I Currently have 2 Payne systems. Upstairs is 3 ton - gas heat - furnace/blower in attic. Condensor outside (40 feet away). Downstairs is 2 ton - gas heat - furnace/blower in outside access closet. Condensor outside of closet a few feet away. Current system 20+ years old & 8 seer. I'm fairly convinced the old systems aren't too efficient - especially with newer electric and gas costs. Here's where I'm at...
I tried Sears just for starters. I wasn't convinced that the pricing was too good, and the financing wasn't enough to get me over the hump. So, priced out their suggested equipment (Payne 13 seer - no conversion to 410). At retail prices, the Sears price was about 3x the retail comparable cost of the equipment.
Now, I'm thinking I am going to get some local quotes (Fresno, CA area), but I could use some feedback on the following issues running through my head:
1. I want to focus on efficiency (at least upgrade to 13 seer), but mindful of the costs. Where is my best value? Condensor? Furnace? Single-speed versus multi-speed blower motors? Brand? Crazy new funky ideas?
2. Would I be better off keeping these old boys running and spend my money on windows, insulation, water heater, etc.? (Yes, I know this is an HVAC forum, and it would be heresy for you to recommend other upgrades...). By the way, all windows are either 20+ year old dual pane, or newer argon double panes, the duct work is quality, the insulation is better than most, etc.
3. What about those air-cleaner ionizer devices at the intakes? Do they work?
4. What about the refrigerant upgrade? Is it worth it? Is it important to upgrade all the lines as well?
Thanks for the input/advice.