Need advice on new quotes
So, I'm finally gets quotes to replace our whole system with a HP/Gas furnace system. At the same time I'm getting quotes to spray foam my basement for the remodel. This gives the HVAC guys easy complete access to the duct work above.
I have had two companies come out so far with three more due by the end of the day tomorrow. I asked all of them if they do a load calc before having them come out and all said yes. The first company though has not came back to do one (3 weeks) from their bid.
Besides our current AC leaking freon the other bigger issue has been the bedrooms being either colder/hotter depending on the season. I'm not talking about 1-2 degrees but almost 8 degrees for our bedroom and 6 for my sons! Now I have been air sealing, adding and additional R30 to the attic and now working on adding insulation to the basement. To me there must be a duct work issue for the bedrooms?
What specific questions should I ask for the contractors to quote me for? The second one put in his quote duct mods at XX price but didn't say to increase the size, add more ect.
Another question was with the number of ducts for the basement and if a return should be added for the basement (800sqf). The 1st contractor said the 3 ducts (2 in main room, 1 bath) was sufficent and no return. The 2nd said maybe add a duct for the laundry room (currently none) and cut a vent in the current return near the bottom so that would be the return for the basement.
The quotes we have gotten have been more than I thought that they would be so if I'm going to be spending this kind of money I want to make sure our whole house is even'lly comfortable.
If possible you might want to look into a zoning system that will allow you to set the temperature on each floor of the home. Its hard to say what ductwork would or would not help your home since we can't see if and we dont' know what size furnace/HP you need. Check online reviews or ask friends for HVAC contractor referrals. The spray foam and air sealing should help the house perform more evenly by itself, a zone system with a modulating furnace or two stage heat pump and two stage furnace should also help IF properly installed.
When people perform a load calculation, make sure they are measuring all windows and all ways and asking about insulation otherwise they are just guessing.
Sorry I left out my house info, I have posted to this site often that I just assume people remembered what I had.
I have a 1500sqf Ranch with all the bedrooms one the East side of the house with the rest of the rooms on the West side. I would think zoneing would be a little overkill for this size house and layout. The furnace is in the center of the house roughly with the plenum T'ing off from there. The West side branch actually has a little longer run but both branches have 5 ducts each for a total of ten.
So far the only guy who did the manual j (but he hasn't shown me the actual numbers) I suspect just used the overall house dimensions. I gave him a sheet with all the window sizes, door sizes and their position on the house and insulation amounts but I have a feeling he didn't use it based off of our conversation about how they did load calculations. He did say though that I could drop down to a 2.5ton HP from my existing 3ton AC. This was the furnace he recommended 986T004206017 not sure on the size though.
before the install have a room by room load calcuation and a manual d duct plan . then you should be comfortable
I guess thats one of my questions. Do I just ask every company to give me a quote to replace/change the size of the ducts for all the rooms?
What about the basement and the number of ducts and if I should have a return? So far I had one company say the current setup is ok and another say add two more ducts and a return.
The big question to ask is WHY. They should be providing some sort of data showing that your downstairs needs more airflow or needs more BTU's than what it is currently getting. If the ductwork is fine they should be able to show WHY. When they give you a size they should show you WHY. And the only way to answer all those WHY's is a load calculation. I know its nice to give out window sizes but, if it was me I would not give them any information, make them get the information themselves to know that they are actually using the information. If you do most of the work and measure all of the windows and walls many of them may try and pull the wool over your eyes and say they did a load calculation when they have done nothing with your numbers. To me that would be an insult, that you took your time to help them and that they didn't take the time to ensure you get the proper system.
Originally Posted by rk05
I had three more companies come through between yesterday and today. The guy yesterday was a small one man operation and although he didn't do a load calculation he did say he would do one and come back and measure the duct flow to address the duct work issues IF needed.
The two guys today, the first was the only one who measured the windows and said he was going to do a room by room calculation and although he agreed that something is probably up with the duct work he didn't say anything about measuring them just increasing the size IF needed.
The last guy measured the current duct work (supply,return) and said the it was sized to run up to a 3ton AC. He looked at all the rooms and agreed that you could "feel" the difference but his suggestion to me was to remove the diffusers I have in the rooms to see if that helps any. He was by the way a contractor off of the contractor map. I called another one off of the map twice but as of today have yet to get a return phone call.
I'm loosing fath in this field fast since between this go around and a previous one I had when we first moved into the house no contractor says and does what all of you guys are saying a contractor should do and that is with one off of the contractor map. I have followed the advice given off the forum by air sealing, adding more insulation ect but since you guys can't give any DIY advice I'm stuck with calling and calling companies that may do the test you guys say should happen.
I haven't actually gotten the quotes from the guy yesterday nor the one this morning but they would be the two who I feel MAY help get my problem better but may not totally solve it.
One thing that all ways baffles me is why some companies have to get back with customers on load cal. & quotes? I don't understand this. If I am at your house, perform a load cal., check ductwork etc.. You will have a quote in your hand with a reason why I suggest certain systems, duct work mods, etc... Before I leave.
