Ok - So I realize that it's not the best thing for your 36 year-old AC system to go belly up in the middle of a heat-wave, but some of the responses that I have received from contractors that have come out to the house and some that I have talked with over the phone go way beyond anything that I expected.
Sure we should have replaced it sometime before now. But the system worked great and the increase in elec. bill was not too killer.
Our house is an old "Conneticut Farm House" design. It was built in 1968 without central air - hence the HV SpacePak system that was installed in 1970. House is about 2,800 square feet. We are located in the NW suburbs of Chicago.
I purchased a little 5,000 BTU window ac unit at Best Buy to cool 1 bedroom so we can at least get some sleep until this thing is fixed.
I have made calls to 5 shops.
Shop 1 - Came right out. I was asked if we thought that the system provided adequate cooling (we said it seemed to), the tech looked at our existing equipment, looked & measured the return duct (it's a HV SpacePak system), went out to the truck and wrote us up a quote. I asked ifhe needed to do any calcs... No real need, I was told. I was given a dollar amount that seemed fair for a 3.5 ton 13 SEER (old was 3 ton), new compressor, new supply line, new spacepak air handler & coil, electronic filter, programmable thermostat (free) and an additional HV tube duct (free if we go with elec filter). The can get it in next week. We use them for our base-board hot water heating.
Shop 2 - My favorite so far - NOT! - "We're really backed-up... I can get someone out there the third week in August at standard rate - but if you are willing to pay triple ($xx,xxx), I can put you to the front of the list." By some miracle of his profound experience he was able to "accurately" quote everything over the phone.
Shop 3 (HD Toll-Free Referral) - Young guy came out, spent a ton of time measuring every room, air ports, air return size & placement, checked the current system in the attic (poor guy - it was 96 that day). Said that he'd get the data to the owner as he does not have much experience in SpacePak type systems yet, and the owner would give us a call back with a quote. I've called the owner 2x now and still no quote. Something about waiting on a price from a dist.
Shop 4 - An aquaintance of the family. Has helped us in the past. His crews are running 18 hours a day etc... Told me that he's going to have a hard time with the heat to get a crew up in the attic to get the old system out and a new one in. He did check out the air-ports and the return. Commented that we could probibly use a few more ports and that a 3.5 ton system should do the trick.
He can't get to us to do a full system replacement until mid-late August either. He did offer to replace my dead compressor with a 3 yr. old/new 3 ton builder grade 10 SEER Carrier(matches air handler size) for very cheap - about what it would cost to fix the existing system blower($$$$$ - you figure the amount). He thinks that we could run it for a good number of years (5 to 10) and almost anything will be an improvement over our old 3.9 SEER system.
Shop 5 - Not a chance. If you are not a current customer, we're sorry. We are not accepting any new customers at this time. (must be nice).
So - have I done enough home-work?
Do I have enough quotes to go on?
Do I go with the 5 to 10 year temporary solution?
Jump on the new complete system for 12x what the temporary solution will cost?
Call and get another quote?
Go commando and wait for winter?
I'd like to hear some Pro-thoughts from the forum...
Thanks in advance.
[Edited by jtl60047 on 08-04-2006 at 03:28 PM]