Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

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financial.freedom
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Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by financial.freedom » Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:39 pm

I obtained quotes for installing central AC for our house (2,400 sq ft one-level). Our area is temperate, so we would only use AC about 3-4 months out of the year and just during mid to late afternoon.

All three companies recommended a 5-ton condenser. But some quoted 14 SEER and others 16 SEER. The two companies we liked best quoted with two different brands (one Rheem and the other Trane). Any experience with either of these brands?

Thank you in advance!

livesoft
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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by livesoft » Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:42 pm

The house I bought and live in has two separate Trane A/C systems. One is now 23 years old and no problems*. The other subcumbed to a lightning strike about 10 years ago and was replaced with a similar unit.

I live in South Texas where these systems are used about 8 months out of the year.

*OK, a relay was replaced when a roach got fried in it.
Last edited by livesoft on Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Tycoon
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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by Tycoon » Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:44 pm

My Trane 16i died less than a year after it was installed. A common flaw with that model I later learned. I'll buy something else next time.
Appeal to Pity:When pity is envoked to support a statement | Appeal to Popular Sentiment:Appealing to unrelated prejudices and attitudes | Hasty Generalization:Too little evidence to support the conclusion

Nowizard
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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by Nowizard » Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:47 pm

The primary issue is not brand so much as the quality of the system. Ask what contractors use in spec homes and purchase at least one level above that.

Tim
Last edited by Nowizard on Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

financial.freedom
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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by financial.freedom » Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:48 pm

Tycoon wrote:My Trane 16i died less than a year after it was installed. A common flaw with that model I later learned. I'll buy something else next time.
Yikes, I just read the warranty for the Trane quote: Warranty: 6 year unit replacement, 12 Year functional parts, 12 Year on Compressor

I tried looking at Consumer Reports to compare the two, but they won't allow access without paying/signing up.

financial.freedom
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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by financial.freedom » Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:49 pm

Nowizard wrote:The primary issue is not brand so much as the quality of the system. Ask what contractors use in spec homes and purchase at least one level above that.

Tim
Not sure I understand, what is the quality?

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Tycoon
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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by Tycoon » Mon Mar 28, 2016 5:55 pm

financial.freedom wrote:
Tycoon wrote:My Trane 16i died less than a year after it was installed. A common flaw with that model I later learned. I'll buy something else next time.
Yikes, I just read the warranty for the Trane quote: Warranty: 6 year unit replacement, 12 Year functional parts, 12 Year on Compressor

I tried looking at Consumer Reports to compare the two, but they won't allow access without paying/signing up.
Yes, they replaced the air-handler on their nickel, the problem had to to with where the copper coolant line attached to the aluminum A-coil. I purchased a 10 year parts and labor warranty when it was installed. To date they've replaced the air-handler, an outside cooling fan, the air-handler blower, and some other electronic board (proprietary) for free. I worry that when they replaced the air-handler the coolant lines may have gotten contaminated and the life of the system will be cut short. The system is eight years old.

Edited to correct age of system.
Last edited by Tycoon on Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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blmarsha123
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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by blmarsha123 » Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:06 pm

Prior home, I went with a 14 SEER Rheem in a similar (to your) sized house with similar climate and usage characteristics, and was very happy. Current home, I went with a 16 SEER Goodman last year. Am very happy (so far).

My experience, the three most important things are: installation, installation, installation. Even more important than brand or spec's. Was once told that the key components of every major brand are designed and manufactured by (GE? Westinghouse?) ... don't remember, but you get the point.

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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by Meaty » Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:10 pm

financial.freedom wrote:I obtained quotes for installing central AC for our house (2,400 sq ft one-level). Our area is temperate, so we would only use AC about 3-4 months out of the year and just during mid to late afternoon.

All three companies recommended a 5-ton condenser. But some quoted 14 SEER and others 16 SEER. The two companies we liked best quoted with two different brands (one Rheem and the other Trane). Any experience with either of these brands?

Thank you in advance!
The brand is largely immaterial as the components are all made by the same suppliers (really - no difference). The important aspect is 1) SEER and 2) quality of install. SEER is a measure of efficiency. Higher SEER = more efficient. Quality of install is dependent on finding a good contractor
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Ninnie
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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by Ninnie » Mon Mar 28, 2016 7:27 pm

14 Seer is just above the legal minimum and the standards keep going up, I would not go that low. We installed a Carrier 16 Seer last summer and have been happy with the installation. Key word: installation. In our research, everyone said that who installs the unit, and the quality of their workmanship, is more important than name brand A versus B versus C.

