We recently had a home energy audit on our house, because our electric bills are astronomical.
Our house is 1847 sq ft, built in 1981. The attic HVAC equipment is original, and the ductwork is the "grayline" stuff (I think it's called) that we are currently discovering had some issues.
Our outside AC condenser is 2001 and either 10 seer or 12 seer (the two companies we've had look at our house didn't agree on the current rating.) It's not brand-matched to the attic stuff.
Anyway, there's no doubt that we want to replace our stuff, and that we can benefit from doing so. Both companies recommend a heat pump, and being in Texas, I think that makes sense, and does seem to be where the bulk of the electricity savings can be made.
Okay-- so I know prices are not to be included, and that's fine. I do have two quotes now, one from the auditing company's "sister" unit, and one from an independent HVAC-only company that I know some people have used and been happy with (including a local new-home-builder company).
The auditing company is recommending an entire package of improvements:
1) Blow extra insulation in the attic, seal penetrations, and install a "tent" over attic staircase hatchway, which is in our hallway.
2) Replace all ductwork with foilbacked ducts, reroute into straight runs, suspend so not resting on insulation, replace triangle boxes with metal Y junctions, replace return/supply silver cardboard looking boxes with metal boxes.
3) Install an Amana ASZ14 14-seer 4 ton heat pump with matching coils & handler in attic; variable speed fans, 10 yr parts & labor warranty, etc
4) They can add on a Lennox Hepa 60 system if we desire for extra filtration (we have allergies, asthma, and pets in the house, and who wouldn't want less dust, less pet odors in the air even if it does/does not remove all allergens?)
Now... the competing quote I have, which is only the HVAC side...
They work with Trane, so their stuff is:
1) A Trane xli14, xli16, or xli19 unit with a Trane Clean Effects filter system. Their guy said he spotted two sections of bad ductwork, and he would throw in replacing those two sections.
So, without quoting prices, let's just say I could have the Trane xli19 for a little less than having the audit company do all their work (not including the hepa filter, which tacks on an additional $3300 from the audit company, really making the prices vastly different); or the xli16 for a lot less.
Is there more savings to be had by going with higher SEER numbers, versus all that ductwork replacement?
I think I've seen that Amana is generally lower priced than Trane, so the fact that the auditing company is significantly higher, is that an indication that they are really marking their stuff up?
What is the opinion on Trane vs Amana?
Does the Trane Clean Effects solution compare to the Hepa60 solution, or is one clearly superior? Is there an ozone issue with the Trane filtration?
I just have no idea how to evaluate this... I don't mind paying more if it makes a difference in what I'm getting.. but I don't want to throw money away and not really get something for it.
Your help/input is greatly appreciated! Thanks!