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HVAC replacement: Trane, or Amana?


Joe Frickin' Friday

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Joe Frickin' Friday

We have been planning to replace our central A/C unit for a while now. I had two companies out to our house yesterday to provide quotes. Since the A/C and furnace are both original (house built in 1994), they both suggested replacing the furnace at the same time, claiming the average furnace life was 17-20 years. Sensible, since a furnace crap-out in the middle of winter would be a major problem, and there's a significant discount for rolling the two jobs into one.

 

So now I'm wondering about anybody's experience with a couple of brands. One company's quote says they would install Trane units, the other Amana.

 

What's anyone know about the reliability of either brand?

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Both are top line. Which one do you see more of in town.??

I have 2 Lenox units that are 3 years old and work well.

I'd suggest getting a maintenance contract that will cover beyond

the manufactures warranty. Mine cost $350.00 a year for 2 units.

I get 2 checkups a year and free filters for the smaller unit.

This is for10 years of coverage and I can cancel at any time. I may need a new ac line set as there is a small leak somewhere and they said it would be no charge for parts and labor. I also get free service calls nights or weekends.

Even better is Oklahoma Gas sends me a check for

$40.00 a unit just for having the fall check ups so that lowers the yearly cost. Such a deal. :thumbsup:

Check and see if you there are any rebates from your gas supplier for installing the more efficient unit.

Good luck. :wave:

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Joe Frickin' Friday
Check and see if you there are any rebates from your gas supplier for installing the more efficient unit.

Good luck. :wave:

 

There are. There's a rebate for the furnace, a rebate for the A/C, and another rebate for getting them both done at the same time. If I get the right units, the rebates add up to $1100.

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Firefight911

Mitch, you're a technically savvy person. IMO, either would be fine though I am much more familiar with Trane. Had one installed where we live two years ago. Had the whole unit replaced. Don't do it any other way.

 

Focus on SEER rating for the unit and size it appropriately for the square footage of your home. Ensure the ducting is up to snuff and have it inspected at the same time as replacement of HVAC.

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Joe Frickin' Friday

Furnace efficiency is pretty intuitive. If I'm comparing two furnaces that are 80% efficient and 96% efficient, the utility bills for the more efficient model will be 80/96 of the bills for the less efficient model.

 

The SEER unit is...less intuitive. I'm well-versed in thermodynamics, so I'm familiar with the concept of coefficient of performance, though it's been a long time since I put it to practical use. SEER is new to me, though I gather it's related to CoP.

 

Question: does the SEER concept exhibit the same proportionality as furnace efficiency? That is, if I'm comparing a 14 SEER model against a 16 SEER model, is the 16 SEER model going to give me utility bills that are 14/16 of the bills that I would get with the 14 SEER model?

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Mitch, I am surprised you did not look here. SEER WIKI I replaced my furnace and AC last fall. The deciding factor between the two very close systems was that one offered 5 years no interest. Yes it was essentially a credit card with a high interest rate but it is cut up and in a drawer and wll never be used

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Not sure if they are suitable for your area. Around here people go with ductless split heat pump systems. They are now efficient to 17 F, IIRC.

 

The advantages of zonal control and ductless operation are significant.

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Question: does the SEER concept exhibit the same proportionality as furnace efficiency? That is, if I'm comparing a 14 SEER model against a 16 SEER model, is the 16 SEER model going to give me utility bills that are 14/16 of the bills that I would get with the 14 SEER model?

 

Yes, in theory. As of January 1, 2015, the new energy standards require 14 SEER units in the south and southwest. I believe Michigan would still be 13 SEER, but check me on that. It always comes down to ROI for the higher SEER rating. 14 is the norm which everybody is producing so it's likely the best value. We often have home buyers wanting to upgrade to a 15 or 16 and the numbers usually don't work. I've seen numbers of $500ish per ton more for a 15. So if you have a 4 ton unit you need to make up $2000 or so during its life. If you average AC bill/month is $250 than you'll save $17/month or an ROI of 10 years (never mind the interest). It might work, just do the math.

 

The good news is back in the 90's, 8-11 SEER was predominant. So anything you get now should give you some decent savings on your power bill.

