs a lot more than a std motor.
The motor it self rarely fails. Most often it is the electronic module that mounts on the motor that fails. Most manufacturers now sell the module separately as a repair part. We usually just change the module. It is faster than replacing a standard motor, so the labor cost is lower. Even if the module costs more the total cost is about even. The variable speed motor ramps up to speed more slowly than a standard motor, so you don't notice a blast of air when it starts. If it is set to enhanced mode it dehumidifies better. It is also quieter and more efficient. I would recommend a variable speed blower on most installations.
However, I question why the Carrier dealer bid a larger unit. I hope he did a load calculation. If he just bid by the 500 sq ft per ton rule, the benefits of variable speed will be lost. Did he just measure floor area or did he also measure walls, windows, doors, etc. Did he check insulation levels. If he did not, then chuck his bid and get another opinion. Depending on where you live, I would question why the Rheem guy only bid an 80% furnace. If you are in a cooling dominated climate he needs to bid hiugh efficiency A/C. If you are in a heating dominated climate, he should bid a high efficiency furnace. The only time I would want both units to be standard efficiency is in a very mild climate that uses very little heating or AC.
Stretch
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WhyKnot
Please send me your email address with spaces around the "dot" and @ sign. normal email addresses are partly blanked for some reason. I will send you some articles by return email explaining much that you should know. If you want a high efficiency filter for your child, the VS will help overcome the high resistance / high efficiency filter. These articles are several pages long with pictures, too big to post here.
Stretch Kevin O'Neillsixfoot7 @ Sccoast . net President O'Neill-Bagwell Cooling & Heating Myrtle Beach, SC 843-385-2220
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WhyKnot
Personally, I see and sell more Carrier than Rheem, But I feel they are roughly equal in quality. Carrier will sell the VS motor module for about $65 to $100 depending on the size. Not much more than a standard motor. Thew last time I changed one the total cost, parts and labor, was about $200.00.
As for duct cleaning, most of the time it is a scam. If you have bare sheet metal ducts, it might help. If you have ductboard or lined metal, then skip it.
High efficiency filters can help, but the media filters can have a high resistance to air flow in certain sizes, especially the 1" thick
AprilAire/SpaceGuard has low resistance in 2.5 ton range, I like them because low pressure drop and high efficiency. If you go with the Rheem, get a AprilAire installed in the duct.
If the ducts are leaky, high efficiency filters and UV lights won't do much good because the infiltration will overpower the filters and UV.
Stretch
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Tell a few contractors to give you a load calculation in writing. or everything may be oversized, over size AC and you won`t remove much humidity,you say humidity removal is important. I would not install an 80% or 10 or 12 seer in your area, but a 93+ and 14 seer or more. VS DC run with a hunidistat-thermostat will remove the most moisture. A VS DC can remove twice the hunidity as non VS DC but get a 10 yr warranty. You have to research this as there are more option offered than ever before. If you have the $ research, you have not been shown the high efficiency equipment, or air filters and other options offered. Since there is a health issue here what you pick may make a big difference. You say you don`t have the time to research, but done wrong or not finding all options you could of had and you just will have to live with it.
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WhyKnot wrote:

Don't worry about which equipment worry about "I don't have any information on either of the two installers"
The installer and how well they do their job is far more important than the hardware. Find out more about who is going to install your equipment. They can make the best hardware work poorly and a good installer will not advise you get a poor system.
--
Joseph Meehan

Dia\'s Muire duit
  Click to see the full signature.
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so
Actually, hes got a point, but furgettaboughit. Yea.I know thats spelled wrong...LOL Southern accent ya know...

I
small
Yes...some would argue incorrectly that the other one was... Your asking for free advice, so you get, what you get in Usenet.

Carrier
58CVA
Personally, I dont deal with the Chinese when possible, so I stopped selling Rheem/Ruud when my local supplier had them on sale. I dont like companies that have a history of knowinly using customers as guinnia pigs, so that eliminates Carrier. However...
Based upon the two you have here, simply based upon service information, its a no brainer...you would overall prefer to go with the Rheem unit, as most of the parts are not as propriatary as the Carrier, and should the fan motor in the Carrier die out of warranty, its going to cost an arm and a leg..possibly in the $800 range if that one is like some that you have to replace the controller with it.

You will hear alot about returns high, supplies low, cold air falls, hot air rises..etc..
Fact is, the system wont care, provided that you have a properly designed duct system, and the duct system is designed to the new unit. The installers MUST do a manual D to insure that the ducts you have are ok with the new system. Ducts are NOT something else with the central air system, they are part of the system....meaning, just because you are getting some new parts added, you are not getting the entire system...the ductwork is PART of the entire system, and it all must match to work properly.

additional
Up to 90% of the time...sure is. If the ducts are that dirty, if they are metal, perhaps cleaning them is an option..if they are fiberglass insulated on the inside, or ductboard or flex, then replacement is the only real option.

