Heat pumps are among the most energy-efficient methods of cooling and heating your home. Working year-round, they maintain airflow, temperature settings, and comfort without causing drastic spikes in your energy bills.
While there are many brands and models out there, one of the smallest is Payne. With only four heat pump models available, you may overlook them. This article explains why you shouldn’t. From high efficiency to great features, Payne heat pumps reviewed here are worth a second glance.
Over 100 Years of Payne Heating Systems
Since the first gravity furnace was churned out of a barn in 1914, Payne has been a powerhouse in HVAC production. Not only were D.W. Payne and his sons inventors, but also innovators. With the first to market forced-air furnace, it wasn’t long before they got to the cooling side of the industry.
Today, you can find Payne products heating and cooling homes across the country. Affordable prices, attention to detail, and models that just work.
These are just a few of the standards that Payne continues to manufacture, produce and create to this day.
Payne heat pumps offer this same attention and durability. They also produce reliable units that are virtually maintenance-free, cost little to operate, and come with a warranty that keeps your mind off of cost and on more important things.
Read on to find out if one of the Payne heat pumps compared here is right for you.
What To Look For When Buying A Heat Pump
When looking at the Payne heat pumps (or any brand), it is important to know what you are looking at and even more important to understand the ratings and costs. Let’s cover some of those essential factors in more detail.
Cost of the Heat Pump
The biggest concern is the unit cost, of course. You want a durable, reliable, long lasting heat pump without having to sell a kidney or sign away your firstborn. While unit cost is variable, it is also only part of the total cost equation.
Payne heat pumps are quite affordable compared to their competition. Averaging less than $2000, the unit cost is one that most homeowners can afford without shifting around their budget too much.
The second part of the equation is installation costs. HVAC equipment, including heat pumps, should be installed by a professional. In all 50 states, it is required by law that you are certified for refrigerant handling, recovery, filling, and storage. Without this certification, you can’t do much HVAC work.
Installation costs will vary based on region, contractor labor fees, and other costs. On average, professional installation of a 2.5 or 3-ton heat pump will cost between $2500 and $5500. Depending on the contractor, your location, installation area, and other factors, though, your cost may be higher or lower.
SEER & HSPF Rating
SEER and HSPF ratings are important to note. While we outline them in greater detail below, you should look for a minimum of 14 SEER and 8 HSPF ratings on your heat pump system. This will ensure good efficiency and more money savings for you in the long run.
Another cost you need to factor in is annual maintenance costs. Many brands require professional upkeep while the warranty is active. It is also a great idea because it will save you a lot of money in the long run.
A normal inspection lasts about 2 hours and will cost between $200 and $400, depending on who does the inspection and other minor factors. During the process, the system is checked, patched, tested, and cleaned.
The best part, though, is that any small problems are identified and noted, which gives you the chance to find out about them and make repairs before they become costly replacements.
Noise levels are also a major concern for many owners. Loud heat pumps can cause distractions, angry neighbors, and other nuisances. Unfortunately, Payne doesn’t spend a lot of time or effort on noise reduction technologies. This is part of what keeps the price down.
However, the machines aren’t as loud as they may seem and are about average with the industry. Noise is measured in decibels (dB), and an average heat pump will fall somewhere between 65 and 75dB overall. Payne’s models range between 69 and 72dB.
Warranty length and coverage are always a growing concern. We want our more expensive items to be protected as long as possible and not cost us so much out of pocket should something go wrong.
Payne has an all-inclusive warranty the covers all parts, compressor, housing and labor for 10-years. This is about industry average and is very good for a smaller brand name.
SEER & HSPF Ratings: Energy Efficiency
The two biggest ratings you need to understand are for energy efficiency. The Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, or SEER, is the ratio between wattage intake and BTU output when the system is in cooling mode.
Obviously, the higher the SEER rating, the more efficient the system is. Anything over 14 SEER is a good efficiency rating. 15 to 18 SEER is a great rating, and anything over 20 SEER is considered excellent.
