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Product Review: Lennox Solar Assisted Heat Pump Model XPG20

Since its inception, our website has been brand neutral, meaning we do not favor one manufacturer of equipment over another. We focus more on features and benefits that are most likely to affect performance and your overall satisfaction. Above all, we emphasize that central A/C, heating and indoor air quality equipment must be sized and installed by a trained and experienced HVAC technician. Correct load calculations, equipment efficiency, features, quality of the installation and scheduled maintenance will have a bigger impact on your satisfaction than the specific brand of equipment you purchase.

To keep current on the air conditioning and heating industry, we read news groups from technicians, HVAC contractors, trade journals, blogs, manufacturer’s websites and more. Now and then, we see a product or service that grabs our attention. Since I have a background in environmental studies, this solar-assisted heat pump from Lennox got mine. Because the compressor and fan unit sit outside and use electricity, it makes sense to give them a boost from a solar panel.

For full disclosure, located on our city pages or elsewhere on this website, you may see listings/ads for a few locations of Service Experts or independent Lennox equipment dealers. We do not own Lennox stock and received no compensation for writing this review, though.

On to the solar-assisted heat pump. On their website, Lennox described model XPG20 as “The first integrated solar-assisted residential heating and cooling system”. We will start by listing excerpts from the product description on their website and product brochure, plus a few comments from us.

Quiet

  • Quiet Operation Fan grille— uses patent-pending, vortex-suppression technology to reduce sound of airflow exiting the unit, providing a quieter environment outside
  • Fully insulated compressor compartment—uses innovative vibration-isolating mounts to muffle operating sound

Comfort

  • Two-stage scroll compressor— runs at low speed most of the time, which means it’s less expensive to operate and provides more consistent comfort
  • Designed to work with the Humiditrol® whole-home dehumidification system*

Energy Efficiency

  • Power from the single solar panel reduces electricity needs of the outside fan motor.
  • Efficiency ratings of up to 18.20** SEER and 9.70** HSPF—can save you hundreds of dollars a year, compared to a standard heat pump
  • Tested with simulated power from the 205 watt solar module, the system is 20 SEER and 10.7 HSPF
  • ENERGY STAR® qualified—meets or exceeds EPA guidelines for energy efficiency
  • This product qualifies for a tax credit under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.***

Environmentally Responsible

  • The industry’s first solar-assisted central heat pump— uses a combination of solar energy and electricity to reduce home electric usage
  • Chlorine-free R410A refrigerant
  • Each of these units will offset 376 pounds of CO2 annually, which is the equivalent of seven mature trees or carpooling to work one day per week.

Reliability

  • Constructed of heavy-gauge, pre-painted steel and tested in the most extreme environments to ensure maximum durability
  • Lennox® System Operations Monitor— first onboard cooling system diagnostics in the industry—continuously monitors system performance and assures reliable operation and fast troubleshooting
  • 10-Year Limited Warranty on compressor and all remaining covered components, excludes solar panel

Footnotes from Lennox website
*Must be accompanied by either a variable speed air handler or furnace and the ComfortSense® 7000 Series touchscreen thermostat.
**SEER and HSPF are for operation without solar power input.
***Eligible heat pumps and air conditioners must meet the Federal minimum efficiency standards of 16.00 SEER and 13.00 EER for air conditioners or 15.00 SEER, 12.50 EER, and 8.50 HSPF for heat pumps, as set forth by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Not all system combinations apply. Verify actual system efficiency at www.ahridirectory.org and consult your tax expert before claiming energy efficiency tax credits.

AirConditioning-and-Heating.com observations:

  • Power assist means that the system is never dependent on solar energy to cool. Limited sun will not affect the overall capacity to cool, just the amount of grid electricity saved.
  • On page 2 of their PDF brochure, it states that the solar features reduce electricity consumption by 8%.
  • However, using the chart on their PDF brochure, we calculate that the solar assist features adds almost 10% efficiency to the cooling efficiency rating (SEER) and the same on heating performance (HSPF).
  • Perhaps the difference in 8% and 10% is a nationwide vs. regional estimate. The numbers on the PDF chart are for region IV (which includes Texas).  Savings from the solar assist would vary with your location in latitude, shade, roof orientation, and other factors that affect how much full sun the panel is able to receive.
  • When A/C needs are at their peak, the solar assist will be also. This makes a lot of sense. It also aligns well with the goals of power companies, that strive to lower electricity usage at peak loads.  It’s the peak demand and loading that can contribute to brownouts, higher spot fuel prices and other undesirable burdens.
  • For a thorough product brochure PDF with photos and schematics, click here.

Pricing

In case you have never purchased a central A/C and heating system, there is generally not a list price for the equipment alone. Rather, the installation price will be based on requirements to install it at your location. The total price for equipment and installation is quoted by a local dealer.  For a cost comparison organizer, click here.

We welcome comments from homeowners or technicians who have experience owning or installing this heat pump.