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Old 06-26-2016, 11:06 AM   #81
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Yes, the new efficient models are much larger.



My new one and my old one. New is a bit larger (3.5 ton) than the old (3 ton) but you can see the new on is like 4X the volume.
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Old 06-26-2016, 12:32 PM   #82
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... Interestingly at my current house when I replaced the units they got taller but with a smaller footprint as instead of a distinct compartment for the compressor it was put in the middle of the empty space in the unit.
That might be the case for mine as well - I didn't measure the old one, but it definitely had the compressor/motor off to the side, where the new one has so much empty space in it, the compressor/motor are in the middle with lots of room to spare.

I put it on "circulate" mode last night, which keeps the fan running a minimum of 30 minutes an hour, and that kept the upstairs within a few degrees of downstairs. And it got cool outside last night, so the A/C barely ran. With our old system, that would have left the upstairs get hot. We would sometimes keep the fan ON continuous mode at night, but that would suck up some not insignificant amount electricity. I'll also try this new system with fan ON continuous at night - my understanding is the variable speed will run at an even lower speed, but enough to keep even temperatures, and not use much juice at all.

I hope to find wattage specs for the motor at these different speeds, but at some point, I'll probably plug in my Kill-a-Watt meter to see (I had them put a plug on the furnace, like my old one, so I could do that and plug it into my inverter in case of a long power outage).

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Old 06-26-2016, 12:57 PM   #83
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Consider a "whole house" attic fan. I put this one in the existing access. It's just sitting in there with stops so it can't move sideways and can be removed easily.



I just open the windows at night and leave it running all night. Come morning the house is the same temp as outdoors and I shut it down and close the windows.

Since I used the existing opening, I had to make a custom shutter frame and buy a new shutter.

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Old 06-26-2016, 02:15 PM   #84
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Consider a "whole house" attic fan. ...
I've considered them, they seem like a good idea. Always better to just move air than to move energy.

But it might not be that great in our climate. I'll try to note how many nights this season we could make use of a system like that. Often, if the day was warm and the night will be cool enough to open up, the night air is 'muggy/clammy'. So we might cool the house temperature wise, but then we are back to trying to bring the humidity down.

I'm going to guess that maybe 10 nights a year we would make good use of that system here. Probably not worth the cost of installation and run time, compared to our now high-efficiency air conditioner?

Sounds like a good investment for your climate though.

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Old 06-26-2016, 02:23 PM   #85
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Pops had one back in Michigan and it worked well. Especially good for 2 story homes where all the hot air rises. At least you start the day with a cool house and then AC later as the day heats up.

The other thing that just rocks is the fresh air. House doesn't smell "stuffy" anymore. And if you burn something in the kitchen or cook up something "stinky" it's easy to get rid of the smoke/smell.

Yeah, cheap too, about 150 watts -
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Old 06-27-2016, 06:27 AM   #86
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I thought about installing a whole house fan, but found that two 20" fans side by side in a 42" window and an open window on the other end of the house will cool down the house nicely as long as over night temps are 65 degrees. Of course, as temps rise, one needs to close the windows. If overnight temps are too warm, I just run the AC. This has worked for 25 years in this house in MI.


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Old 06-27-2016, 09:10 AM   #87
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If you have radon in the area - frequently found in Michigan regions and other states, Whole house fan is not recommended as it sucks up the radon into the house. Also, energy people do not recommend attic fan as it is usually a warm air loss in cold climate. That was what we were told when we had an energy audit performed. They recommended removing the whole house attic fan.
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Old 06-27-2016, 02:08 PM   #88
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Thanks for the info ERD50. I think I am not far behind with having to replace my Goodman (installed in 2007 - New home). I think it is 3 Ton unit, and probably need at least that, if not 3.5 Ton. Luckily, my neighbor across the street owns an HVAC company. Hoping for some good support in decision making.
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Old 06-27-2016, 02:20 PM   #89
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If you have radon in the area - frequently found in Michigan regions and other states, Whole house fan is not recommended as it sucks up the radon into the house.
This is not a problem if you open the windows and that is required for proper operation of the fan. You need at least as much open window area as the fan intake, more is better. If you don't open the windows all sorts of evil stuff happens as you pull vacuum on the whole house and draw air down places that were never designed for it like the fireplace flue and the furnace flue and kitchen and bath vents.

