The most important concept to learn is that the quality of the installer
/ installation is the most critical determining factor in the
performance and reliability of a system. You can pick from the high-end
brands (Trane, A/S, Carrier) or the low-end (Goodman) and still get a
satisfactory system if it is designed and installed correctly.
Secondly, you need a heat gain / loss calculation ("Manual J") to
determine how big a system to get, and a duct / airflow calculation
("Manual D") to specify the duct layout. Don't even listen to
contractors who won't offer to do these two calculations, or who refer
to sizing in 'square feet per ton' or some other such nonsense.
For a good primer, spend some time reading the residential HVAC forum at
Heat pumps are used through out the Valley of the Sun. They work well for
cooling. Heating function is fine as long as the temps do not go below 40 F.
They do start diminishing on the heat cycle below 45 F. Same is true of
the cooling when the temp gets above 105 F. The design temp for heat pumps
used to be 92 F. I do not know if they have raised that since I am not
working on newer equipment any more.
The most important piece of the puzzle is the installer. 10 seer is 10 seer
no matter whether you by jana-junk (Goodman) or American Standard. ( or any
other manufactures that you want to substitute )
Placement of the condenser can be an issue. I would have the condenser in
the shade or not in direct view of the sun. Every little bit helps.
Scroll compressors cost more and are quieter. If they are looking for the
long run go scroll.
this site will let you play what if to an extent. Make sure that you use at
least 2000 cooling hours. Even if the map shows Phoenix in a area lower.
Cooling season can run from May to October.
We just put in a Trane dual-fuel heat pump in the Prescott area.
These use a natural gas furnace for backup rather than the
conventional heat strips. This gives you the best of both worlds.
The heat pump operates down to about 38F, then the natural gas takes
over. Gas heat is also used for the startup in the morning. In fact,
any time there is more than 1-1/2 degrees differential between the
thermostat setting and actual inside temperature. We have had it only
a week now (replaced a Day-Night gaspack), but so far we really like
it. My wife loves the more gentle heat of the heat pump for normal
heating. Will have to wait a while to test out the cooling. Should
be an improvement over the old 8-SEER gaspack.
It's supposedly cheaper to heat a home here with a heatpump than a gas
heater because the climate is so mild. Rheem/Ruud, Trane/American
Standard, and Goettl are good brands. Goettl is a local company that's
been in business for over 60 years, and apparently experts think that
they're well built and easy to work on, and I think Goettl still even
installs them. For a 4 ton unit, which is common for 2,000 sq. ft.
homes here, the cost for a rooftop packaged unit is roughly $3500, but
I found that the larger contractors usually charged the most, except
We just installed a Trane XL1200 dual-fuel heat pump. It uses natural
gas for 2nd stage heat instead of heat strips. Here in Arizona we can
opt for the timed electrical service (those on APS) which gives us
electricity at 4-cents per KH from 9:00 at night to 9:00 in the
morning weekdays, and all day on the weekends. Prime time power is
close to 12-cents per KH. We are also paying about $1 per therm for
natural gas. That means we can heat at night and weekends for the low
4-cents per KH using the heat pump instead of the expensive NG (and
going up all the time.) The natural gas is still there for warming up
in the morning, and taking over when the outside temp gets down to
around 38-degrees F. We have only had it for a week, but I will be
watching the operating cost very closely as compared to our old
gaspack which used NG exclusively for heating. Our NG bills in the
winter approached $200. We have a 2,200 sq. ft. house with excellent
insulation. Home built in 1991.
Watch out for the 500 sq ft per ton rule. That is a national installed
average, but does not substitute for a real load calculation. I have a
2000 sq ft house in hot, humid South Carolina with just a 2-ton unit.
I did a load calculation before installing. Size depends on how much
glass & insulation you have, not sq ft of house.
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