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Comfort Specialist
Comfort Specialist, Designer, Estimator & Technician
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 1319
Experience:  Master HVAC & Gas, Air Balance, LG Master Commissioner, University of North Carolina Certificate holder for Industrial Ventilation Design.
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Does a variable speed air handler worth the extra expense if

Resolved Question:

Does a variable speed air handler worth the extra expense if my house is a two-story + basement and my duct system is NOT zoned?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: HVAC
Expert:  Comfort Specialist replied 2 years ago.

Wvfan79 :

Hello there! I'm Norman but you can call me Norm. Let's see what I can do to get you some answers today. I'm ready to get started whenever you are.

Wvfan79 :

You have asked a very good question and I'd like to point out the benefits first.

Wvfan79 :

  1. Variable speed motors can cost less to operate because they usually run in low speed, unlike single speed systems which run in “high” 100% of the time.

Wvfan79 :

2. Because variable speed air handlers ramp gradually from low speed to high speed, there is no big blast of air from the vents. When the blower starts it can be difficult to even tell when the system is actually turned on.

Wvfan79 :

3. Variable speed blowers are much quieter than conventional fixed speed blowers.

Wvfan79 :

4. Variable speed air handlers remove more humidity from the air which allows for better comfort at higher thermostatic setpoints.

Wvfan79 :

This all points to quite, efficient, comfortable and effective.

Wvfan79 :

As a bonus variable speed blowers can overcome duct design issues to deliver air to the space better.

Wvfan79 :

My main con is that if you have duct leaks it will amplify the leaks in the system.

Wvfan79 :

I advise my customers to invest in variable speed because of the minimal upgrade cost.

Wvfan79 :

Sometimes variable speed blowers matched with certain outdoor condensers can achieve higher system efficiency as well.

Wvfan79 :

I am a York deal but have also sold/installed carrier as well.

Wvfan79 :

Yorks AVG 1 piece air handler is nice and so is their MV modular air handler. You can't go wrong with either.

Wvfan79 :

Did you happen to have other questions about this topic?

Customer:

The Carrier vendor told me that since I have only 4 exhaust at second level and 8 exhaust at the first level, if I put a variable speed, the second floor will not receice enough air flow. What do you think?

Wvfan79 :

Exhaust as in return air grilles? Intake air?

Customer:

Exhaust in return grilles

Wvfan79 :

I don't believe that to be case however I am not able to see the design. When we have customers who are buying new systems we completely evaluate their system.

Wvfan79 :

Sounds like your problem can be solved with dampers installed in the main ducts that run to the two floors.

Customer:

Still there?

Wvfan79 :

I am

Wvfan79 :

If you replied I did not get anything.

Customer:

does a variable speed air handler require a two stage or variable speed compressor heat pump to be efficient?

Wvfan79 :

No it does not require anything like that. It can be installed on a single stage 13 SEER standard system.

Wvfan79 :

Stepping up to 2 stage or a high efficiency system is a good idea though.

Customer:

since they are much more expensive, the return on investment is long, no?

Wvfan79 :

Not necessarily. You can get your upgrade money back on a 15 seer in about 5-8 years depending on the use. and higher seer 8-12 years.

Wvfan79 :

We have been doing alot of studies on this.

Wvfan79 :

Are you looking at a heat pump or an air conditioner?

Customer:

heat pump + electric air handler

Wvfan79 :

Ok, I have something for you. Give me a second.

Wvfan79 :

CLICK HERE to use the Energy Star Heat Pump Savings Calculator

Wvfan79 :

CLICK HERE to use the Energy Star Heat Pump Savings Calculator


Wvfan79 :

This will give you the info you need on what seer level to invest in.

Customer:

thanks, XXXXX XXXXX help me decide between a high end 1 stage or a high end 2 stages...

Wvfan79 :

2 stage is nice but this calc doesn't take that in account. I HIGHLY recommend 2 stage equipment.

Customer:

I live in Canada, so the HSPF rating is also very impornant for me

Wvfan79 :

York's Affinity YZH heat pump has a very good HSPF

Wvfan79 :

Vist yorkugp.com to learn more about the systems they offer.

Customer:

I was looking at the YZF... but hesitating between 5 speed or variable air handler

Wvfan79 :

Sorry. YorkUpg.com

Wvfan79 :

YZF is the 14-16 Seer line, it is nice but only single stage.

Customer:

if I can't afford the YZH, is it still a good idea to go with the YZF and the variable?

Wvfan79 :

The YHJF is what we sell a lot of, a nice unit and very affordable. Still gives you 15 SEER but not 2 stage unless you buy the 5 ton unit. That size is very rare.

Wvfan79 :

The YZF is a nice quiet system but if you want 15 Seer and a better price step back to the YHJF

Wvfan79 :

We stock the YHJF and they sell like hot cakes, everyone loves them.

Customer:

is not in the Affinity line-up, right?

Wvfan79 :

Nope. Latitude

Wvfan79 :

LX series

Wvfan79 :

You will love it. It's a good middle ground unit.

Wvfan79 :

Make sure the company you choose runs a load calc on your house to select the right size system. This is a must.

Customer:

and for the variable speed, would you take it no matter what system is paired with?

Wvfan79 :

Id bet 90% of HVAC systems installed now a days are over sized.

Wvfan79 :

We well the MX air handler with the MC coil but I like the benefits of the variable speed. I'd buy variable speed if it were me.

Wvfan79 :

We sell, sorry typo

Customer:

Thanks a lot, I have no more questions.

Wvfan79 :

The MX is a fixed speed blower with the new X-13 motor

Wvfan79 :

You are very welcome my friend!

Wvfan79 :

If your questions have been answered and you are 100% satisfied please rate your service 3 stars or higher today so that I am credited for providing great customer service to you. If you feel that you are not satisfied please do not rate at all. If you ever have another question please bookmark my personal link so that you have it. http://www.justanswer.com/home-improvement/expert-its-norm/. I'd love to help anytime.


 

Customer:
Comfort Specialist, Designer, Estimator & Technician
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 1319
Experience: Master HVAC & Gas, Air Balance, LG Master Commissioner, University of North Carolina Certificate holder for Industrial Ventilation Design.
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Comfort Specialist
Comfort Specialist
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Master HVAC & Gas, Air Balance, LG Master Commissioner, University of North Carolina Certificate holder for Industrial Ventilation Design.