 

We have a Trane plant here in Clarksville. We've built a few homes for Trane employees. The office workers that work there always want a Trane because they get a discount. The line guys ask for any other brand but a Trane. Go figure. Its a crap shoot. We've had very good luck in the last few years with Lennox.

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I don't know enough of either to make any suggestions.

 

I'm not a fan of Trane's spine coil nor of microchannel coils for several reasons tho with today's higher SEER requirements these are more common.

 

I suggest you ask your questions over at HVAC-talk.com under the AOP (Ask Our Pro's) section.

Depending on their mood, you might get some decent input.

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A few years ago, we wanted to replace our HVAC. We contacted three of the local reputable dealers. One of the dealers that sold Trane, Carrier and Lennox stated that he wouldn't recommend Trane since their being acquired by Ingersoll-Rand as since that time, they've noticed the quality drop. He did push the Lennox brand above the Carrier.

 

In the end, we went with a Goodman setup. 16 SEER, 4" filters and variable speed handler. The units have been good to us and are extremely quiet.

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We just replaced a unit and we also had a long time Trane dealer suggest avoiding them, FWIW.

Good luck.

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Had an Amana and it lasted about 10 years. Just got a Trane and it is much quieter seems to be much better on electrical use and we will see how long it lasts.

We have two systems in our house (lucky us). The upstairs heat pump was also an Amana and it went out a few years ago. (making its life span about 6 years. We replaced it with a York which had a great sale on at the time. The sale with rebate and tax right off really worked for us. So far it seems to be a good unit.

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John Ranalletta

FWIW, we've had a Goodman heat pump unit operating satisfactory for 12" years. Lost a capacitor this summer post lightning strike in the vicinity.

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FWIW, we've had a Goodman heat pump unit operating satisfactory for 12" years. Lost a capacitor this summer post lightning strike in the vicinity.

 

I have three Goodmans at my house. Interestingly, they roll off the same line in Texas as the Amanas.

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We've had a couple of guys at work here in Connecticut go from Oil heat and Central Air to a heat pumps that are able to work efficiently several degrees below zero. I don't know brands or specific specs but could get them if they are of interest. Oil heat is pretty common here and VERY expensive compared to Natural Gas.

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I read (during the two upgrades) that government regulations changed somewhere around 2001. Ever since then the HVAC units are made to only last around 10 to 12 years. Granted it was years ago I read it so I am not even going to try and remember what regulations they were (probably fair trade and nothing to do with energy efficiency) but seems as though all the units we looked at only had a 10 year warranty. Maybe Goodman or Carrier are different.

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Stan Walker

Ever since then the HVAC units are made to only last around 10 to 12 years.

 

Discouraging!

 

I think I'll just keep my 28 year old unit. R-12 I do believe.....

 

It's probably not very power efficient as in expensive to run, but I only use it a few days a year. Just twice last year, not at all so far this year.

 

Stan

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I think I'll just keep my 28 year old unit. R-12 I do believe.....

 

 

Right up until it gets a little leak and needs a charge. R-12 is like gold these days. But then again, you probably got your money's worth out of 28 years of service.

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Ever since then the HVAC units are made to only last around 10 to 12 years.

 

Discouraging!

 

I think I'll just keep my 28 year old unit. R-12 I do believe.....

 

It's probably not very power efficient as in expensive to run, but I only use it a few days a year. Just twice last year, not at all so far this year.

 

Stan

 

No, that would be R-22.

 

My units older at 36 years!!!

I should upgrade considering I'm in the trade but it's the miles, not the age that counts.

I just can't justify the cost/usage ratio.

Coastal influence is a good thing as you know.

I'm just South of you in "Bunny" Valley :wave:

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Stan Walker

No, that would be R-22.

 

Your right, I went and looked. R-22. I don't have a supply of that just sitting around.

 

Bummer, I have most of a 20 pound container of R-12 on the shelf. Bought it when they announced the coming ban on production, before it got expensive. I still have one vehicle, a 92 Ford F150 that uses it. When that goes bye-bye I'll sell the remaining R-12.