With windows open the house is constantly refreshed with outside air which exits the attic vents. There will be no more radon inside the house than there is in the outside air.
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Old 06-27-2016, 04:40 PM   #90
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The humidity in this area is very high, so I'm thinking the whole house fan would pull in more humidity.
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Old 06-27-2016, 04:51 PM   #91
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Pops had one back in Michigan and it worked well. Especially good for 2 story homes where all the hot air rises. At least you start the day with a cool house and then AC later as the day heats up.

The other thing that just rocks is the fresh air. House doesn't smell "stuffy" anymore. And if you burn something in the kitchen or cook up something "stinky" it's easy to get rid of the smoke/smell.

Yeah, cheap too, about 150 watts -
I grew up near Detroit and the whole house fan worked great, because it typically cools off into the 60s at night there. Open all the windows in the upstairs and it moves a lot of air. It would not work as well further south, for example in Southern Indiana, where it does not cool off as much. (Does not work to well those few nights when it does not cool off in MI also)
One metric is to look at what the dewpoints about 6 am are and if above 65 then likley it won't work to well.
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Old 06-27-2016, 04:52 PM   #92
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It will, no doubt about it. If you run it all night long the house will be almost the same temp and humidity as the outside air. The idea is you cool the whole house down for cheap at night and then shut it down in the morning and delay the turn on of the AC.

The good news is that cooler air holds less water (dew on grass in morning) and you start the day with cooler less humid air in the house.
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Old 06-27-2016, 05:14 PM   #93
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I first saw them in Kansas, and it worked well to cool the house down, and sometimes then switch if off and use the AC for the final cooling. This was in a 2 story house.

As for not being good in cold climates, we have one, and I build a styrofoam box to place over the top inside the attic, just used caulking to glue sheets of styrofoam.
Each spring I have to remember to remove the box and put it back each fall.

Now whole house fans come with insulation that folds off the top when you go to use it and returns when you don't use it.
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Old 06-27-2016, 06:58 PM   #94
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Whole house fans are not for everyone, but used appropriately in the right climate, they can greatly minimize AC usage, or make a house with no AC far more comfortable.
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Old 06-27-2016, 07:10 PM   #95
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Y
Just started playing with the connected apps. DW is already tired of hearing me talk about reported duty cycles, fan speeds, and humidity targets But she said she is very comfortable, so that's good.
-ERD50
Happy wife, Happy life... and all that. I would definitely be walking out of the room (or turning up the volume on the tv) if the conversation remained on duty cycles and fan speeds too much. LOL.

As for attic fans. We have one and use it a lot during the summer. We use it as Robbie describes - run it overnight then turn it off in the morning... then when the temps start rising in the morning, shut the windows to keep that cool relatively dry air inside. We'll use ceiling fans to move the air around inside, and create that "breeze" feeling. We're in a heat spell right now - and it's quite comfortable in our house.

Fortunately, we're close enough to the coast that we get marine layers and temperate temperatures most of the time... which is good because we don't have AC at all.
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Old 06-27-2016, 09:40 PM   #96
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Thanks for the info ERD50. I think I am not far behind with having to replace my Goodman (installed in 2007 - New home). I think it is 3 Ton unit, and probably need at least that, if not 3.5 Ton.
Your unit may be under warranty--Goodman AC units started coming with a 10 year warranty starting in January 2007 (more here), and they had a lifetime warranty on the compressor even before that. It might be limited to the original purchaser, I'm not sure.

Meanwhile, ERD50, thanks for NOTHING! You have jinxed my home AC . I came home from trip and found that my AC was barely keeping the house at 75 degrees when the temp was 90 outside--was running constantly and would not get the house any cooler than 75. It's a 22 year old 2 ton Lennox, 11+ SEER (maybe a bit more depending on the evap coil installed, I have to do a little more research). I may be in the market for a new unit, but first I'll have the maintenance guys out to give it a look. I really don't want to replace it, and hoped it would keep us cool for quite a while longer (I'm in southern Ohio, we do about 4 months of serious cooling per year). It's got a scroll compressor, and even if I buy a 14 or 16 SEER replacement I don't anticipate seeing any monumental decreases in our electric bills.
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Old 06-27-2016, 10:07 PM   #97
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Your unit may be under warranty--Goodman AC units started coming with a 10 year warranty starting in January 2007 (more here), and they had a lifetime warranty on the compressor even before that. It might be limited to the original purchaser, I'm not sure.

