Recommendation on best brands of Horizontal Gas whole house heaters-no AC needed

Discussion in 'HVAC Heating & Cooling' started by Onokai, Jan 25, 2015.

  1. Onokai

    Onokai Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2012
    Location:
    Arcata,Ca
    Looks like I'm replacing my 25 year old payne horizontal Gas Heater (80%) with a new 92% heater.
    I need around the same footprint size wise but what are the best brands? Bryant? Lenox? whats your thoughts.
    I mainly heat with pellet stove but do use this every year some.
    Mark
     
  2. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Location:
    01609
    In an Arcata CA location from an operating cost point of view you may be better off with a heat pump (and not oversizing it for the actual loads), even if you don't need AC.

    If a pellet stove is capable of heating all rooms adequately despite being point-source heating, you could even go with a high efficiency ductless mini-split heat pump, and mothball the duct system. On those three days every year when you might want some air-conditioning you'd have it (by default), but that's not too important. In your climate at your average wintertime temperatures a ductless mini-split would average about 4-4.5x as much heat per kilowatt-hour of power use as electric baseboards would, (less than 25% of the operating cost). Sized correctly it would idle along at low speed most of the time using a "set and forget" control strategy, which would be more efficient than deep setbacks. A pretty-good 1-ton like the Fujitsu AOU 12 RLS2 would have an installed cost of $3500-4K, not dramatically different from installing a condensing gas furnace. You might need more than that, or less- the key is running the heat load calculations correctly. (Which is required under CA Title 24, but not always done with sufficient care, since nearly ALL gas hot air furnaces are oversized for the heat loads anyway.)

    What are your gas & electricity rates? Most utilities in CA have fairly steeply tiered electricity rates- where are the step breakpoints on power use, and the uptick in rates?

    Any idea what your actual heat load is at Arcata's 99% outside design temp of +32F?

    What is the D.O.E. output BTUs of the old Payne?
     
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  4. Onokai

    Onokai Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2012
    Location:
    Arcata,Ca
    The payne was input 67,000 BTU output was 56,00o-it needs a new motor and I thought time for an upgrade-its 25 years old.
    The pellet stove does the job but does not get the outer rooms very well-thats why we like the duct system for few minutes each winter am. And its in already as well. In a small custom home with wood floors and tons of windows just finding a wall spave for the mini split will be a challenge.
    I could cut in a mini split but its just a bit more trouble to fit one in a very small living room with huge windows-We never need the cooling part ever so that makes that less attractive. here near the coast I like the mini spit idea but the wall space and outside footpring is a issue.
    My friends who have them also have solar electric grid tied systems as power is pricing here-another reason not to have one.
    Natural Gas is much cheaper for me to use.
    I put in several whole house heaters and I'll be installing this one myself again.
    I read that Trane and Carrier had better service records any truth to that?
    Mark
     
  5. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Location:
    01609
    Unless yours is an unusually large &/or leaky house, it's unlikely that your actually heat load @ 32F is more than half the output your Payne. IIRC under Title 24 you're only allowed something like 15% (or maybe it's 10% ) oversizing of heating & cooling equipment, which means you're likely to be down-sizing considerably from that Payne. (The heat load of my 2400' 2x4 framed antique bungalow with a lot of R19 ceilings is about 20,000BTU/hr @ +32F.) If the duct design is up to snuff, a pretty good modulating dedicated 1.5 ton single mini-duct cassette unit like the Mitsubishi SUZ/SEZ KA18NA.th might cut it, since it would deliver ~22KBTU/hr @ 35F (see page 26 for the heating capacity chart.) It's about 3 grand at internet pricing, but can be a DIY project for 95% of what it takes. (The refrigerant charging/commissioning part would have to be done by a pro in CA, but it's only 1-2 hrs of tech time if you did everything else right.)

    If gas would be cheaper than mini-splits to operate, as it is in most markets, pellets must be more expensive than gas too(?). I live in one of the most expensive electricity markets in the mainland US, and the operating costs between a mini-split is neck-in-neck with natural gas. And that is at a much lower COP than you would get, due to the much lower temps. (My binned hourly mean temp in January is about 24F, 8F colder than your 99% bin.)

    For a low duty-cycle unit it almost doesn't matter what the service records are between Trane vs. Carrier vs. Goodman vs. brand-X, Y, or Z. Since it's used only as your backup, going with the dumbest least complicated single-stage unit that meets code-min efficiency is would be least risky on overall reliability. With condensing equipment you have a whole new set of venting hoops to jump through to meet code. With a code-min efficiency unit you can probably use the existing chimney, with perhaps a narrowing flue liner. If the narrowing flue liner is required to be stainless, going with a condensing unit would be cheaper, using PVC vent, provided you can find an adequate location for venting it.

    If your hot water is also heated with natural gas, you may be better off going with a hydro-air air handler unit operating as loop off condensing hot water heater (or even non-condensing HW heater if set up correctly, and with a big enough burner) , and you're much more likely to be able to match the air-handler output to the actual heat load. With hydro-air you're no longer bound to a particular fuel source- the work just as well with natural gas boilers/hot water heaters, as with wood boilers, etc.

    All good decisions around replacement heating solutions starts with the heat load calculation. Without that crucial piece of information it's hard to get to the right equipment decision, and very easy to be led astray. An oversized Trane or Carrier or brand-X isn't worth installing (even as a DIY), no matter what the service reliability records are.
     
  6. Onokai

    Onokai Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2012
    Location:
    Arcata,Ca
    The guy i have dealt with with 3 heater systems I have installed over the past 30 years suggested a Luxaire (Johnson controls) TG9S model which is 60,000 btu-its 95.5 efficient
    its a single speed condensing unit (dumber vrsion at just under 1k for cost .It fits my foot prinf of plenums-is PVC vented which I can work with easy. I can vent to outside wall and suck from crawl space.Its more like what you suggested .
    ( Since it's used only as your backup, going with the dumbest least complicated single-stage unit that meets code-min efficiency is would be least risky on overall reliability. With condensing equipment you have a whole new set of venting hoops to jump through to meet code. With a code-min efficiency unit you can probably use the existing chimney, with perhaps a narrowing flue liner. If the narrowing flue liner is required to be stainless, going with a condensing unit would be cheaper, using PVC vent, provided you can find an adequate location for venting it.)

    os to hot water-I have a gas water heater with a solar hot water asset with two roof panels. That water heater solar shed on outside wall of house is very full as my central vac and calcite water system is taking up all the space with very little access to get stuff under the house pipe wise now.
    Mark
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2015
  7. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2009
    Location:
    01609
    Unless you leave the windows open there is no WAY your heat load is anywhere near 60,000 BTU/hr, and installing that would be in contravention of Title 24 requirements. It's probably 3x oversized.

    Do a heat load calc- seriously!
     
  8. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2010
    Location:
    Maine
    Buy what can be serviced locally
     
  9. Onokai

    Onokai Member

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2012
    Location:
    Arcata,Ca
    (Buy what can be serviced locally) now thats great advice-I did just that.
    As much as I like mini splits they do not work well on 8 rooms even in a small home.
    I have 8 heat ducts in the hardwood floor and want to use them. Remember this is a back up system. I replaced my old heater with small condensing 95% efficient unit.
    Made a new platform and insulated all the plenums with silver metallic bubble insulation-rerouted pvc drain and exhaust horizontally
    Moved the gas supply and central vac piping redid the electrical to surge protection outlet.
    Basically major upgrade .Total cost under $1,100.
    Mark
     
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