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terryofperry
We've had a couple of guys at work here in Connecticut go from Oil heat and Central Air to a heat pumps that are able to work efficiently several degrees below zero. I don't know brands or specific specs but could get them if they are of interest. Oil heat is pretty common here and VERY expensive compared to Natural Gas.

 

Wow, did not know any heat pump would work below o°. Interesting.

 

Terry

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We've had a couple of guys at work here in Connecticut go from Oil heat and Central Air to a heat pumps that are able to work efficiently several degrees below zero. I don't know brands or specific specs but could get them if they are of interest. Oil heat is pretty common here and VERY expensive compared to Natural Gas.

 

Wow, did not know any heat pump would work below o°. Interesting.

 

Terry

 

Likely a "ground source heat pump" aka geothermal aka $$$$$. Standard heatpumps aren't efficient below 35*ish.

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We've had a couple of guys at work here in Connecticut go from Oil heat and Central Air to a heat pumps that are able to work efficiently several degrees below zero. I don't know brands or specific specs but could get them if they are of interest. Oil heat is pretty common here and VERY expensive compared to Natural Gas.

 

Wow, did not know any heat pump would work below o°. Interesting.

 

Terry

 

Likely a "ground source heat pump" aka geothermal aka $$$$$. Standard heatpumps aren't efficient below 35*ish.

 

These days mini splits will operate in very low ambients. Obviously not as efficiently as higher ambients but none the less they will operate.

 

 

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Firefight911
Mitch, you're a technically savvy person. IMO, either would be fine though I am much more familiar with Trane. Had one installed where we live two years ago. Had the whole unit replaced. Don't do it any other way.

 

Focus on SEER rating for the unit and size it appropriately for the square footage of your home. Ensure the ducting is up to snuff and have it inspected at the same time as replacement of HVAC.

 

Don't ask!!!!

 

I need to correct myself here. We installed a Lennox unit, not a Trane. Not sure what batch of bad Scotch I had the other day when I wrote this. Sorry for that! I was out looking at the back yard and happened to take a look at the unit and, well, there ya go.

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Whatever unit you purchase take the time to read up on and inspect the size of the copper line running between the indoor and outdoor components. Installers have been know to use a smaller size line to save money, a problem that is even more common now with the high price of copper.

 

An under-sized line will not allow the unit to attain the performance listed on its SEER rating.

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Joe Frickin' Friday

Got quotes from a couple of in-town contractors. One was reasonable, but didn't seem terribly professional; the quote was a pre-written thing with part numbers and prices written in by hand before she left our house. The other one emailed a more professional looking quote, but wanted about a million dollars for the job. Both had mixed reviews on the web.

 

Masako then found a third contractor from Trane's website in Northville, about 15 miles from here. They had great reviews on Google, and they smoked the other two on price. So we had them out on Wednesday for the install. All went pretty well. They came back out this morning to install the humidifier (it hadn't arrived on Wednesday). They did a tidy job, all looks good. New AC condenser is gigantic, but the compressor and its fan are much quieter than the old unit, so that's a win.

 

The fancy new thermostat reports a room temperature that's 3-4 degrees higher than the four other thermometers I have gathered nearby (one of which is our old Honeywell thermostat, which still has batteries in it). I asked the installer, and they insisted that the new thermostat was surely much more accurate than all of those other thermometers (despite the fact that all those other thermometers agreed with each other very well). Not sure what to do about that.

 

had the ducts sealed and that made a huge difference in air flow. How are yours.??

 

Last winter I spent a fair bit of time sealing the exposed sections of duct down in the basement, since they were dumping warm air down there where we don't need it (and presumably cold air in previous summers). I'm sure it's made a difference, but how much I couldn't say.

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... The fancy new thermostat reports a room temperature that's 3-4 degrees higher than the four other thermometers I have gathered nearby (one of which is our old Honeywell thermostat, which still has batteries in it). I asked the installer, and they insisted that the new thermostat was surely much more accurate than all of those other thermometers (despite the fact that all those other thermometers agreed with each other very well). Not sure what to do about that. ....