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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by ultra2006mg » Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:41 pm

I was in the Ac business for about 40 years. Installed a lot of Rheem's in residential application's and good luck with them. Rheem's should be cheaper than Trane. As they stated above installation has a lot to do with it iand it is true that a lot of the components are made in the same factory.

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hand
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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by hand » Mon Mar 28, 2016 8:42 pm

While it sounds like you have gone thorough a reasonable process (three quotes) to determine sizing, 5 ton seems large for a 2400 sq ft house in my limited experience, though difficult to know for sure without knowing more about your location and your house.

Based on my research, there is a long tradition of installers oversizing A/C units to 1) eliminate risk of callbacks for insufficient cooling, 2) increase revenue.

Aside from a couple dollars out of your pocket, oversizing negatively affects your comfort by reducing the ability of the system to pull moisture out of the air and increased cycling reduces equipment life. In the mid-atlantic, I was really happy that I required our installer to downsize from 3.5 to 3 tons for a 2500 square foot (two story) house.

If you haven't had an installer perform a Manual J and reviewed the results, it is well worth your time to do so as your comfort and costs will be heavily defined by proper sizing.

JeffAL
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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by JeffAL » Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:28 pm

5 tons seems like too large of a unit. I'd guess closer to a 3 ton considering your moderate climate and sqft.

I found this site useful for doing your own manual j calc: http://www.loadcalc.net/

Saving$
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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by Saving$ » Mon Mar 28, 2016 9:45 pm

5 tons is to big for 2400 sf. The problem with having a unit that is too large is that it will make your house very cold very fast, which is a problem because that does not give the unit enough time to take the moisture out of the air to make the house comfortable. You want a smaller unit to run longer, so a sufficient quantity of air goes across the coils and dehumidifies.

I'm in over 1275 sf, and used to have a 2.5 ton unit. I did my own manual J calculation, which showed I needed a 1.5 ton unit. Of the three firms who quoted me, only one was willing to do a manual J and go with the results and provide a proper cost adjustment for the smaller unit. I ended up going with a 2 ton unit because the unit is in an unconditioned attic, which makes it work harder, and because the 1.5 ton is coupled with a furnace that was too small.

Instead of focusing on brand, ask the installers:
1. Will they do a manual J calc?
2. Will they reuse the existing duct or make any changes?
3. Are they willing to be bound by a blower door test when they are done?
4. Are they reusing the existing lineset? If so, what are they doing to make sure it is clean?

The biggest issues will be how the system is installed.

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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by atfish » Tue Mar 29, 2016 7:33 am

4 years ago we had a new Rheem heat pump installed. 18 months later the copper coil started leaking freon. The serviceman replaced the coil under warranty but we had to pay labor, $164.00. One week later a circuit board went bad and was also replaced under warranty but again we had to pay the labor (I forget the labor cost). Last week the new copper coil started leaking and we went through the same thing again but this time was replaced with a aluminum coil. Within days another circuit board went out and had to be replaced. After researching online have found out that Rheem has a class action lawsuit against them because of the flawed coils.

Before the Rheem unit was installed we had an American Standard unit that lasted over 15 years without a single service call.

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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by jonbois » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:19 am

I went with American standard believe I was told Goodman produces over 50% of the air conditioners, American standard being one of them. I have been very happy with it for over 10 years in the north central Texas climate. Installer has been in the business over 30 years and a good friend. Neighbor went with a Trane unit and has nothing but problems with it.

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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Tue Mar 29, 2016 10:25 am

FWIW American Standard and Trane were at the top of reliability ratings of over 34,000 surveyed customers, per Consumer Reports. Rheem was back in the middle of the pack.

I have two heat pumps, one a Trane, one an American Standard. Very happy with the products. Only one experience with other brand, Carrier. Not positive, at all. Some swear by Carrier, I swore at Carrier. :x

Broken Man 1999

According to Wilipedia, Trane and American Standard are owned by Ingersoll Rand, Goodman owned by Japanese company, Daikin Industries Ltd.
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financial.freedom
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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by financial.freedom » Tue Mar 29, 2016 2:06 pm

Thank you so much for the replies!

I appreciate the followup questions for the HVAC companies.

Also greatly appreciate the personal experiences and info from Consumer Reports.

