Lennox LRP16HP Package Heat Pump Review
Lennox LRP16HP Review
Last month, I wrote an article titled; “What Brand Do Phoenix AC Company Owners Put In Their Own Home”. If you read that article, you know that although my company, Magic Touch Mechanical (an air conditioning company that provides air conditioning installations in Phoenix, AZ and nearby cities) recommends Lennox, Trane, Goodman, and Mitsubishi cooling and heating equipment…I ultimately decided on the Lennox LRP16HP for my own home. The LRP16HP is Lennox’s brand new rooftop package heat pump. As promised in that post, this article is a detailed review of the LRP16HP now that it is finally installed on my home.
This article will be part one of my review as if you’ve read any of my previous central air conditioner reviews, you know I like to follow up as time progresses to see how they endure the test of time, especially in the brutal Phoenix heat!
The LRP16HP is so new the Lennox heat pump lineup, it wasn’t even available in Phoenix yet when I ordered it! I waited a few weeks to even get my hands on one because I thought the features it had that were important to me were worth the wait, plus it wasn’t mid-summer in Phoenix! While it was only installed a few weeks ago, I have put it through the motions in both heating and cooling, as well as been all up and through the inside of the machine to see how it was built. In other words, I’m ready to share the pros and cons I’ve seen thus far.
While going through this machine, I noticed several “above and beyond” features that went into the design, engineering, and build of the LRP16HP which I will cover later in this article but first let me start with the basics.
- QUIET OPERATION – The LRP16HP is QUIET! While I already knew this unit was; “rated as low as 71 decibels” (depending on the capacity aka tonnage of the unit), I have the 4-ton (LRP16HP48) which is actually 74 decibels. Even at that dB rating, you can barely hear the thing running standing a few feet from it.
I give the design engineers kudos in how they accomplished this, and it’s one of the things Lennox does that many of their competitors don’t. Instead of locating the compressor in the same compartment as the outdoor fan motor, it sits in its own well-insulated compartment towards the rear of the cabinet. The result is; you can’t hear the “drone” of the compressor. This was a huge plus for me as the unit it replaced got louder and louder over the years. Since it is located right above the master bedroom, quiet was very important to me…and the LRP16 delivers.
NOTE: A word on air conditioning manufacturer dB ratings. There doesn’t seem to be much of a standard to measure how, where, and when (in the run cycle) the sound ratings on these machines are measured so it’s tough to compare brand to brand by rating alone. What I mean by that is: Is it measured on the compressor side or the opposite side? Is it running in low speed or high speed? Does the condenser air discharge out the top side of the unit or one of the sides of the unit?
The real-world application is going to make a big difference as well. For example, sound reverberating off of a block wall in someone’s back yard vs. a rooftop machine where sound has nothing to “bounce” off of will make a difference in what you the homeowner hears. All that said, I don’t put much stock in the manufacturers dB ratings…I want to hear it myself to believe it! But, I know Lennox and quiet is one thing they’re known for so I had confidence this machine would be just that before I even heard it.
- 2-STAGE COMPRESSOR – In a nutshell, a 2-stage compressor has both a high-speed to handle extreme temperatures, and a low-speed to save energy and run quietly the majority of the time. This is a very important feature in hot climates like Phoenix, and frankly if you can afford it, I recommend you choose it…I did!
Note: If there was a package unit with a variable speed compressor on the market, I would’ve gotten it, but there isn’t and 2-stage is the next best thing. See my other articles on types of compressors to understand the difference.
Summer temperatures in Phoenix can exceed 120 degrees, but an ACCA (Air Conditioning Contractors of America*) Manual J HVAC load calculation for Mesa, AZ uses a default high ambient temperature of 108 degrees Fahrenheit (see my articles discussing load calculations and compressor types for more information on this).
*ACCA is the organization that writes the standards for HVAC load calculations. For those who don’t know what that means, the short definition is; the calculation performed to determine the proper size a/c and heating unit (measured in BTU’s per hour a.k.a. “tons”) for the space being conditioned.
Here’s a quick summary of why a two-stage compressor is an important feature in Phoenix:
The area of my home covered by this unit requires 4 “tons” (48,000 BTUh) of cooling to maintain 75 degrees when it’s 108 degrees outside per the load calculation I performed. The load calculation considers things like insulation levels, windows, orientation, square footage, ventilation, etc.