 

Look in the manual for the thermostat. There's probably a way to adjust the calibration. We had new heat pumps installed this past spring and both (we have two units) thermostats were off be a couple degrees, again compared to several other thermometers that otherwise agreed. I tweaked the new ones to agree. Just because they're expensive and digital doesn't mean they're accurate. Ours aren't the same as you have but I'll bet there's a way to adjust them.

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Joe Frickin' Friday
Look in the manual for the thermostat. There's probably a way to adjust the calibration.

 

Uh, wow. You're right. I looked through the installation guide (because the user's guide didn't mention anything like this), and sure enough, there's a temperature calibration buried in the menu by which you can adjust the reported temperature up or down by as much as five degrees either way.

 

Somebody 'splain me why this option even exists? I know some people set their clock five minutes fast because it somehow makes them get out of bed when they're supposed to, but why would you want your thermostat to tell you it's 80 when it's only 75?

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Look in the manual for the thermostat. There's probably a way to adjust the calibration.

 

Uh, wow. You're right. I looked through the installation guide (because the user's guide didn't mention anything like this), and sure enough, there's a temperature calibration buried in the menu by which you can adjust the reported temperature up or down by as much as five degrees either way.

 

Somebody 'splain me why this option even exists? I know some people set their clock five minutes fast because it somehow makes them get out of bed when they're supposed to, but why would you want your thermostat to tell you it's 80 when it's only 75?

Because it saves the manufacturer the calibration step in production. They just build it and ship it. The customer then sets the thermostat to what feels comfortable to them - most people don't care about the number shown, just whether or not they can sit watching the TV in their undies.

 

The calibration option allows engineers to be happy.

 

Andy

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Somebody 'splain me why this option even exists? I know some people set their clock five minutes fast because it somehow makes them get out of bed when they're supposed to, but why would you want your thermostat to tell you it's 80 when it's only 75?

 

So the thermostat shows a number your wife thinks is reasonable while the actual temperature is what you find comfortable. It's all a matter of perception. (Hide that manual)

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Joe Frickin' Friday
Because it saves the manufacturer the calibration step in production. They just build it and ship it. The customer then sets the thermostat to what feels comfortable to them - most people don't care about the number shown, just whether or not they can sit watching the TV in their undies.

 

Wow, that's disappointing. I suppose Masako and I have a warped perspective, since we both work in labs that spend a whole lot of money and time ensuring that equipment is calibrated to NIST-traceable standards, but having a temperature sensor for which the user can dial in an arbitrary offset makes it difficult to read recommendations for energy-saving temperature settings with a straight face.

 

smack.gif

 

On a related note, my car's nav system of course includes a clock that gets set by the GPS satellites, so it's accurate to within a fraction of a second. Buried in the menus is an option by which the user can dial in pretty much whatever time offset they want.

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since we both work in labs that spend a whole lot of money and time ensuring that equipment is calibrated to NIST-traceable standards,

 

So borrow a calibrated thermometer from your lab and take it home and set up your thermostat......

 

You will be happy, no one else will be offended (or even care), and we can move on to some other earth shattering problem! :)

 

By the way, I calibrated my thermostat and my weather station (inside and out) using a 0.1 degree C certified digital lab thermometer that I bought on the internet for not many dollars. Close enough for government work.

 

Stan

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What makes you think it's calibrated when it comes from the factory? They're not meant to be lab quality instruments, just close enough. There's always manufacturing variations...they probably use 5 or 10% tolerance parts anyway. At least there's a provision for you to dial it in closer if you want to. I have five or six thermometers around the house, including the old thermostats, and they all matched but the new thermostats were off by 2 or three deg so I set them to match the others. Are they accurate? I don't know but at least they all match now.

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All i care about is that the 3 digital clocks in the kitchen are in sync with each other, to the second... Of course i do that by carrying around my cheapo weather station with an internal atomic clock receiver.

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On a related note, my car's nav system of course includes a clock that gets set by the GPS satellites, so it's accurate to within a fraction of a second. Buried in the menus is an option by which the user can dial in pretty much whatever time offset they want.

 

That's so you can make adjustments when you visit weird places, like North Korea that now has its own Time Zone.

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