Originally Posted by rk05
While there are cases when a home or business requires more time to do this work. Most residential homes can be measured, load cal. Preformed, etc.. In about a hour. I see no reson in this cases to go back to the office and work up a estimate. That is just a inconvince for both me and the customer. The worst thing is like you have stated that you are waiting on price quote from companies.
My company is flat rate which means for a simple, mild or hard install I have already worked up a flat rate cost for every system match up and simply need to add acceries and other add work to the job which is also flat rate if needed. I know what it will take labor wise and what the equipment will cost to install by load cal., duct work mods etc.. While I am at your home.
It just makes me think they go back and crunch numbers and see how low they can do the job for, perform load cal. (Doubt that) and then call you back with a price. Just makes things more complicated then needed. It's simple go out to standard resdental home. Preform a load cal, review ductwork and ensure sizing is correct, address any concerns a customer has work up a estimate and present a solution to the problem or new system replacement. Then answer any questions they might have. In 1.5-2 hours max depending on house size and questions customer has the process is complete with a estimate in the hand of the homeowner.
Duckman, I wish you were in my area because I would hire you on the spot if you came into my home and did all that in the time you were here!
On the plus side the ones who did (or say the did) a load calculation say I can go down to a 2.5ton unit but at the same time I was telling them that "I hope I can go down to a 2.5ton".
My house is a simple ranch with all the duct work in the ceiling of the basement. I could see if I had a two story or bilevel but everything is right there!!
OK, I will have to upload an image of the layout since I can't do it with just dashes off the keyboard!
That is esentually the house lay out with the X representing the furnace and the B's the bedrooms. The plenum for the bedrooms is shorter than the other side of the house which is about 2/3 of the whole sqf.
So, with the contractors that were here saying that the supply ducts enough for the rooms as well as the returns what else could be causing the imbalance in the bedrooms with the doors shut?
I am sorry but without looking at the home in person, testing the ductwork for proper air flow and sizing for the rooms, etc i would be guessing.
Originally Posted by rk05
Has any of the contractors suggested increasing the size of the ducts, dampers to balance air flow, posiable zoning, adding returns in this areas or installing a new duct system. While I belive you do have a problem with 6-8 degrees diff. Between rooms and not being comfortable.
Rest assured there is a way to fix and or have proper air flow to this rooms to be comfortable it just sounds like you might not have found the right contractor yet. Please before signed a proposal/estimate get whichever company that is installing your new system to explain how and why they will correct this issues in the home.
Also be aware that some contractors might want to install a bigger system and tell you that it will help which may or may not be true (load cal.) will tell them. If there are duct work problems throughing a bigger system in want correct this. I also wish I was near you and would love to come out and review over everything but can't. Just keep looking tell you find a true pro that will address all your problems and offer a answer to each and ever question/concern you have in detail. Please keep us posted on the outcome!
Yes, the two contractors that I am waiting on did suggest that maybe we need to increase the size to maybe a 7" half way then 6" to the rooms. All the rooms have their own returns and dampners that are open (or point in the open position) but no talks of zoning. A couple of them did say to leave the fan "on" to help balance but to me that is just a band aid fix.
The other good thing has been that all of the contractors I recently had out they want to go smaller on the outside unit but keep the furnace where it is.
I don't know how much longer I can keep having contractors out before I need to pull the trigger and have something done. The sucky thing is that we will end up spending alot of money and if the balance issue isn't taken care of to me its like throwing it out the window. I would have been better off installing electric baseboard heaters for the winter and window units for the summer for less money!
Well at least they are offering solutions to your problems. Go with your gut and choose the contractor that you feel will do the best job.
Originally Posted by rk05
Ask for pics of their installs, customers with similar issues that they have helped and their numbers, get it all in writing that their plan of action will correct the diffrence in room temps and above all get a copy of load cal. And duct work sizing. This should be easy for them to produce and will show you that they did the work.
I wish I could offer more advice/guidance on the matter but again without seeing and testing ductwork for proper air flow, I am limited to what you should or shouldn't do.
You are on the right path with questions you are asking them. Most repeatable companies will offer a standard warranty for what they install but I would ask about a performance gurentee stating the system they install and the work they do will proform as they stated it will or your money back.
If they give you that in writing, you will at least be gurenteed that they will live up to their promises. Please post back your dession or questions on the install. I wish and hope for the best of luck on your install.
From the two companies that I am still waiting on quotes both of them to me seemed the most wanting to help resolve the problem. Who know what thier prices will be but hopefully they're not outragus.
I did remove the diffusers off of one bedroom last night as another contractor asked me to do. I left the door shut and kept the temp on a "hold" over night. That room this morning was still 3 degrees lower than the T-stat. I will try turning on the blower again to "on" but I think I will get the same results.
I was going to post all my quotes and the equipment that they had selected but at this point its not worth it since I probably wont be looking at anyone other than the two mentioned above.
I'll post back once we get a new system or what contractor we chose to make sure we have the best "matched" equipment from you guys.