Nope...maybe...depends on the current setup....something we cant see from here. If it matters, as an example, in the deserts of SoCal we used to due to inherent design flaws in the construction of the homes, either have to install everything in the floor, or in the ceiling of some two story apartments....when the systems were up and running, you could not tell where the returns and supply ducts were. It boils back down to things we cant see from here.

and
installation
All equipment is junk, its the installer that makes it work like it should. The installation makes it good units, or bad units.
Did anyone talk to you about adding UV-C band lamps to the system to insure that you are getting the most bang for you buck with the added filtration?

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On 10 Apr 2005 05:25:18 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

Exactly why we opted for the regular continuous fan instead of the variable; cheaper all around, and the energy savings from the variable speed wasn't worth the risk of failure and subsequent repair/replacement costs.
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OK, let me defend myself (and thank you, your advice is good and I seriously am learning more on these ng's than from all FIVE quotes I had, and I've went with at least 3 very reputable long-time companies in the city)
1 - Cross posting is supposed to be poor etiquette. I came to this group because I was told to by the HVAC group right off the bat not a place a homeowner post asking questions to that group. So I posted to this group, where that person told me to go. However, someone was nice enough to reply on the HVAC group and told me without seeing the job he just couldn't answer some of the questions. Fair enough. So, I thought I could try and give details here, but without seeing the job, I was just likely filling just up space on the ng with useless info that wouldn't be helpful and also wasn't sure what sort of audience is on this group. I honestly thought this might be just a bunch of other homeowners with lots of personal war stories and not professionals who could help me. Who knew? I misjudged. So I made my question here short and simple.
2- We live between near Rochester NY. We have long, snowy winters and the average humidity all year long is above 50-60%. Average low temps in Jan is in the mid teens, Average high temps in July-Aug is in the high 70's to low 80's. Average morning humidity in the summer is around 88%. The heat and humidity is a real health problem for my child who has a serious medical condition and ends up in the hospital because of this problem frequently.
3- I need to have this job done quickly. I've been getting quotes for a couple weeks. I've check the Better Business Bureau site for any info on these guys (all are in good standing), no one I ask seems to know anyone in the HVAC business...everyone I know used the big businesses for their HVAC and those are two for the quotes I got; all I can do is take the references of the independent guys (and are they going to give me bad ones?).
4- They all told me the furnace I have to way too big, and they are all downsizing me more appropriately. The only difference is in sizes is the last quote we had from the Carrier fellow who wants to go with a bigger AC (3 ton 10 SEER and the others all are saying a 2.5 ton 12 SEER). And for that person who asked, the Carrier furnace booklet says variable speed, nothing about 2 speed.
5- I am the type of person who usually researches everything to death before I do something. I just can't with this. That's why I'm turning to the generosity and helpfulness of you good folks in hopes I can get some guidance here. As I said, I need to make a fast decision on this and I just don't have time to research it. Without any feedback, I'm just going to have to pick one anyway, so there's no harm in asking for a few opinions, right?
I do appreciate your help and advice.
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I did know I shouldn't have posted my questions to the "alt.hvac" group, so below is the SAME post I had there on that group. I cut and pasted it here...sorry about that....this the full story:
Is this a newsgroup where a homeowner can ask a recommendation on a furnace/AC and on Duct cleaning (is it a scam)? My head is spinning after I had 5 estimates done (2 from big companies, 3 from small, local ones) and they were all so different and contradicting in what they advised that I'm left very confused with what is right. I'm down to two guys who own small local businesses.
One gave us a quote on a Rheem Weather King 80% and 2.5 ton AC and told us to stay away from the variable speed, the other gave us a quote on a Carrier Weathermaker 58CVA 80% variable speed furnace and a 3 ton AC (Weathermaker 38TKB). From what I was told, an air cleaner comes with the Carrier 58CVA and we'd have to buy the media air cleaner extra with the Rheem, which is not a big deal, we'd buy that. The difference between the Rheem quote and the Carrier is about $1400 more for the Carrier when all is said and done, but I think the Carrier guy is doing a little more work.
Here are some things that might make a difference, I don't know....The Carrier guy mentioned we'd need to put in cold air returns higher on the walls upstairs (the ones we have on the second floor are near the ground) and he told us duct cleaning is not worth the money, when we asked about having that done. Feels that's a bit of a scam and the ducts will get as cleaned as they need to be when they do this installation and position the furnace, etc. The Rheem guy didn't mention those things.
Is duct cleaning a scam? I have no idea and am about to drop an additional $400 on that if I go with any one of the other guys the Carrier one who thinks it is a scam.
Do we need air returns higher on the walls upstairs on the second story to make AC more effective?
Both guys seem to know their business, both come recommended by friends and have no bad reports with the BBB....and I have little else to know what to base this all on. Both have been in business for many years and I think will stand behind their work and are personally involved in the installation of the units. How do I go about picking? Which equipment is better?
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We live near Rochester NY. We have long, snowy winters and the average humidity all year long is usually above 50-60%. Average low temps in Jan is in the mid teens and the heat goes on sometime in October and stays on through April. Average high temps in July-Aug is in the high 70's to low 80's. Average morning humidity in the summer is around 88%. Our family is not very tolerant of the heat in summer because of a special medical condition. I anticipate the AC will get a workout.

