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ArthritisDoc 10-06-2006 02:03 PM

Choosing replacemt home A/C heat pump
Need to replace 13 yo heatpump and air handler. I live near Tampa (Palm Harbor), FL.

How do I compare units from different companies. Is there data on reliability, etc? Are service policies for labor important? Do electronic air filters make a difference?

Is a 15.3 seer unit for $6000+ OK. or is a $10000, 18 seer unit going to be more robust (or more complated and require more service)? Do you think the cost of running the 18 seer unit will pay for itself in a few years or not worth the extra expense.

What if anything should be done about possible leaks or other problrems in the ducts?


glennjanie 10-06-2006 03:52 PM

Hello ArthritisDoc and Welcome to the Forum:
You could check with Consumer's Report to find fair, unbiased ratings. I think the 13 seer would be sufficient; the 18 seer would not pay for the difference in its econimic life.
Avoid service contracts like the plague, they are only good for the seller and if they are selling junk, I don't want their equipment or service.
Electronic air filters are good but there are too many high efficency filters out there without the electronic hassle. I have a Research Products corp Space Guard. It is a big, fanfold filter with a low micron rating (catches all the little stuff along with the big stuff). I am well pleased with it.
Yes, your ducts should be checked (possibly cleaned) checked for proper insulation and updated. Heat pumps depend on lots of air movement and leaks defeat that.
My heat pump is a Geo-Thermal unit; if you want to go to the best it probably won't cost any more than the 18 seer and the geo will pay for itself.

ArthritisDoc 10-08-2006 07:03 PM

Thanks for the info.
Consumer reports has little info on whole house units, just "window" units.
The ducts were cleaned last year. One major challenge is that two of the three returns are very high. Since we are on disability, someone needs to be hired to change the filters & good luck in FL. to find consistent, knowledgable help.

Will the Space Guard (now Aprilair) mqke a difference in how often the filters in the returns need to be changed?

glennjanie 10-09-2006 05:11 PM

Hey ArthritisDoc:
Yes, the Aprilaire will last for a full year. My home has only one return, so it is a big one and can hold the special filter. It sounds like you have several returns and that will not work with this systme.
You may want to do some networking with friends and aquaintances to find a reliable repairman. If you go to the Yellow Pages, look for a dealer that has Goodman or Janitrol ( Goodman is the parent company, Janitrol is one of their brands ) equipment. Other brands will cuss Janitrol but they are a privately owned company that can produce equipment for less and still have a full 10 year warranty on it. Its worth checking out.

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