Waterfurnace to Climatemaster Comparison?

Discussion in 'Quotes and Proposals' started by JFLame, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. JFLame

    JFLame Member

    I am trying to determine exactly which units from Waterfurnace and Climatemaster are competitive units.

    I received a quote for Climatemaster recently, after having received a few quotes for Waterfurnace 5 units. The units in question:

    Waterfurnace 5 Series
    Climatemaster Tranquility 30
    Climatemaster Tranquility 22

    I *think* the WF 5 series is more comparable to the Tranquility 30, but I'm basing that on EER alone.

    Can somebody guide me on what units are closest to each other if you were trying to compare them for quoting purposes?

    Also, the quote for the Climatemaster units has them priced exactly $3,000 apart (30 being the higher of the two).

    Also, does anybody know how these units rank in terms of overall cost?
  2. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    While I don't know the features of the WF 5, the CM 30 and 22 have on board variable speed flow centers now that can be programed by Delta T. They also have expansion tanks to help alleviate some of the pressurized system pressure swings.
    I shared the concern here of on board flow center until I saw the product and saw how much room there was to change the components. I also saw how little it impacted my price (i.e. compared to a heat pump and an extra flow center).
    Both the CM products have on board diagnostics which snap shot conditions present when a lockout occurs- such as entering and leaving water temperature, air temperatures, gpm, R410 pressures.....handy stuff.
    ......the kind of stuff that alone may not have convinced me to return to CM. When they switched to my favorite distributor, then I made the move.

    I shop the way I suggest others shop, buy whatever is sold by the company that you expect will take the best care of you and the other stuff will take care of itself. Personally I don't care for the WF distribution biz model, but if the best dealer in your area sells WF then go with that.

    PS difference between the T22 and T30 appears to be fan coil surface and maybe heat exchanger. Dunno price difference off the top of my head.
  3. JFLame

    JFLame Member

    What is the reality of the variable speed flow center? Climatemaster literature claims it is good for up to $100/yr efficiency savings, but what are the drawbacks besides complexity?

    If I read you right, you're also saying the "flow center" is internal to the CM models vs. external on others? I haven't read much into the components of the system.
  4. JFLame

    JFLame Member

    Also, the Climatemaster dealer wants to mate the Tranquility units to a Honeywell Redzone controller to do 4 zones in my house. In another post somebody mentioned issues with 2nd stage calls with the Honeywell units. Does anybody have input on how well those two products work together?

    Waterfurnace quotes are all Intellizone.
  5. Calladrilling

    Calladrilling Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I do not install the systems , just the loops. But I must say I was quite impressed when I seen the new CM 30 get installed.
    I am not a fan of working on the loop tie-in though. It's just off the ground, in a tight spot, and hard to see the valve system to purge it as well. But the system overall was nice!
  6. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Honeywell and Carrier are not the only Zoning systems.

    I would have you look at the geo zoning control system from Arzel Zoning Systems here In Cleveland. I helped with the design. They use user-friendly air rather than wire.

  7. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    No zoning system is good if installed poorly. I use multi stage zone boards when I must zone at all and employ my own safegaurds.

    For instance in most houses round here we are talking about a Cape Cod with less SF up than down.

    As first stage will easily handle a second floor demand I simply do not allow it to activate second stage.

    Problem solved.
  8. JFLame

    JFLame Member

    Everybody, thanks for the info so far.

    I looked back at the quote for the Climatemaster installer, and he specifies the Honeywell HZ432 RedLink Plus zoning panel.

    I am trying to set up time to discuss his zoning experience with this system (Climatemaster 30 + Honeywell HZ432) but it hasn't happened yet as I just got back from out of town.

    In another thread I was told that Honeywell has a bad habit of going to Stage 2 when it's not needed. I am curious what others have to say about this configuration.

    Basically what I'm down to is this:

    Waterfurance + Intellizone
    Climatemaster + Honeywell HZ432

    For the record, I *think* the Climatemaster installer will do a better job than the Waterfurance guy, which is why I'm trying to understand his product offering better.
  9. urthbuoy

    urthbuoy Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    For the record

    Technically, I'm a Waterfurnace guy.

    But I don't think I've ever been hired based on the equipment I sell.
  10. engineer

    engineer Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Intellizone has a zone weighting scheme so useful that I have grafted it onto air source systems.

    Joe is right - it is crucial to prevent high stage operation during small or single zone calls

    I'm OK with Honeywell's HZ432 - it is simple and cost effective. I have one major gripe - it will drive the system into high stage if just 2 out of 4 zones are calling, no matter how small those zones are.

    I have button-holed Honeywell folks on this, and they promise to fix it...we'll see.
  11. JFLame

    JFLame Member

    Your statements on the effectiveness of the Intellizone are what makes me trend in that direction. The stories about Honeywell and the stage 2 issues make me worry about that implementation.

    I am hoping to talk to the Climatemaster dealer tomorrow. If he can give me a good sense that he understands the Honeywell zoning configuration and has had success in the past it may alleviate my fears, but as of now the Intellizone just seems like the safer route.
  12. AMI Contracting

    AMI Contracting A nice Van Morrison song Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Intellizone is not fail-safe. Of an installer doesn't grasp zoning you are in trouble regardless of control system.
  13. JFLame

    JFLame Member

    My head is spinning right now.

    I talked to the Climatemaster installer today. He's done "3 or 4" Honeywell/Climatemaster zone installs, and "30-40 a year" of that same zoning controller with non-geo heat pumps.

