Three phase AC

I'm getting ready to install a new 5 ton compressor and handler in the house I'm renovating in New Orleans. When the contractor came out to evaluate the situation we discovered that the old units were Three phase 240 volt compressors. The electrical contractor seems to think that 3 phase units will cost a lot more but will save me money in the long haul. It's already wired for three phase so I will have to rewire if I change to single phase. The ac contractor said there probably won't be any significant savings running three phase equipment and I could only get up to 12 seer in three phase units. He's pricing both senarios so we can have some information to use for the decision. Does anyone have any suggestions or facts that might help me in making my decision.
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What is your power factor? Have you talked to the utility company?
There are a few factors here. Some electric utilities will assist you in installing more efficient equipment. You tell them I can buy a single phase SEER 10 unit for $9000, but the SEER 12 unit is $11,500. You may get a portion of that $2500 difference from them.
..Three phase will allow you to run smaller wires saving money on installation.
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

But you'll need more of them :)
hvacrmedic
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RP wrote:

But he's got existing equipment so it's already wired...
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3 phase units are normally considered commercial apps, and normally do cost a bit more initially, but not always. 14 SEER 208-240VAC 3Ph units are out there, and with the 13SEER ruling in effect Jan1, 2006, you can for sure find 13 SEER units already, but suggestion....in your area, higher SEER will not always mean cheaper to run. Moisture removal will be your highest priority, and unless your contractor is familiar with setting up the higher SEER equipment for this, you could prob save money with a 12 SEER and no higher unit. Its your home...how high of a SEER did you want? 14? 16? If you want to go say, 16 SEER and need to re-wire, you need to consider this...what is the cost savings, VS the initial outlay for the re-wire and equipment? Your contractor SHOULD be able to figure you out a cost savings spreadsheet and if he cant, then find another contractor. Licence requirements ini your area are spotty at best and any hack with a set of guages can call himself a contractor.
Get firm quotes on: Electrical re-wire. Equipment and labor, both in 3ph and single.
Then have your cost savings sheet in front of you and then determine if the extra $50 a year is worth the extra $$ for the rewire and keep in mind, average life expectancy of any new unit in that clime is about 12-14 years, tops.
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This is Turtle.
I'm a HVAC contractor in Louisiana.
If you can get a 12 seer in 3 phase , I would go that away for New Orleans and the very south has humidity to deal with. The 13 seer & up have trouble dealing with the humidity. Now like others have said maybe a veriable speed blower on the air handler. This would help deal with the Humidity problem.
Now Gulf States , CLECO, and other electric power companys in Louisiana have different rate cost for 3 phase service and is cheaper rate than single phase. You need to call you power supplier and ask about the 3 phase rates they have. If you don't ask about it they tell you anything when signing you up for regular rates. Check the 3 phase rates out.
TURTLE
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Not in your wildest dreams would I change from 3 phase to single phase.
http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/productdetail.jsp?xi=xi&ItemId12842239&ccitemThis is offered only as a place for you to poke around.
If your contractor comes back and the 3 phase is wildly higher call some more contractors. Most residential contractors do not deal with 3 phase and they are cautious to afraid of it. I am completely uninformed as to the Seer's of 3 phase equipment. I will say since they will draw less I would take 3 phase over a 20 Seer single phase anything. The cost of the electrical change over could be a lot of money depending on the situation. Keep calling until you get someone to put in the 3 phase you lucky dog..
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