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  1. #1

    Unhappy Long Island, NY - can't evaluate quotes for new HVAC (with duct work)

    OMG, will someone please help. My husband and I have decided to put in central air and do away with our very ineffecient "in-wall" dinosaurs. We live in Western Long Island and have received three quotes thus far....all for different brands and costs. Very frustrating to assess. We have a three bedroom ranch that's approximately 1600 sq ft. We are only doing the main level of the house, not the basement. We have an unfinished attic that's accessible for the return.
    Quote 1: Luxaire, 3.5 ton, 14 SEER = $xxxx without electric
    Quote 2: Goodman, 3 ton, 13 SEER = $xxxx without electric. Said we could also have American Standard and the cost difference is $xxx though not sure if $xxx more or less than Goodman because Mr. Clueless (husband) took the call.
    Quote 3: Rheem 16/13 (SEER/EER), 3 ton unit and air-handler $xxxxx
    OR, American Standard 16/13 SEER/EER, $xxxxx
    Or, American Standard 13/10.5 SEER/EER, $xxxxx

    I was told company that did Quote 3 does impeccable duct work (and their three quotes include the electric), but was told same for Company Quote #2 and that recommendation came from my oil service company who does not put in HVAC systems. I have researched this for 9 days now. Waiting on one more quote, but I'm beyond the point of being able to assess anything. This is apples, oranges, and grapes. Company A likes Luxaire, Company B likes Goodman and Company C likes Rheem or American Standard. American Standard scares me as in the Northeast, and in particular Long Island, we are at the merch of LIPA (Long Island Power Authority). American Standard has a motherboard, and LIPA loves to give you surges...to the point we've have the motherboard go on my husband's computer (twice) -- and that's with having a surge protector. I would flip out if the motherboard blew and was not covered. Long Island weather is not Arizona...nice and steady.

    Very confused and unlike most men, my husband is letting me do all the work and research. Can someone offer me advice?
    Last edited by Stamas; 08-07-2012 at 03:58 PM. Reason: Removed pricing

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    Mount Airy, MD
    Posts
    7,281
    Thread relocated to the AOP (Ask Our Pro) section of the site.

    Please No Pricing here.

    Thank you !

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_Worthington View Post
    Thread relocated to the AOP (Ask Our Pro) section of the site.

    Please No Pricing here.

    Thank you !
    I'm so sorry about including the pricing quotes. I didn't mean to break a rule

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Central Indiana
    Posts
    612
    It seems you are on the right track. Doing some research first will save you some pain later. When it comes to brand names, they are all nearly equal, what really warrants your concern is the installers. The best unit is a pile of junk if installed incorrectly.

    The contractor recommendations you receive by word of mouth are more valuable than what someone says online about one brand or another. Go with the company you trust more.

    Which company showed the most professionalism? Did any of them do any load calculations? You will hear this over and over as more people post but before people talk down to you and scold you for not requiring all contractors to do this, take into considerations which ones did with out you asking. Especially since you are installing all new duct work, you need to find a contractor that knows what they are doing when it comes to sizing equipment and duct work.

    One simple way to find this out without sounding to pushy is ask the contractors how they decide what size unit to use. If they say anything like, "we have a rule of thumb" or "The number of square feet" exclude them from your search. If they say something like "We use a load calculation manual" then keep them in consideration. You will be able to tell that they have done some sort of proper load calculation if they took measurements of the house and windows, asked questions about when the house was built or any upgrades that you have done.

    The bottom line is the contractor is more important than the equipment.

    An air conditioner is designed to have a long productive life if it is installed and maintained correctly, no matter the brand.
    The only true knowledge is the pursuit of knowledge

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    San Diego, CA
    Posts
    352
    First of all, are we looking at "heat pumps" or just air conditioners? If you haven't already research this, heat pumps can provide heating and cooling while ACs can only do cooling. With the winter temperatures in Long Island, I would look into maybe a AC with a gas furnace (if you have gas), instead of a heat pump with an air handler. Not to make your choices more complex but when it gets close to freezing a heat pump doesn't work very well and you will need the booster electric heat to kick in which means higher electric bills.

    Quote 1: I am here in California so I won't know how popular Luxaire is, but I never heard of it. I did a little research and it is owned by Johnson controls which makes me think York. My two cents is I don't know the brand... you can decide what that means to you.

    Quote 2: The Goodman unit is the standard efficiency unit, so you are getting a basic unit and should be the cheapest along with the 13/10.5 American Standard unit. Now I don't speak for everyone but I tend to hear more negatives about Goodman than any other brand.

    Quote 3: The higher your SEER and EER numbers the more energy efficient the unit is. So your 16 SEER/13 EER are really good units and there should be a big price difference. Best thing is to figure out how much are you willing to pay to save on your energy bills in the future. Return on investment can take a while.

    I can't help you much with electricity... since I am a mechanical engineer but I am sure the electrician you hire can figure out something. I know that they have more reliable surge protection circuit breakers that should work better than your store bought ones. I would have thought all the units have motherboards somewhere since many thermostats are digital now.

    Bottom line if you are going to stay in your house for a while, get the Quote 3. Rheem vs. American Standard (aka Trane)... more information like a model # will definitely help us compare the two better.
    You can call me Sam

    It should be a crime to be a mechanical engineer in San Diego
    Summer Design Temperature: 83 F Dry Bulb ~ 69 F Wet Bulb (California Climate Zone 7)

  6. #6
    Thanks for the info. To answer Fifth Root - -NONE of these guys mentioned load in their calculations. For quote #1, he didn't measure a thing. He did not look at the house or our electrical feed or anything. He recommended 3.5 ton vs. the other two who recommended 3 ton units. guy #2 who came highly recommended by our oil guy used square feet -- that he measured with an electronic measuring tool but his measurements were lower than quote #3 yet they both came up with same tonnage (3 ton). Quote # 3 was TWICE the price of the other two but included electric. Twice the price is pretty steep even if one guy was a 13 seer two of three of his quotes were for 16 seer. Could the price be double? I didn't think so. BUT, he's been the most attentive and his proposal is very detailed. On the other hand, the quote is only good for thirty days which is odd to me. And when I wrote to him yesterday that his duct work must be the Mercedes but I need a Ford, he said he could quote me less for lesser equipment and will. Look, I don't know much about this and there is no way I could ever know if the duct work is good. All I've got are referrals....one from my oil burner guy (but that was the Goodman brand that people seem to have issues with) and the other from a colleague at work, but he is literally twice the price. That's a huge delta.

    To the o.p. who asked about heating -- as previously stated, my house is heated by oil -- so I"m talking Central A/C only.

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