My house was built in 1988. It's 1400 sq ft. An Aquatherm® "Combo Heater", model #24VAQ3, was placed in the 3' x 5' closet in 1994. A Bradford-White, 40 gal, hot water tank, model #DS140S6EN10, shares this space. Literally, the heater and hot water tank were crammed into this space. A two ton, 10 SEER, Frigidaire unit is outdoors. In the summer, this unit cools the first floor (FF), yet the second floor (SF) is an oven. In the winter, the situation is reversed.
I want to replace the heating and cooling system, however, as you know, most HVAC equipment has increased in size due to the increased efficiency standards mandated by the Department of Energy. I've spoken to three HVAC contractors. Two of them looked bewildered about how to rearrange the larger heater and hot water tank in the space. I did learn that there is not enough clearance between my house an my current outdoor unit.
What heating unit brand(s)do you recommend for this space with compatible outdoor unit? Would purchasing an attic fan help cool the SF? Which brand is best? Should I increase the capacity of my hot water tank to 50 gal. minium to accompany the newer unit? How do I increase the clearance between my house and the outside unit without going over budget? Is it efficient for me to purchase a 2.5 ton a/c with a 14.5 to 15 SEER heat pump for a 1400 sq ft house?