First time home owner, replacing HVAC please advise

14 years ago

First time poster. Gotta say I love the site. I've spent hours reading through all the posts and I have done my homework as best I can. I would like to get some feedback on what system I have been quoted to see what you guys think. Forgive the long winded post but from what I have seen here, it's better to have the information up front.

I'm in the Tampa, FL area. High humidity, hot summers, almost year-round A/C use. I'm replacing a builder grade (3.5 ton, 10 SEER, 9 EER, 40000 BTU) Bryant solution. The existing is a single stage Air Handler, Gas Furnace, and outdoor compressor. I've been given a quote by a reputable (I think) HVAC company.

They said they do Manual J. I watched him while he was doing it and all he did was measure the window sizes and get the orientation of the house. He did not check the attic for insulation (he guessed R-19 which happened to be right), but he did not measure the SQ footage of each room so I know he has to be using some generalizations in the calculations. From what I could tell he uses a laminated "cheat sheet" that takes the base window measurements and assumes SQ foot based on a % and generates a heat load.

He came up with about 35000 BTUs. I asked about how much was latent and sensible, and I got a blank stare and an answer that he could not provide it. Odd that someone that says they've been dong this 8 years wouldn't be able to provide the values. I'm sure it has something to do with not doing a "real" man J.

Based on that figure, and without looking at the duct work, he gave me the following quotes, based on my preference of a xl series, R-22 and variable speed air handler (all 3.5 ton units):

Heat pump:



Gas Furnace:



TUD080R9V (I believe 80% eff gas furnace. Not so efficient but I am in FL after all)

And now, my questions:

Are the systems properly sized?

Does the air handler match the compressor?

Is there a better match to get higher EER and SEER ratings?

What are the SEER/EER/HSPF ratings?

The salesman really pushed switching to a heat pump. Assuming Florida climate, do most people in FL use heat pumps over gas? I know it comes down to economics of gas vs electricity but what is the general preference in FL? Electricity is relatively inexpensive.

I'm interested in getting the federal tax rebate if possible, but from what I can find none of the heat pumps for the 15i are listed as eligible -- which makes me think the SEER and EER ratings are not as good as the gas furnace solution.

Thermostat: I want to get a Honeywell Vision Pro IAQ. I have a 2 zone system, with a small zone upstairs in the loft. I also have to buy the trane stat to get the rebate. So, should I use the Honeywell Vision Pro IAQ as the main stat and put the trane stat in zone 2? Or should I just leave the stock trane stat that is in zone 2 (builder grade mind you) and have the new trane in zone 1 replaced with the Honeywell Vision Pro IAQ? I also want the stat to know the outside temperature, and use the fan whenever advantageous, and switch to A/C when eneded. Is this possible/advised?

Also, regarding the contract what should I get in writing? So for I have:

* Model #'s

* Man J #'s

* Written statement that equipement is sized according to Man S

* Written statement that ductwork is properly sized and will be resolved by the company if it is found to have issues

* Cost

Any and all help is very appreciated! As a first time home owner I need all the help I can get!

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