When the winter comes and you switch over to heating mode, your efficient rating then uses the Heating Seasonal Performance Factor, or HSPF. This measures the same wattage compared to BTU output, but when the system is in heating mode.
Like SEER, the HSPF rating numbers are better when they are higher. For example, 8 to 9 HSPF is great, and anything over 10 HSPF is considered excellent.
Payne Heat Pump Range (Models Compared)
Payne heat pumps are not for everyone. They offer a highly affordable rate without any of the modern features found on other brands. Essentially they are the builder’s brand for Carrier models and are sold cheaply to move product.
This doesn’t mean they aren’t suitable for your home, though; they just won’t have any extra’s you may want or need. Here, we compare the four Payne models against each other to look at SEER and HSPF ratings, compressor types, and costs.
Note that the costs listed are average across the US for a 2.5 ton model with standard installation and no extra’s included.
|Heat Pump Model||SEER||Ton||Home Size||Compressor Type||HSPF||Cost (Unit Only)||Cost + Install|
|PH16NA||17||1.5 – 5 tons||900 – 3300 sq. ft.||Two-Stage||9.5||$2250||$4750|
|PH16NC||16||1.5 – 5 tons||900 – 3300 sq. ft.||Single-Stage||9||$1900||$4400|
|PH15NB||15.5||1.5 – 5 tons||900 – 3300 sq. ft.||Single-Stage||9||$1700||$4200|
|PH14NB||14||1.5 – 5 tons||900 – 3300 sq. ft.||Single-Stage||8.5||$1450||$3950|
Payne Heat Pump Reviews: A Comprehensive Guide
With only four models, there isn’t much room to add a lot of different features or have a lot of bells and whistles. Let’s take a closer look at the four models to find out what they do offer, what they can do for your home, and your energy costs.
Payne Two-Stage Heat Pump 16 PH16NA
The PH16NA is the only model here with a two-stage compressor. This allows you a higher energy efficiency rating, and in this case, the highest available is 17 SEER and 9.5 HSPF. While these aren’t astronomical or eye-popping numbers, they are high enough for use in all regions of the United States.
Of all four models, this is the loudest option. It tops out at 71dB when on the highest speeds and settings and is about the industry average for a heat pump without any noise reduction or shielding implementations.
Instead, you get a decent machine for an excellent price, and an Energy Star rated unit that does qualify for the tax credit program (see below).
As with all Payne models, you get the 10-year parts and compressor warranty, too. Product registration and annual maintenance are recommended, though not required for the full warranty to be offered.
Payne Heat Pump 16 PH16NC
The PH16NC model is similar to the top model, with the sole exception that it is a single-stage compressor instead of a two-stage. With this model, you get further unit cost savings and take a minor hit in efficiency.
With a maximum of 16 SEER and 9 HSPF, this Energy Star unit also qualifies for the federal tax credit program and runs even quieter. At 68 max decibels, you can install it near a window or close to a wall without having to worry about disruption on the inside of the home.
Installation of these units is quite simple and straightforward, too. They don’t have a lot of angle and pitch requirements that other, more expensive models have, so you can save money on labor fees during installation there.
Like all Payne models, the PH16NC has a 10-year full coverage warranty with no special requirements. If you want high efficiency at a lower cost, this is an ideal model.
Payne Heat Pump 15 PH15NB
Going down the line, the Payne PH15NB is a reduced cost model with even lower efficiency ratings. With the final two models, you are getting into qualifications for specific regions. Some northern regions, for example, have a minimum HSPF rating requirement to ensure there is enough efficiency during winter.
Likewise, southern states have minimum requirements for the SEER ratings to maintain efficiency during the summer months. This model meets both requirements for northern and southern regions.
The cost savings come in two parts as well. The unit cost itself is lower in almost every region and location, and in most cases, you can find this model at or around a cost of $1600 – $1700.