    I asked the Waterfurnace dealer how many Intellizone installations they've done, and he was totally transparent and told me, "this is our first." :eek: But he claims "a lot of" zoning experience in general as well as a lot of Carrier Infinity zoning, which he thinks is "close to the Intellizone in that it uses variable speed and static pressure to determine air flow", but I think he's really wrong on that because my small understanding leads me to believe that the Intellizone is not "smart" enough to determine air flow, it is determined by the size of the zone and is pre-programmed.

    I just became really worried about the Waterfurnace guy. I can't believe a "Geopro" dealer would have no experience with Intellizone??? :confused:
  14. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader


    Take a look at Arzel Zoning via Google. Their systems can be easily retro-fitted to non-zoned duct work, are simple to install and power with air.

    They have two very good systems for use with geo systems. One is the heat pump pro control and the other is a dedicated version of that board with geo bells and whistles added. It is called GT-Pro.

    In fact since I am stuck at my desk with a twisted knee, here is a link.

    Retrofit HVAC Zoning with Arzel Zoning

  15. JFLame

    JFLame Member

    Mark, I saw when you posted this previously. A few points:

    1. I doubt any installer around here will touch this system without putting all responsibility back on me when it fails. Plus, i don't think I'd be comfortable asking somebody with no experience with it to put it in. Isn't the mantra around here that experience is #1 or something like that?

    2. There is a similar system to this called MyTemp from Home Comfort Zones. It's the same exact idea and is an easy retrofit to existing systems. The issue? It retails for over $10,000 installed. I had one guy come through who told me $13,500 for it. I told him to go pound sand. That system should cost no more than $5,000.
  16. Mark Custis

    Mark Custis Not soon. Industry Professional Forum Leader

    Where are You?

    The thinking about Arzel and other products are twofold, first they drive their dampers with air, and second they have a dedicated control for multiple stage geothermal products.

    If you were near Cleveland I could do four zones for under your $5,000 number.
    Last edited: Oct 17, 2012
  17. engineer

    engineer Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    The Intellizone that has been out for years does NOT interact with the air handler and ductwork to the extent of assessing static pressure etc. Intellizone does three things I find particularly nifty:

    1) Individual zones are weighted at any of 25%, 45% or 70% of total system capacity.

    2) Intellizone weights thermostat call severity - Y1, Y2 and Y3 are assigned progressively higher multipliers (times zone weight). Both features give great control over when and if to put the system into high stage.

    3) Though system operation is limited to two stages, Intellizone sets blower CFM at any of five rates depending upon circumstances.

    It lacks one feature that I quite miss- dynamic response to a humidistat call - raising or lowering CFM / ton based on presence / absence of a closed contact signal from a humidity-aware thermostat. Mainstream air source heat pump variable speed air handlers (even Goodman) do accommodate CFM changes via humidity signal, and I routinely wire and configure that feature.

    In 2007, before entering this field myself, I determined that I wanted WF + Intellizone for my new home. My builder set about finding a HVAC contractor able to provide both and lo and behold, found one willing to try. They did an excellent job with the ductwork and installing the unit, but I basically owned the waterside and the zoning / airflow set up.

    At one point I found the lead installer fiddling with dip switches on the package system control board. His answer to my gentle query was that he was setting airfllows..."um...not there...over there" I said, steering him to the Intellizone panel. I asked for 24 Vac to operate the open loop discharge valve and that wasn't immediately forthcoming, either...a bit of a scavenger hunt ensued.

    Everything worked out in the end, though I likely paid for expertise I also provided.

    I relate the story to make the point that it would be ill-advised to let a contractor execute your project as serial #1 unless you both have a keen sense of curiosity and adventure.

    Honeywell handles two or three similarly sized zones perfectly well and at reasonable cost (though you couldn't pay me to install their cheapie power open spring closed zone dampers).

    Where Honeywell stumbles, trips and falls is situations where there are 3 or 4 zones, two being small. It'll jump into high gear if two small zones are calling and then the air handler will try to blow the registers off the boots.

    Honeywell tech support will tell you that Y2 can be controlled by a thermostat, but that only works well if one zone is huge...or they'll tell you to add a bypass damper, which I can't abide to begin with, even less when the bypass is a band-aid solely to compensate for inappropriate 2nd stage operation. Sweat, mold, ice, floodbacks, and overloads all ensue.

    If a contractor insists a new construction zoned system needs a bypass, seek another...there are better ways.
  18. JFLame

    JFLame Member

    Curt, thanks for the input, it is very worthwhile.

    The Waterfurnace dealer sent a revised quote this evening since we discovered a few missing requirements for the $1500 rebate that Waterfurnace is offering. One of those items was an upgrade to a color touchscreen thermostat. In addition to changing the quote to include the upgraded thermostat, the dealer has decided to upgrade the zoning system to the Intellizone 2 instead of the Intellizone.

    I have not yet had a chance to talk to him as it is late, but I'm wondering if you have any experience with the Intellizone 2 vs. the Intellizone? The thermostat itself is MUCH improved from the other one we had originally spec'd out, and I'm quite impressed with it.

    This guy has been so responsive and pleasurable to work with that I daresay I'm feeling adventurous...
  19. JFLame

    JFLame Member

    I spent a few hours tonight reading about the Intellizone 2.

    The main perk seems to be the upgraded communicating thermostat. It is really neat, and even allows you to see system performance measures if you have the optional sensors installed. I don't see any differences in base functionality vs. the Intellizone, but the usability piece is pretty cool.
  20. engineer

    engineer Well-Known Member Industry Professional Forum Leader

    I haven't worked with the 2nd gen Intellizone.

    If you are getting a good vibe off the WF guy, go for it. This stuff isn't rocket science and the WF docs are thorough and easy to use.

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