I could use some help with some HVAC expertise?

By | November 16, 2015

My furnace went out and I have two very reasonable quotes. However, i’m having trouble making a couple decisions due to varying information and could really use some help!

The top two floors of my house are about 3400 sqr ft, I have a 1200 ft basement that I rarely use but may finish down the road. My current furnace that went out was a 80,000 BTU Lennox Pulse. I had one guy tell me if I want to finish my basement I should upgrade to a 100,000 BTU furnace – and yet another guy said that 80,000 BTU is still sufficient for my home.

1. Should I go with the more costly 100,000 BTU???

Secondly, the $3500 quote was for a Lennox Armstrong. This is a good name brand and I know they have an excellent reputation. My second quote was for approximately $2500 and this is for a temp-star 100,000 BTU furnace. Temp-star is not as well known, and reviews I’ve seen online indicate they have poor customer service. The Lennox comes with a 10 year parts warranty – the Temp-Star I have to buy an extended warranty that will go to 5 years which will cost approximately an extra $350. They are both a 95% efficiency furnace and would qualify for the energy efficiency tax credit.

2. Is it worth paying more to get a Lennox furnace? Or is a Temp-Star really just as good?

Lastly, one HVAC guy is telling me I should install a heat pump which will pay for itself in 5 years because it makes your gas furnace run less and is more energy efficent. The other HVAC guy is telling me I do NOT need a heat pump – that heat pumps are more for people who have electric or propane heating. He says gas is cheaper than electric and it would be cheaper for me to run my gas furnace than a heat pump. He added that heat pumps go out in 12-17 years and often require extra servicing and isn’t worth it in the long run.

3. Is a heat pump a good investment?

Thanks so much for your help! My house is officially down to 58 degrees today and I need to make a decision soon… but I know so little about this stuff it’s been overwhelming.
Thanks for all your input – I also should have mentioned with the larger furnace, I need to have a new flu ran out the side of my house (my current one goes through the roof and isn’t larger enough to accomindate the newer furnaces)

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5 thoughts on “I could use some help with some HVAC expertise?

  1. Jordan

    Do NOT get a heat pump. They are useless in Michigan. It gets too cold outside for them to work properly. You need a high-efficiency gas furnace.

  2. dsparks891

    I would go with the Lennox Armstrong..I would stay away from the Heat Pump and have regular gas heat installed…The off brand unit may cost less but remember you get what you pay for.

  3. Gary

    Stay away from the Temp Star.Poor quality from what I’ve seen.I’m not a big heat pump fan but remember that it also provides air cond. in the summer.If you have nat. gas than the pay back will be longer.If you have L.P. or electric its well worth it.Also be aware that the air temp coming out of your ducts is cooler with a heat pump.So if you like to feel cozy all the time you’ll be disappointed when the heat pump is on.Get energy star units to take advantage of the tax credit.The larger unit also is a good idea as long as the the duct work is sized to handle it.

  4. Boe

    80,000 BTU is fine for the unfinished or if you finish the basement. 100,000 BTU is over kill.
    I would also, suggest calling 1 more company to get a quote. The heat pump would not be the best route for the size of the home you have. You should also consider a furnace that 2 stage heat. What that means is it had low fire mode and high fire mode. So, if you dont need all 80,000BTU it only runs at half the btu’s. If the system can satisfy the temp in the house it will kick in to high fire mode. These types of furnaces can greatly reduce the overall cost of the gas usage. Im not sure what they quoted you, but to me that seems high cost wise.

    I guess its what your wallet can afford. And unfortunately the sad thing is you probably not going to get a consistent answers. Which is really sad. But if you just dont want to for the sake of confusion I would go with the lennox unit 80,000 btu unit. I would pass on the tempstar deal. Remember the warranty is only for parts not the labor. Which is not always conveyed to the homeowner.

  5. Footy Woods

    Been doing HVAC install and service for 30yrs. If I install new equipment in my home it will be a “Trane” system.
    This comes from someone who can buy any system I want. Heat pumps are only good for total electric homes. Trane is more expensive, but why buy anything less to protect your home and make it comfortable. If you can’t find a Trane dealer Lennox is ok. Seems like I have to work on them a lot as with other brands. Size of furnace depends on heat-load calculation, did anyone do the math?

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