The company with Trane is a better price quote, they have great reviews and they seem more thorough, so we'll probably go with them.

Wish us luck!

FF

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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by tomd37 » Tue Mar 29, 2016 3:37 pm

According to my long-time HVAC company owner, American Standard and Trane are virtually identical equipment being produced on the same production line and just ending up with a different label. I have used this HVAC company for twenty years and trust him implicitly.
Tom D.

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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by keystone » Tue Mar 29, 2016 3:43 pm

My house has a 23 year old Rheem that is still going strong. The last time I got maintenance on it, the technician said that Rheems last forever.

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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by unclescrooge » Tue Mar 29, 2016 3:50 pm

hand wrote:While it sounds like you have gone thorough a reasonable process (three quotes) to determine sizing, 5 ton seems large for a 2400 sq ft house in my limited experience, though difficult to know for sure without knowing more about your location and your house.

Based on my research, there is a long tradition of installers oversizing A/C units to 1) eliminate risk of callbacks for insufficient cooling, 2) increase revenue.

Aside from a couple dollars out of your pocket, oversizing negatively affects your comfort by reducing the ability of the system to pull moisture out of the air and increased cycling reduces equipment life. In the mid-atlantic, I was really happy that I required our installer to downsize from 3.5 to 3 tons for a 2500 square foot (two story) house.

If you haven't had an installer perform a Manual J and reviewed the results, it is well worth your time to do so as your comfort and costs will be heavily defined by proper sizing.
I live in Southern California, and I got 10 quotes. Only one of them performed a manual J test. Each and everyone suggested a 5 ton system on a 2,800 sq ft. I asked a couple on whether they need to do a Manual J, and they said there's no point - when it's 110 degrees outside you'll need the 5 ton system.

Incidentally the one that performed the manual J was the most expensive quote by 50%.

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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by SteveJ2 » Tue Mar 29, 2016 4:52 pm

I recently replaced my old system with a Trane XR15 and am satisfied - as others mentioned it appears that installation is a big deal. I got 3 estimates, which varied wildly - went with the middle one that seemed to be higher quality than the lowest one (still 30 percent less than max bid), and they have indeed followed up on installation (e.g., pressure readings can differ if installed in winter which means they may have to come back in the summer to recalibrate, which they did without complaint or cost).

Also, hvac-talk.com is a good source for info, just be aware they do not support DIY work.

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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by Saving$ » Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:11 pm

American Standard and Trane at least used to be exactly the same thing. 20+ years ago I bought an American Standard system. Had American Standard on the box, but the equipment inside the box was totally branded Trane. Not sure if they still do that...

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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by hand » Wed Mar 30, 2016 11:02 am

unclescrooge wrote:
hand wrote:While it sounds like you have gone thorough a reasonable process (three quotes) to determine sizing, 5 ton seems large for a 2400 sq ft house in my limited experience, though difficult to know for sure without knowing more about your location and your house.

Based on my research, there is a long tradition of installers oversizing A/C units to 1) eliminate risk of callbacks for insufficient cooling, 2) increase revenue.

Aside from a couple dollars out of your pocket, oversizing negatively affects your comfort by reducing the ability of the system to pull moisture out of the air and increased cycling reduces equipment life. In the mid-atlantic, I was really happy that I required our installer to downsize from 3.5 to 3 tons for a 2500 square foot (two story) house.

If you haven't had an installer perform a Manual J and reviewed the results, it is well worth your time to do so as your comfort and costs will be heavily defined by proper sizing.
I live in Southern California, and I got 10 quotes. Only one of them performed a manual J test. Each and everyone suggested a 5 ton system on a 2,800 sq ft. I asked a couple on whether they need to do a Manual J, and they said there's no point - when it's 110 degrees outside you'll need the 5 ton system.

Incidentally the one that performed the manual J was the most expensive quote by 50%.
I think there's a couple of issues at play here:

1) As it relates to the OP, if a 5 ton system is right for someone in SoCal with a 2,800 square foot house, it seems unlikely a 5 ton system is also right for the OP in a smaller house in a "temperate climate"

2) Unfortunately Manual J calculations don't appear to be as common in the industry as one would hope. Call me cynical, but I suspect this is because many residential installers would much rather save time on analysis, sell a bigger system, and eliminate risk of complaints due to "insufficient" cooling than take extra time and reduce revenue to maximize customer comfort by properly sizing the unit.