The PH15NB is the final Energy Star certified unit and does qualify for the tax credit. It also comes with the 10-year warranty, of course.
PayneHeat Pump 14 PH14NB
The final model is the Payne PH14NB. This is the lowest efficiency model and is not Energy Star certified. This means that if you do go with this model over the other, you do not qualify for the tax credit.
Why would you want this model, though? In a simple word: cost. This is one of the highest efficiency heat pumps under $1500. With the PH14NB, you can buy the unit, have it installed and start heating and cooling your home for less than other brands sell a single unit for.
If you are looking for a reliable yet durable machine that you can afford in all areas, this is it.
Heat Pump Power Usage Calculations
To calculate the annual or seasonal running costs, the power usage formula is a simple method to see how much you will spend when running your new system.
That formula is a simple multiplication formula with four variable that looks like this:
kW x $kWh x H x D = $ Cost.
Those variables are the things you need to get your costs for your specific unit.
- kW is kilowatt (wattage divided by 1000) of the unit. This number is found on the model ID plate on the system itself, or in the owner’s manual.
- $kWh is the cost per kilowatt hour. You can find your kilowatt-hour cost on your monthly energy statement.
- H is the running hours. This is the number of hours per day that the system is actually running and not just turned “on.”
- D represents the number of days you want to know the costs for.
As an example, if your heat pump is 3700 watts (3.7 kW) running 5 hours per day for 90 days at 13 cents per kilowatt-hours, the formula then looks like this:
3.7 x $0.13 x 5 x 90 = $216.45.
Payne Vs Other Heat Pump Brands
Payne is not an industry powerhouse. They offer, instead, a smart solution for every budget.
With low cost, Payne enters the industry with a model that can install at any home.
It is how they stand up to other brands that the true value comes out (or fails).
Let’s compare Payne to Goodman and Bryant to find out how they stand up.
Payne Vs Goodman
Goodman is arguably the most recognized name in the home climate control industry. While they aren’t the largest (that claim goes to Carrier), Goodman heat pump units are found virtually everywhere.
What Goodman offers is brand recognition, reliability, and the best warranty in the business. Once registered, your Goodman heat pump is warrantied on all parts and labor for 10-years, but the compressor is warrantied for life. Payne offers a 10-year warranty across the board.
The area where Payne is better is in pricing. Their machines cost up to 60% less than Goodman, and installation is generally faster, reducing installation costs. Comparing top models from each brand, though, leaves Goodman as the clear winner in every category except price.
Payne Vs Bryant
Bryant is technically the parent company for Payne, and a keen eye will notice that Payne cabinets are older Carrier/Bryant cabinets. This should show you right away that Bryant heat pumps are higher quality, more advanced option.
As with almost every other brand, Bryant is much more expensive. Payne will win the price game, going head to head with nearly every brand out there. For example, Bryant only has 2 comparable models in the price range, and they are much lower in efficiency than the Payne models.
With Bryant, you get a more modern unit with better features (like variable speed compressors), upgrade possibilities, and decent warranty coverage. With Payne, you get a better price, lower install costs, and a similar warranty coverage.
Am I Eligible for a HVAC Tax Rebate?
The federal tax credit program began in 2018 to give homeowners more incentive to buy and install a high efficiency system. If you meet all the requirements, the federal government will credit your tax return at $300.
To qualify, you and the system you buy must meet these simple requirements.
- You must own the home and live in it as rental and new construction properties are not eligible.
- A split system must be a minimum of 8.5 HSPF and 15 SEER.
- A packaged system must be 8 HSPF and 14 SEER.
- All systems must be Energy Star certified and professionally installed.
- Unit must be purchased after January 1, 2017, and installed before December 31, 2021.
That’s it. If you meet these requirements, you just fill out the tax form (Form 5695) and file with your annual income tax.
