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Heat Pump Recommendations, Trane and Other
Old 01-22-2018, 08:06 AM   #1
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Heat Pump Recommendations, Trane and Other

I know there are other threads about heat pumps, and I have read them. I just want to hear from the heat pump users out there their opinions on various brands. I currently have a Trane XE1000 which was installed in 1997. I have had zero problems with it until now. I think it will be a minor fix, like a sensor (I hope).

I have never even had a tech out to do anything at all to the unit, not even a so-called 'maintenance' checkup, since past experience shows that once a tech touches it, some other problem occurs a few months later. I have opened it up and cleaned out debris a few times, and make sure no piles of snow build up around it, that's all.

Anyway, I am wondering if the new Trane heat pumps are as reliable as the old ones. I'm not concerned with efficiency, just reliability. My search of the internet finds good and bad reviews for the same units from different users. Muddying the waters is the that apparently the installation process is very important to the proper functioning of any heat pump. Maybe the unhappy customers had poor installations. Or maybe not.

When it's time for a replacement, I wish I could just buy a brand new XE1000, and have the same company do the installation that did it before. But they don't make the Trane XE1000 anymore. The air handler, which is the indoor half of the heat pump, is the original, from 1986, and is still working fine. I just clean the fins off now and then. And change the filter.

So, any user experiences would be appreciated, even if your unit is not a Trane.


Thanks
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Old 01-22-2018, 08:24 AM   #2
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I have the Trane beat pump too in my lake house. It is starting to nickel and dime me needing refrigerant every 15 months. When low on refrigerent, it wi!l freeze up. It really needs an A coil. But part of the replacement cost is in freon--$160.

Any heat pump needs to be checked out at least every couple of years--even if not old. When the freon gets a little low, it will cost you more monthly to hear and cool and you won't even know it.

Now is when you need a good, honest HVAC man. You know, one you can trust for an objective opinion on your most cost effective options.
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Old 01-22-2018, 08:26 AM   #3
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I don't recall the model number, but we had a Trane heat pump installed when we built our house in 1998. I wouldn't call it an especially reliable unit as we had several service calls during the 11 years we owned it. The evaporator coil failed after 7 years (replaced under the 10 year warranty) and the compressor died after 11 years. Heat pumps get a lot of use in this part of the world as we run ours 10 months out of the year - most of that in the cooling mode.

We went with a lesser-known brand (Amana) when we replaced the entire system in 2010 and so far have had only one service call for a minor problem. Although I have no proof, I suspect the quality of installation does play a major factor in the longevity of these systems and would focus a lot of effort in vetting whoever you hire to replace your unit.
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Old 01-22-2018, 08:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bamaman View Post
I have the Trane beat pump too in my lake house. It is starting to nickel and dime me needing refrigerant every 15 months. When low on refrigerent, it wi!l freeze up. It really needs an A coil. But part of the replacement cost is in freon--$160.

Any heat pump needs to be checked out at least every couple of years--even if not old. When the freon gets a little low, it will cost you more monthly to hear and cool and you won't even know it.

Now is when you need a good, honest HVAC man. You know, one you can trust for an objective opinion on your most cost effective options.
Do you have the XE1000? Paying a couple hundred for a freon top-up every few years would be OK with me. I think I can trust my Trane service guy, but you never know, it's been 20 years since I used them and it might be under new management. But when I spoke with him a few days ago he sounded pretty straightforward and knowledgeable and low-pressure.
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Old 01-22-2018, 08:38 AM   #5
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My neighbor has a Trane and has had problems with it. I have a Lennox and only have problems when a tech comes out for inspections. I had one come out a year after i bought it to do one of those yearly inspections and he said my capacitor reading was on the edge of the specifications and he recommended i change it out. It was still under warranty for the parts but he charged me $200 for labor in which i timed him and it took him less than 10 min to change out (j&s air in tx). Then last year 6 years later i have Texas ace come out to do a yearly inspection and he said everything was good which surprised the hell out of me. Then later that evening i had a fog in the house and come to find out the Freon all leaked out into the house (coincidence?). I had them come back out and they said the evap coil was rusted out, which it was but i asked why they did not tell me that during the inspection and their response was "because we only insp the heating part not the cooling part". Turns out Lennox had a recall for the evap core as the metal was inferior but the recall was only good for 5 years so another $1k down the drain. Then after they repaired it the contractor did not speak english and did not test the system so when i went to turn the system on it did not work. I went up into the attic and found that he did not turn the circuit breaker back on the air handler. I also think he installed the wrong freon as the unit always seam to be running more than it did before. So my advice is dont buy a lennox and dont use J&S air or Texas ace.
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Old 01-22-2018, 08:46 AM   #6
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FWIW, Consumer Reports 2016 reader surveys on central AC units (not just heat pumps) show little difference in the most reliable brands (American Standard, Trane, Bryant, Lennox, Carrier, Amana). Two brands had scores significantly lower than the top manufacturers: York and Rheem.
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Old 01-22-2018, 08:53 AM   #7
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FWIW, Consumer Reports 2016 reader surveys on central AC units (not just heat pumps) show little difference in the most reliable brands (American Standard, Trane, Bryant, Lennox, Carrier, Amana). Two brands had scores significantly lower than the top manufacturers: York and Rheem.
Thanks! And I'll mention here just for info that my heat pump functions as an air conditioner in summer.
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Old 01-22-2018, 09:05 AM   #8
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And I'll mention here just for info that my heat pump functions as an air conditioner in summer.
In my part of the world my air conditioner functions as a heat pump in what we call winter.
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Old 01-22-2018, 10:19 AM   #9
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Replaced the original builder's grade AC/gas furnace with a Trane "high-efficiency" heat pump/gas backup in 2009, was able to upgrade to a heat pump thanks to federal tax credits.