Meanwhile, ERD50, thanks for NOTHING! You have jinxed my home AC . I came home from trip and found that my AC was barely keeping the house at 75 degrees when the temp was 90 outside--was running constantly and would not get the house any cooler than 75. It's a 22 year old 2 ton Lennox, 11+ SEER (maybe a bit more depending on the evap coil installed, I have to do a little more research). I may be in the market for a new unit, but first I'll have the maintenance guys out to give it a look. I really don't want to replace it, and hoped it would keep us cool for quite a while longer (I'm in southern Ohio, we do about 4 months of serious cooling per year). It's got a scroll compressor, and even if I buy a 14 or 16 SEER replacement I don't anticipate seeing any monumental decreases in our electric bills.
You are aware that a unit that old likley uses R22 refrigerant and if there is a need for topping up it will cost an arm and a leg for the refrigerant. Any replacement will also mean replacing the indoor coil at the same time as R410a requires new indoor coils.
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Old 06-27-2016, 10:14 PM   #98
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You are aware that a unit that old likley uses R22 refrigerant and if there is a need for topping up it will cost an arm and a leg for the refrigerant. Any replacement will also mean replacing the indoor coil at the same time as R410a requires new indoor coils.
Yep, thanks. If I scrap my old unit, I wonder if I will get any meaningful credit for that now oh-so-precious R22. Somehow, I doubt it--I'll probably be charged for its removal, reprocessing and "disposal" (i.e. resale or venting). If so, well, I think I have at least one answer for that . . . .

It looks like the retail price for a Goodman 2 ton unit (single-stage, nothing fancy) is about $900, and the evap coil (for using R-410a) will run about another $275. I don't know yet what it will cost to have an HVAC tech connect the lines and do the sign-off if I do the physical installation, hook up the power, etc. I may also move the outside unit, which would require an additional line set for about $100 (plus my time and a few supplies to move the 220V connection).

Right now, I'd lean toward a SEER14 unit rather than the SEER 16 model. The SEER 16 model would require the additional purchase and installation of a $100 expansion valve (which is not an entirely trouble-free item), and a hard-start cpacitor kit (necessitated by the expansion valve). It also comes with all kinds of telemetry which might be fun (per ERD50s new hobby of monitoring the HVAC unit's activity), but I really don't want any extra "functionality" that can break and/or cause trouble. I just want a cool house with controlled humidity, and we're completely happy with a simple AC unit.
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Old 06-27-2016, 10:16 PM   #99
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...

Meanwhile, ERD50, thanks for NOTHING! You have jinxed my home AC . I came home from trip and found that my AC was barely keeping the house at 75 degrees when the temp was 90 outside--was running constantly and would not get the house any cooler than 75. It's a 22 year old 2 ton Lennox, 11+ SEER ... .
Oh no! I feel your pain!

Hope it can be fixed for cheap, but at age 22 it may be near end-of-life? At least you got to 75, but running 100% it probably won't be able to keep up for long, and is probably effectively about a SEER 3?

Now I'm curious what causes most AC to fail. I've got re-fridges and freezers that run 24/7/365 (at ~ 50% duty cycle) and are still going at 25 to 30 years old (and they are not energy hogs). Are the seals different? My freezer has been in the unheated garage, so environment not so different from outside. So an AC with far fewer hours on it annually (for us northerners at least) ought to last. Of course they are larger units, more power, more everything.

-ERD50
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Old 06-27-2016, 10:29 PM   #100
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Oh no! I feel your pain!

Hope it can be fixed for cheap, but at age 22 it may be near end-of-life? At least you got to 75, but running 100% it probably won't be able to keep up for long, and is probably effectively about a SEER 3?

Now I'm curious what causes most AC to fail. I've got re-fridges and freezers that run 24/7/365 (at ~ 50% duty cycle) and are still going at 25 to 30 years old (and they are not energy hogs). Are the seals different? My freezer has been in the unheated garage, so environment not so different from outside. So an AC with far fewer hours on it annually (for us northerners at least) ought to last. Of course they are larger units, more power, more everything.

-ERD50
One difference is that the fridges in general are not exposed to the weather. An unheated garage does in general not get precipitation and the like. Second the fridge system is sealed at the factory with welded joints thruout, whereas the lineset to outside unit and inside coil are just brazed.
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