How to compare bids.
I have a two story house with separate systems for each floor. The furnace on my second floor split system stopped producing heat. The tech from the company who installed unit said it was a recalled furnace that he couldn't work on and gave me an estimate to replace the furnace. It turns out he was wrong about the unit, it was a different model that was recalled. The second repairman said it was a cracked heat exchanger and he turned off the gas. He told me I could have just the furnace replaced. The third company told me I should replace both furnace and ac, even though the ac is still working. The units were installed in 1991.
What questions should I be asking the contractors? Is it unwise to just replace the furnace and wait until the ac breaks to replace it?
The furnace is a Bard ISG060D036A. The ac is Tempstar CA5024. My upstairs is about 1,000 square feet.
The first contractor bid: (the tech who was wrong about recall model)
Just replace furnace with Ameristar M801P040AU24AA; Warranty on heat exchanger 20 years, Parts 10 years, Labor 1 year, no permit.
The second repairman (the guy who found the crack in heat exchanger)
Not a written bid but a phone call saying I could just replace the furnace with either a Rheem 50,000 btu or Goodman 60,000 btu, no permit.
He says replace both furnace and ac
Furnace: Amana AMH80403AX CE30D44140
His bid includes permit, new overflow pan, 2 year labor warranty, 10 year limited parts warranty (mfg); LT compressor(mfg), 10 year limited evap coil warranty(mfg); LT heat exchanger warranty(mfg); 2 year limited labor warranty (total); 1 year service agreement.
I have one more contractor to call, but think I need to be better informed, and ask better questions. The third contractor told me the Ameristar furnace recommended by the first contractor is a "builders model." What is the significance of that? Because I'm getting different opinions on whether to replace the furnace alone or both furnace and ac I can't really compare apples to apples.
i would go with # 3 also some of the ameristar is china made crap not sure about the furnaces
Aneristar is a builder grade Chinese made line, i wouldn't install it. If the ac was installed in 1991 that means its almost 22 years old which is past its expected life so it would be a good idea to change it all out. It will be cheaper to do it all at once than changing the furnace and in a couple of months the ac dies and they have to come back and do the ac. Also you want everything to be a matched system. With that said, you could get a few more years out of the ac so the decision is really up to you. I would go with the contractor that will pull a permit, I'm sure he will just change the furnace if that's all you are willing to do. Good luck with the install. Remember brand doesn't matter as much as the contractor using correct installation techniques and procedures and will be there to back up his installation if something were to go wrong.
Here ya go.
Originally Posted by BlancheDubois
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With the mention of the overflow pan, I'm assuming the system in question is in the attic? If so, I would go with #3. It'll be less money (when working in an attic) to do it all at once.
Plus, bite the bullet and get it over with. Rebates should be plentiful now.
I would ask for the 10 year labor plan.......very cheap. Also ask for a good 4-5" thick filter. What is the filter arrangement now? Is it in the ceiling? What is the size of the filter and how is the return connected to the furnace? Thanks for getting informed........as you are finding out, it can be very confusing.
Hi George2. Thanks for your input. You're right, the heater is in the attic, and the ac is on the roof. It requires a crane to install that. The filter is in the wall and measures 13.5" x 24.5" and is about 7/8" thick. It's a washable type, but contractor #3 said he would have a new one made. I don't know how the return is connected to the furnace.
A 14"x25" filter grille is too small for my liking. That system is not working to it's full potential. Choking the RA creates comfort, efficiency and unnecessary service issues. I'm wondering how it's connected? If you take out the filter, that should give us a glue as to how it's routed to the attic.
Originally Posted by BlancheDubois
Is there easy access to the attic furnace for servicing? If there is, I would have them install a large "box" filter at the furnace. But the (existing) small return air grille opening needs to be addressed as well.
I'll bet no one raised those issues?
By you educating yourself, you'll eventually have a solid system. I've thought of becoming a HVAC "consulate". I would be totally none bias because I'm not selling anything but truthful information based only on the customers criteria.