Glad I picked the minimum (15 SEER) unit that qualified for those credits, because the higher efficiency (SEER 16+) heat pump design has had terrible reliability problems.

The "high hat" of the Trane unit does obstruct the view out a basement bedroom window.

In retrospect I should have picked the cheapest, minimum standard option.
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Old 01-22-2018, 10:45 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
FWIW, Consumer Reports 2016 reader surveys on central AC units (not just heat pumps) show little difference in the most reliable brands (American Standard, Trane, Bryant, Lennox, Carrier, Amana). Two brands had scores significantly lower than the top manufacturers: York and Rheem.
Last time I looked there are about 5 manufacturers of the 24 or so HVAC system brands. Trane and American Standard both have the same parent company (Ingersoil Rand). Another similarity most of these brands have in common, many of the components are made by the same 3d party manufacturers. Selection of a HVAC contractor you can depend on and that will stand by their work will pay lots of dividends in my opinion.
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Old 01-22-2018, 10:55 AM   #11
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From what I've observed, Trane tends to be the most expensive brand because they do the most advertising, no other reason. And even they have a fairly wide price range within the brand, depending on various factors like SEER. Quality of installation is key to any unit, as others have mentioned.
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Old 01-22-2018, 11:31 AM   #12
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Here is my two cents worth. I am a licensed mechanical engineer FWIW, and I have installed many heat pumps myself. My first home, which I designed and built in 1981 had a York HP. I was just learning, and it was poorly installed by a technician and failed in 1 year. Its all about the care in the install. I have learned quite a bit about these toys. I call them toys because the compressors I used in my w$#k cost >1 million. I know quite a bit about how these systems work. I personally have no problem with Amana/Goodman if you buy the right model. Things to look for include a separate suction accumulator and proper protection controls with both pressure and temperature sensors.

I had one failure recently. The thermal expansion valve on the indoor coil stuck due to contamination, this led to a compressor failure on a HP that did not have the suction accumulator and proper compressor protection controls.

BTW, the difference in wholesale price for a very good 18 SEER unit and a cheap 16 SEER unit is less than a few hundred bucks. Each brand has a cheap model, but if you step up to one with proper protective controls they will last a very long time. Most all of these now run on higher pressure due to the change to R410, and most all have good reliable scroll compressors (like Copeland). Some have cheap coil construction. Some have fancy coil fin designs which make claims to better heat transfer.

Bottom line is to make certain the air handler is sufficient and the coils are matched properly. I always go with a variable flow blower. They drive air flow to a proper cfm despite downstream duct losses or blockage.

The HVAC cartel is strong so its hard to get a straight answer from some tech selling a system but I know there is much to be saved buying a higher end model in a lower priced brand.
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Old 01-22-2018, 11:59 AM   #13
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Note that these groups of HP brands are owned by same parent:


Carrier, Bryant, Payne and Tempstar

Lennox, Ducane and Armstrong

Rheem and Ruud

Goodman, Amana and Janitrol

York, Coleman and Luxaire

Maytag, Westinghouse, Frigidaire and Kelvinator

Trane and American Standard

Maytag, Frigidaire and Tappan
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Old 01-22-2018, 03:10 PM   #14
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There are several places that sell directly to consumers so one can get an idea of how much the actual hardware costs and how much of a contractor's quote is profit and labor. https://hvacdirect.com/
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Old 01-23-2018, 11:01 AM   #15
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I have bought several from this one Buy Goodman Heat Pump | Geothermal Heat Pumps | Goodman Air Conditioner great customer service/support.
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Old 01-23-2018, 11:25 AM   #16
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I have bought several from this one Buy Goodman Heat Pump | Geothermal Heat Pumps | Goodman Air Conditioner great customer service/support.
I also bought from these guys. Got a 1 ton ductless mini-split for upstairs cooling and a 3 ton ductless mini-split for whole house heating downstairs. They also have a phone app so I can control units when away from home. (Mr Cool brand)
These units can be self installed, connecting hoses are sealed until connected.
They have been working great for 2 years now. When winter temps get real cold I have to turn on my pellet stove as the heat pumps don't put out enough heat.
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