Earlier I mentioned how Phoenix can exceed 120 but ACCA uses 108 based on many years of climate data, average cooling days, etc. (again, that’s covered in other articles – so for now, trust me on this…ACCA is right!).
On those 108 plus degree days, the area being cooled by the 4-ton unit needs to run at 100% (high speed). But on the majority of “cooling days” we don’t need all that power to keep the home comfortable so it automatically reduces its capacity (low speed) to save energy and provide more “even” temperatures throughout the day.
- VARIABLE SPEED ECM MOTOR – This is another feature in most new air conditioners now that I say if you can afford it, get it…I did!
The “blower” motor also referred to as the “indoor” motor is the fan that actually delivers conditioned air via the ductwork into your home. A variable speed fan motor will keep you and your home more comfortable by ramping the speed up or down based on the conditions. This also results in much better efficiency than a standard blower motor or “PSC” motor.
I’ll cover more of this in another article but suffice to say, this was a must have feature for me when choosing a new AC unit for my own home.
ABOVE & BEYOND – Earlier I mentioned several above and beyond design features that went into this machine that are not typically seen in their competitors’ units, I’ll cover three of them here and save the rest for part two of the LRP16HP review.
- Condensate Drain Float Switch. The Lennox LRP16HP ships with a factory installed float switch in the condensate drain pan. While this feature isn’t something most homeowners would ever hear about (because unless you are in the business you probably wouldn’t recognize the benefit), it’s a very nice touch.
Air conditioners remove moisture from the air during the cooling process. That moisture is “drained” off of the evaporator coil into a pan beneath the coil (condensate pan) and then plumbed somewhere via the drain pipe aka condensate drain line.
If that drain line were to become blocked up (which is very common – you should have your condensate drain lines cleared regularly), it could overflow over the pan and leak into your home causing property damage. Or worse it could slowly leak into your attic or inside a wall and take years to discover causing mold and other expensive damage.
The float switch is designed to turn off the machine if a backup occurs!
- Rubber Coated Distribution Tubes. Okay, so unless you are a HVAC Service Technician, you probably have no idea what a distribution tube is, or why the fact that they are rubber coated in the Lennox LRP16HP matters. So, let me explain:
The distribution tubes are a group of copper lines located on the evaporator coil (indoor coil) that allow for even distribution of refrigerant across the coil. It is very common for these tubes to rub against each other over time because of vibrations and eventually wear through the copper causing a refrigerant leak…not good!
The rubber coating adds a layer of protection to each tube to reduce the risk of this rubbing causing a leak. This small design feature can mean big savings to the owner of the unit by never having to pay for a common repair.
- Isolated & Insulated Compressor Compartment. I already hinted at one of the main reasons this is was a specifically nice design feature…reduced noise levels. The compressor is the loudest of all the components in a rooftop package heat pump, and will typically get louder with age due to everyday wear and tear. In lesser quality units, the compressor is housed directly under the condenser fan motor and exposed to the elements.
By isolating the compressor and then insulation the cabinet, it not only significantly reduces the noise factor, it also saves energy and prolongs the life of the compressor by keeping it cooler.
So far I only found one major drawback of the LRP16 that was a step-back from Lennox’s previous packaged heat pump model, the LRP14:
- No Way To Install High-End Filtration. Lennox manufactures the top-rated air filtration/purification system on the market today, the Lennox Pure-Air. The Pure-Air combines MERV 16 filtration with UV light and a catalyst for air purification. The LRP14 was able to accept this component internally in the cabinet, however with the new cabinet design that is no longer possible…it just won’t fit!
Lennox does manufacture and install the purification-only portion of the Pure-Air (called the Lennox PCO kit). I did install the PCO kit in the unit and have switched to running a different type of HEPA filtration in my home. It’s too soon for me to review the PCO but I will follow up with a review of that as well in a few weeks and let you all know the results!
Check back for part 2 of the Lennox LRP16HP review after it’s been through a harsh Phoenix, AZ summer! Of course, if you live near the Phoenix, AZ area or nearby cities, we would love to make you our next happy client. Give us a call or send us a message today and let us know how we can help you!