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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    6

    Hmm

    Hi -

    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]

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,607
    #1 doesn't sound too bad. Too bad he didn't do a load calc but hard to change those HV systems once they are in though.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    6
    Thanks -

    Shop #3 called with their quote. Pretty basic. But more than Shop #1 for less equipment.

    Fair to guess that Shop #1 is providing a more reasonable price as we use them for our Heating.

    Shop #3 mentioned however that they have never heard/seen an electronic air filter on a spacepak type system before...?

    The cheap side of me was hoping that someone would have jumped all over the new/old Carrier at a few hundred bucks.

    Thanks for you input.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Michigan, Detroit Metro area
    Posts
    296
    If you've had a good working relationship with shop #1 then stick with them. It doesn't sound like finances are an issue, but if they were and you wanted to do what shop #4 suggested it'd still be to your benefit tosee if shop #1 could do it. Loyalty goes both ways.


    Roh

    What's my post count now?
    UA Local 636

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    Ft.Worth,Tx
    Posts
    4,584
    Do you want a bandage or do you want energy savings?

    If your thinking cheap call #4 and have him change-out the condenser.

    But, the amount of savings with the existing coil will be very --$.

    Or you could spring for the new system, have it designed for your home and savings would off-set the price of the new equipment by the AMOUNT of money your spending now.

    5.0 E.E.R.\vs/13.0 S.E.E.R.=$$$$$$$$$$
    "Everyday above ground, is a good day".
    "But everyday that you have made a difference in someones life, may insure you stay above ground a little longer".<aircooled>

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Fort Worth, Texas
    Posts
    586
    Shop number 2 Ugh. It's my opinion but that seems very unethical. What about the poor person that already paid extra to get bumped to the top of the list? Did he get bumped from the top?
    Installs, Changeouts, & Heat Stroke.....not necessarily in that order

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Southern CT
    Posts
    552
    you spelled CONNECTICUT wrong

  8. #8
    Go commando and wait for winter

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    94
    'We are not taking anymore new customers' and you say 'It must be nice'.

    The truth of the matter is it is nice when a company gets to the point when they don't have to depend on playing the bid war game.

    I remember not looking forward to that old yellow page call when someone called me out in the middle of a heat wave that was lucky enough to have a 30 some year old system that had no maintenance that just took a dump, only to find out that he had a stack of other bids and when I gave him my price he said that Joe the corner cutter could do it for half my price, can't you meet his price?

    My best advice is to either call for 10 more bids until you finally get in touch with some company that will truly amaze you that they can put in the latest and greatest system at a fraction of the other guys or stop complaining about the contractors that are working hard to support their business despite the lack of loyalty.

    Prequalify the contractor and be honest with them.

    Let them know that you have screwed up and thought your a/c would last forever. Tell them you understand that there are probably a lot of hot people out there and you are willing to wait until they can get a man out to estimate a new one, let them know up front that you think you are the only honest person on earth so you are going to try and get three bids but you promise to take the best bid not the cheapest bid.

    Thank you for asking us to give you our honest opinion. I have been in customer service for a long time and it still stings when people laugh at my profession and critizize my fellow professionals for attempting to please the public knowing that there will always be some that think only of themselves and can never be pleased.

    Good Luck sorting out your priorities.
    Still Crazy after all these years.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    68,784
    If you can't wait 3 weeks for your aquaintance friend, then get the carrier 3 ton condenser.

    Your old 3 ton A/H uses 5 outlets per ton, the new ones use 6 per ton.

    So if anyone installs a new 3.5, you will need alot more outlets then you have.
    If anyone installs a new A/H and doesn't add the extra outlets, it will be loud, and cycling on its anti freeze stat.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  11. #11
    Use the HVAC Calc program to calculate the heat load.

    Ask contractor #1 to give you a quote for a 3 ton unit.

    Contractor #3 sounds good too.

    These two quality contractors will appreciate your business in the fall.

    I wouldn't waste the money on a stopgap solution like number 4. You'll get better efficiency with the equipment that contractor 1 is offering.


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    68,784
    Originally posted by xv80satisfiedcust
    Use the HVAC Calc program to calculate the heat load.

    Ask contractor #1 to give you a quote for a 3 ton unit.

    Contractor #3 sounds good too.

    These two quality contractors will appreciate your business in the fall.

    I wouldn't waste the money on a stopgap solution like number 4. You'll get better efficiency with the equipment that contractor 1 is offering.

    You do know that HV systems are exempt from the 13 seer reg, because they don't get 13 seer.

    A Carrier 3 ton 13 seer condenser gets at best 12.10 with a spacepak, a 4 ton gives 44,000 btu's at 11.7 seer, where is the big savings?
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    6
    Hey all -

    I appreciate the feedback.

    For those of you that are worried that we're shopping for the lowest price - rest assured that I'm trying to look out for the family and house. I called all of the shops within an hour or so the first day the unit went out. So no one is being beat up over price. If the shop does not respect their own time, my time, and wants to play the car-dealer game by not offering a reasonable quote up front, tough. I don't have the time to back and forth.

    There are 3 things that any of us can offer in our busines. Quality, Service, Price. You may pick 2 Mr. Customer. I've never seen it where you can get all 3.

    I know that shop 1 is the quality & service play. However having just been told by my bank on Saturday that my employer has bounced the last 2 payroll checks ... it seems that I may not have the luxury of options.

    But to review -

    If I go with a complete replacement - go for the 3 ton or the 3.5 ton?

    Advantage of the 3 ton it seems would be that it may run a little longer to bring the house to the correct temp - also bringing down the humidity (a good thing).

    The larger 3.5 may run for less time to get the temp where we want it and not consuming as much electricity.

    And of course the new/old compressor replacement is the cheap play - but the system will most likely not be a perfect fit and there will be some type of issue down the road.




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