Hello all. Have been lurking here for a little bit and thought I would make a post about my current situation and seek some of your advise.
I live in Orange County, California which is about 15 or 20 miles from the beach. My furnace and AC are both original from the house which was built in 86. Insulation is fairly good although I don't know the material type, just what I have been told. Double pane windows all throughout downstairs only. Currently havea4 ton Lennox AC and a 75000btu Lennox furnace.
The problem I have is that I am not getting any ventilation to my 2nd story house. Total sqft is 2350. I have had 6 people come bid. Why 6 you ask. Well the first one was from a company I called to do a service which ended up being worthless and they "discovered" a crack in my heat exchanger which no one else could find. The scare tactic worked but after the other quotes came in i realized that is all it was. We have been in a heat wave for about two month here, by Southern California standards
The next two guys spent a total of 10 or 15 minutes total here. Both went in attic. Told me I need 5 ton, gave me a cheap quote and left. Then I came here, read a little, checked yelp and Angie list and called three more guys.
First one was very thorough and spent about 2.5 hours here, said that there is space to increase my duct from 12inches to maybe 14 for the run upstairs or that I can add another 12 since my plummen sits right on top of the heater and it is a straight shot up. I have 5 runs in the attic now. Doing the second one I can run two into my master and master bath which has vaulted ceilings and 3 into guest rooms and bathroom, one with a y split. New runs also since they are original from 86.
Downstairs is about 1300sqft and the dining area and formal room is all vaulted ceilings as well. The recommendation so far is a 80% eff variable motor furnace and likely a 5 ton AC 13 or 14 seer, one Stage. Second and third guy also said the same thing but said the extra duct may not be needed as they believe I just have a dirty evaporator coil which is causing the low air flow and the runs are not efficient, ie a few extra bends versus straight shots. They spent auto an hour each here.
All recommended I go with bar types vents instead of my current ones and basic thermostats. I can upgrade to ecobee or nest if I want. Not sure it is worth the money.
Now that you have context, and thank you for reading, I think all three contractors would do a good job. First one uses Amana. Second one uses Lennox. Third one uses tempstar.
Amana guy also said he would do a manual j if he got the job. Rest would not do it. Don't have a quote yet from Amana. Coming today. He also said I spicule go 4 ton AC and 5 ton furnace?
Lennox is merit 14acx AC with a merit ml180u furnace or a elite xc14 and a sl280 furnace for another 40% increase. I do get some money back in a Costco gift card.
Tempstar is the n4a3 AC and the v80 furnace. His job was about 15% less before the gift card is factored in. Only thing that gave me pause is he said if we increase to a 14 duct and they have it make it oval that is ok, wouldn't that change the cfm etc?
My questions are ( finally)
1. Are the brands and models good?
2. Is 4 ton or 5 ton ok? I don't want to short cycle. Can I mismatch a 4 ton AC and a 5 ton furnace?
3. Is a increase to a 14 vent or running an extra 12 a better solution to increase airflow upstairs?
4. Are bar types needed?
5. Is a nest or ecobee good or just a nice fancy thing to have?
Thank you all for the help. Once I get the Amana quote I can provide those furnace and AC.