Choosing the Right HVAC Contractor
One of the biggest headaches for a new HVAC system install is choosing the right contractor to perform the installation.
Here are some tips and tricks to help you choose the right company to install your new Payne system.
- Find a local contractor. You want a company that is close by and able to respond quickly.
- Get at least 3 estimates. Competing offers always give you a better idea of what the project should cost.
- Understand the bids. The contractors need to be all-inclusive, with licensed, tested, and reliable staff. Your bids need to include this experience and talk with the company representatives to find out if it is a match for your needs.
- Get reviews. Other customers, neighbors, and users offer reviews on the contractors you are looking at if you know where to find them. Make sure you choose the best contractors based on reviews and warnings from others.
It can be a long and tedious process to ensure you save money and get the best contractor for the project. However, we may be able to help.
We have partnered with Networx to offer you a free pro finder tool that will take your information and return well-qualified contractors to your inbox. Networx does all the work, including background and license checks, reviews and ratings, and returns contractors local to your area.
Troubleshooting Tips & FAQs
Below, you will find some of the more commonly asked questions and common issues with Payne (and other branded) heat pumps and their possible solutions. We also cover when you can repair the issue yourself or when it is time to call a professional.
How do you read a Payne serial number?
Payne serial numbers tell you when the unit was manufactured, and the sequence number tells the manufacturer which parts match your model. There are two styles of serial numbers, either a 10-digit or 9-digit option.
On a 10-digit serial number, the first two digits represent the week of the year (01 through 52) that model was produced. The 3rd and 4th digits represent the year of manufacture (02 for 2002, etc.). The next is a letter to represent the type of system (A for air conditioner, H for heat pump, etc.). The last 5 digits are the sequence number for manufacturer use.
On the 9-digit serial number, the first 2 digits are the year, and the next two are the month of the manufacture and the 5-digit sequence number. This model is almost outdated and is only found on older, currently installed units. The 10-digit serial number is the current use and what you will find on new models.
Payne Heat Pump Replacement Parts
Finding the correct replacement parts can be a challenge. Since you can’t just walk into the plant and start shopping, you need to find parts on your own. The first option is to get your model and serial numbers and shop online at specific 3rd party retailers such as Amazon. Matching these numbers will help ensure you order the correct part.
The second option is to contact your installation contractor and order the parts through them. This is generally a better option since the contractor will have a direct line to the manufacturer and know which model you have installed to ensure they get the right part for you. Also, they can generally work with the warranty to get the part installed for you.
Payne Heat Pump Trips Breaker or Freezes Up
Two of the major issues with a heat pump are tripping breakers and freezing refrigerant lines. Unless the breakers are tripping from the moment it is installed, it is due to the compressor drawing more power to run.
In most cases, this can be attributed to improper airflow. You should check the vents and air filter. Cleaning your vents and changing your air filter can alleviate your power consumption issues. This can also be the DIY fix for an icing issue. Without proper airflow, the system can also freeze over.
If you clean the vents and change the air filter and your system still trips the breaker, you need to call a professional. Likewise, if the system still freezes up, it means you have a refrigerant leak, which will require a trained and certified pro to locate and repair.
How do I reset my Payne heat pump?
Payne heat pumps, like most other brands, don’t have a reset button on the unit. Instead, you will need to perform a power cycle by switching the breakers that control the heat pump.
Once the breakers are off, you should wait about 3 to 5 minutes to allow the residual charge to purge. After the purge, you can flip the breakers back on, and the condenser system will reset.
Payne heat pumps are a budget brand that doesn’t offer you a lot of features, extras, or technologies. What they do offer is a solid cabinet with reliable parts to heat and cool your home.
You get a great warranty and durable unit for up to 60% less than other brands. The low cost is the biggest driving factor, and coupled with a 10-year warranty, it becomes a sought-after heat pump. With only 4 models to choose from, Payne keeps everything simple.
Our Rating: (4.2 / 5)