3) Poorly educated customers often prioritize max cooling capability over more difficult to understand concepts such as humidity control, even temperatures throughout the house, energy efficiency and equipment life. Furthermore, the negative impact of a truly undersized A/C unit is often overestimated and the negatives of an oversized unit underestimated. In reality an A/C unit undersized by 1/2 ton would likely only mean that on the hottest days of the year (<5 days a summer?), the house would be a couple degrees warmer than desired in the late afternoon (72 vs. 68?). On the flip side, an oversized A/C unit will run less during non extreme temperatures leaving the house more humid, temperatures more uneven within the house and the house less comfortable for the majority of the summer.

As a somewhat knowledgeable consumer, I received 3 quotes for A/C replacement, and not a single provider bothered with a Manual J, and all oversized based on the pre-existing A/C size and a basic understanding of the house size. Because of this, I performed a Manual J on my own (not terribly complicated on the website provided above), and went with the math / science rather than what the installer wanted to sell.

I've been very happy with the result.

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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by unclescrooge » Thu Apr 14, 2016 5:55 pm

hand wrote: As a somewhat knowledgeable consumer, I received 3 quotes for A/C replacement, and not a single provider bothered with a Manual J, and all oversized based on the pre-existing A/C size and a basic understanding of the house size. Because of this, I performed a Manual J on my own (not terribly complicated on the website provided above), and went with the math / science rather than what the installer wanted to sell.

I've been very happy with the result.
Don't you have to put in insulation factors for the walls? What numbers did you use?

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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by Fletch » Thu Apr 14, 2016 6:13 pm

My HVAC dealer for purchase, installation, and maintenance for years had sold both Trane and Carrier. I have been dealing with them for over 10 years and think they are very honest and reputable and do high quality work. In the past year or so, they stopped handling Trane. Said there were a lot of issues (I do not know what) with Trane that came about recently and now they only sell Carrier. I have a 2400 sq foot home in the mid-Atlantic area, two level. My HVAC is a 5 month old 4 ton Carrier Infinity 17 SEER AC and the furnace a Carrier Infinity 80,000 btu 5 stage variable speed. Works great, quiet and the house is comfortable.

... Fletch
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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by furnace » Thu Apr 14, 2016 6:20 pm

atfish wrote:4 years ago we had a new Rheem heat pump installed. 18 months later the copper coil started leaking freon. The serviceman replaced the coil under warranty but we had to pay labor, $164.00. One week later a circuit board went bad and was also replaced under warranty but again we had to pay the labor (I forget the labor cost). Last week the new copper coil started leaking and we went through the same thing again but this time was replaced with a aluminum coil. Within days another circuit board went out and had to be replaced. After researching online have found out that Rheem has a class action lawsuit against them because of the flawed coils.

Before the Rheem unit was installed we had an American Standard unit that lasted over 15 years without a single service call.
It's true. They don't make things like they used to any more. This goes for just about everything. You can pay a lot of money but it doesn't mean whatever you buy will last.

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wander
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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by wander » Thu Apr 14, 2016 6:29 pm

My HVAC guy recommended Trane. He told me that he rarely got called for service from Trane's owners.

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hand
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Re: Installing AC: Rheem vs. Trane (or other) system

Post by hand » Fri Apr 15, 2016 7:58 am

unclescrooge wrote:
hand wrote: As a somewhat knowledgeable consumer, I received 3 quotes for A/C replacement, and not a single provider bothered with a Manual J, and all oversized based on the pre-existing A/C size and a basic understanding of the house size. Because of this, I performed a Manual J on my own (not terribly complicated on the website provided above), and went with the math / science rather than what the installer wanted to sell.

I've been very happy with the result.
Don't you have to put in insulation factors for the walls? What numbers did you use?
From memory, I used some sort of educated guess regarding my walls based on construction and age of home... probably R10.

My sense of the calculator is that there aren't dramatic swings in output based on small changes to the inputs - R10, R15 and R5 walls likely yield similar results. Biggest impact is likely by tailoring the design temperatures to your needs, and understanding the results.

Bottom line - If you are willing to risk having your house a couple degrees warmer on the few sweltering days a year and to have it take a little longer to initially cool down, you are rewarded by lower humidity and better comfort 95% of the time as well as lower install costs and possibly lower operating costs. Most installers don't even give you this choice and oversize by default.

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