Help with system replacement question
I have a 10 year old 3 ton goodman, single zone for a 3 story 2600 sq/ft house. The thing stinks all the way around - frequent repair, hot and cool zones, etc.
I'd like to replace it and go to at least 2 zones for both Heat and AC. Heat is natural gas. Home is in Richmond VA, 10 years old in pretty good shape. My questions:
- seems like the install is key, how do I find the right contractor?
- any recommendations on brands and sizes?
- ball park, what should I expect this to cost?
IMHO, it is unlikely you will ever be happy with a single system on a 3 story house. Heat rises. The top floor will always be too hot in the summer, and/or too hot in the winter. The bottom floor will always be too cold. Sounds like you already know this as you said you want to go to at least 2 zones.
That's good. Estimates are generally free. I'd get several. Equipment: Others may disagree, but I'm gonna say brand doesn't matter, at least not much. Have a reputable installer use whatever he is comfortable installing. He will know the ins and outs of that particular equipment, and have quick access to parts.
Good design and installation is far more important than "what brand".
What will it cost: we are not allowed to discuss actual $$$ on this forum. However, you can bet it will cost lots more for two systems than for one. Some things to consider:
Do you have enough electric service available?
How difficult to run new ductwork, wiring, refrigerant lines, gas lines, etc.? Full basement, full attic, or slab and no attic space? These factors will make a huge difference on pricing.
Thanks - how would I go about finding a good contractor,how long should I expect the design & installation process to take? Also, since my system still works, I can time it around when things are less busy or go on sale - any recommedations on the best time of year to replace?
Finding the right/best contractor is a very difficult task,IMHO.
1.Look at those listed on,www.acca.org www.natex.org www.nationalcomfortinsitute.com as well as several manufacturers websites for their "top" dealers ,like Carrier Factory Authorized Dealers,Trane Comfort Specialist,etc.,etc..Not everyone listed will be of the caliber you need.
2.You can ask friends and relatives,but I don't believe they are qualified to tell you,though they will have an opinion on how they "think" they did for them.
I'd do 1 and 2 ,see how many appear on more then one list ,then call and tell them what you want.
A Manual J,S,and D ,deteremine the loads,select the equipment,and design the ducts.If they can't or won't ,or say they don't need to,keep dialing
You also want someone that can do "zoning",a basic often overlooked is ,all ducts should be oversized by 25% ,to handle the extra air flow when less then all zones are callling.So asking this question(how do you size for zoning,or where does extra air go??) may help you decide.
Carrier currently makes the top zoning system,others are close,don't look for the brand,look for the features and benifits ,of each brand.When it comes to the upper end of the each brand ,they not 100% equal as to features and benifits.
If you find the right contractor and his brand is your second or third choice,I'd go with the contractor .