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God, I'm going to get myself in deeper by the minute. I meant to say I DIDN'T know I shouldn't have posted to the other group.... can you see why I need help with life???? too much going on!
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: : The second quote was more money than first, given it's a variable speed : furnace and a slightly bigger AC. : :
Well what size do you need and why do the 2 installers differ on the size requirement? we need way more info what is the weather like where you live utility costs? why the 80% furnace? which installer has a better record? why do you have such a limited choice?
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sorry about my previous post. I didnt read enough before I clicked send. Goodman is made in Texas, USA. And a 10 year parts & labor extended warranty is only 200 bucks per unit. You other guys can say what you want but Goodman is still the best bang for your buck. The only problem I've seen in the last couple years of doing paperwork for a HVAC company is the hot surface ignitors in the furnaces. They are supposed to be fixing that problem. Pretty soon there will be no more 10 seer A/C equipment made. It costs way more to run cheap equipment. You could almost get a 13 or 14 seer system from Goodman for the difference between your 2 quotes. You mention c/a returns. I believe they are vital to efficient cooling. The installer that suggested those is probly a little more on the ball than the other one. A cold air return shouldn't cost you more than a couple hundred bucks each if it is a clear run. Like evertbody else said, it's the installer who matters.
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This is Turtle.
I would not use Goodman outside Units [ condenser units ] unless it was 12 seer or above. all 12 seer and above come with scroll compressors and below SEERs does not. If you really got a pin point questions. E-mail or ask.
TURTLE
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I'm reading what I can online today. Finding lots of manufacturer sponsored sites, so getting a slanted view and not any clearer thoughts. I tried doing this online reading a few weeks ago and found it just as confusing. Went ahead with the quotes hoping I'd learn more from the contractors as I went along (which I did...I learned it was just as confusing as what I saw online).
Some of the reading I'm doing is saying a variable speed furnace will help the AC work more efficiently and hence, I won't need as high a SEER rating? Am I interpreting that right? But I'm also interpreting that I have to have the proper ductwork for a variable speed to work correctly, so I might be better off with a standard furnace like we have now.
We are on a very limited budget. I'd love to get the higher efficiency options, but we can't afford the options, so we have to stay with the lower cost options I'm looking at now and go with what we can do at this time. Can't afford to get new ductwork and so far, not one of the five estimates have mentioned that to us (beyond putting the cold air returns high on the walls on the second floor). We HAVE to get the AC (for those health issues). This job has to be done soon and I have to decide on who does it in the next couple days, by the end of this coming week at the latest. Not optimal, I know, but this is how it is. People on the ng can say what they will about this, but this is the way it is. Anything we have installed has to be better than what we're living with now, so that's one way to look at it...unless it ends up breaking down and being a repair nightmare. And that's the chance I have to take regardless of how much researching I do or don't do.
No one except one guy, has mentioned the UV light thing, I suspect because of our budget constraints. The one quote that did include it was over $7800. WAY out of our price range. Again, can only do what I have the money to do and trying to get the best I can with what money I have. I haven't pushed the UV, having read about it, knowing we can't afford any frills. So I haven't even asked for this option. I'm telling the contractors before they even come here, so as to not waste their time if they sense I'm asking for something they don't want to do, that we're on a tight budget. Not sure why the guy with the Lexus even bothered coming to give us the $7800 plus quote.

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On Sun, 10 Apr 2005 14:35:32 GMT, "WhyKnot"

OK, I also live in Rochester, NY, and 2 years ago I put in a York Diamond 95 2-stage gas furnace with a Honeywell humidifier and a split system air conditioner in my 1930 house. We didn't put in the variable speed fan for reasons I stated in a different post, but if you can get the 10-year warranty mentioned by another poster, that might be worth investigating. We've been very pleased with the system, installed by Betlem Residential (Van Hee installs the same system for the same price, and we went with Betlem for the free 9-month financing only because we had just bought the house and were cash poor at the time).
I wanted York because it's still a U.S.-made product and can be serviced by various companies around town. I didn't want Rheem because I'd heard from too many people of problems with their systems. I also didn't want Trane or Carrier or Lennox because of price and over-complexity. Don't mess with any Amana dealers because that brand is proprietary, another reason I didn't buy it.
I also disliked Isaac Heating and Cooling because of their dubious advertising methods. So, I suggest you talk to Betlem Residential, Van Hee, and John Betlem (the two Betlems had a falling out, and both companies are good).
Don't waste your $$ on duct cleaning. If you can sweep out stuff yourself, fine, but really, don't pay anyone for that.
Just my experience and $.02. Hope it helps.
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